Today’s AmyTV looks at a few of the challenges that crop up when you plan to write your web content, including:
- Overwhelm and procrastination
- Picking the right advice
- Making sure your content is up to date
Plus a shameless plug for content writing workshops (see if you can spot it). Below you can also find a simple exercise to help you look at your content-writing project with a fresh perspective.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments any challenges you’re having about writing your web content. I’m here to help!
Forget YOUR web content for a minute…
Have you ever struggled to write something about yourself, but found it easy to give friends tips when they’re writing a resume, or describing themselves? That’s because there is what’s called a ‘distance perspective’ – when we’re not as close to the subject, we find it easier to analyse and advise.
You can use this same concept of distance perspective to start your journey into writing your own web content with this simple technique:
One: Imagine you’re looking for a service or product (outside of your industry).
This is an exercise I do at the beginning of my writing for the web workshops. The service or product could be anything, you might pretend to look for a plumber, a catering company, a web designer.
Anything at all as long as it’s not something similar to your own business.
Two: Pick 2 websites for businesses offering this service
Now start looking online for companies offering that service, and pick 2 to compare. It doesn’t matter if you pick 2 at random, or ones you like the look of or not, just grab 2.
Three: See what you need Vs what’s missing
Next, either on your own or with colleagues, look through each website and ask yourself:
- As a customer, what would you want to know about the company?
- What you can find out about the company solely by the information on their website?
- Which one would you pick based on how much detail you can find?
For example, if you’re looking for a catering company, you might have questions about:
- The cost
- What services are offered
- Where they are located
- How you can get in touch
- Who you will be working with
- How the process works
- The type of food they serve
At this stage, don’t worry too much about tone-of-voice or style, just focus on whether or not you can find the answers to your questions.
This gets you thinking in a similar way to how your customer will approach your own website.
First and foremost, your web visitor is looking for information and you’d be surprised at how many websites out there have fancy sounding tag lines, but miss out a lot of the basic details a customer is looking for.
Four: List the same types of details and questions for your website
Next review the list of questions you’ve made about your catering company and see how it applies to the details you need to include in your own site. For example, your customer may also be thinking about:
- What you charge
- Where you are based
- The best way to reach you
- If your service is suitable for them
List as many as you can think of and keep these to hand when you develop and write your web content. Make sure the answers to the questions can be easily found on your site.
Why this works
It’s easy to approach writing your web content from a sales point of view: how to make what you do sound great, how to use persuasive writing techniques to get in touch etc.
But if you start at this stage, there’s a real range you miss out some basic but essential details that your customer is looking for.
The average person visits 2,500+ web pages in one month, around 80 pages a day. They’re looking for relevant information, and they’re looking to access that information quickly before moving onto the next page.
This quick exercise helps you decide what your customers want to find. As you work your way through mapping out the pages you need, keep this page to hand and make sure the answers are easily accessible to your visitors.
Facing challenges when writing content for your website? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer them!