As Vancouver Branding & Web Design experts we tell our clients that an effective website conveys within a very short time why the brand is their prospects’ only viable solution.
Developing a website content strategy, writing quality content, and bringing that content to life takes a tremendous amount of energy. At our Vancouver web design studio we believe great content leads to a strong user experience, website efficiency, powerful search engine optimization, and an overall winning brand experience.
What is a Content Strategy?
The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. Often including;
- Key themes and messages
- Recommended topics
- Content purpose (i.e., how content will bridge the space between audience needs and business requirements)
- Metadata frameworks and related content attributes
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Implications of strategic recommendations on content creation, publication, and governance.
Writing effective website content
Define your brand strengths & leverage them
Purposefully written website copy that effectively tells your prospects why they should buy from you will assist in setting you apart from the rest.
Think about content lifespan
When putting together content for your website it is important to not only think about creating and publishing the content, but governing the content as well. Once your website is live and time passes by, content will become obsolete and need to be updated. This includes images and videos as well as the text itself.
Answer more than just “what”
If all your content does is tell what the website is about, you’re missing the point. Quality content will answer the what, why, when, where, how and who. When writing content, make sure any possible questions a user may have are answered.
Make content Scannable
One of the most important things to take into consideration when creating content is to make sure it can be scanned. Part of this is the website designers job, but you should write content with this in mind. Users do not read content online, they scan it. Make sure you break up your text using multiple headlines, bullet points, short paragraphs, and descriptive links.
Measuring your brand’s success online and the success of the website launch can be difficult if you do not set goals. Figure out what you are looking to achieve with your website and exactly how your content can play a role in achieving success. Outline your goals and have them handy while writing content.
With each section of the website, figure out exactly what you want to accomplish with your content. Maybe it is to highlight a specific product, build brand recognition, or drive form conversions . Work towards accomplishing goals with your content. Knowing what you need to accomplish makes content writing easier for you, and the website design agency.
Outline content structure
Website content needs structure and this structure needs to be carried out through every single page on the site. By outlining the contents including; heading 1, 2, 3 etc., body text, links, related content, as well as your narrative, tense, and flow will help you stay consistent throughout the entire website.
Overall Brand Messaging
Put together some recommendations for the overall messaging and tone of the website and how it should be conveyed. You will likely not finalize the messaging and that is fine, but getting a head start will get your ideas flowing and assist your web design team.
Assign launch priorities
Since you will probably plan to make updates to the content over time, figure out where you want the content to be at website launch time. A lot of projects are time sensitive and getting off the ground is very important. Decide what needs to be completed before launch and what can be incorporated after launch.
With the flexibility of CMS’s such as Drupal, you can even write drafted content and have the page hidden until such time you wish to make it public.
Website Quality Checklist
Give Visitors a Summary
Before diving into the nitty-gritty give your visitor a short summary of what they are about to read. If you have written your summary successfully they will continue to read.
Typically 1-2 sentences max is sufficient.
Get to the Point
Keep in mind when writing content, online users typically do not read, they scan. This means, get straight to the point in the least amount of words possible.
Use Short Sentences & Paragraphs
Writing shorter sentences and breaking your content up into smaller paragraphs makes your content easier to comprehend and take in. By using short sentences and paragraphs you can capture their attention with short snippets without making them scan too much.
Limit Content to One Idea Per Paragraph
Attempting to cram six thoughts into one paragraph is not only going to lack flow, you are also going to confuse your readers. As mentioned above, keep your message short, organized, precise and to the point.
Use Bullet Points
There are many advantages of using bullet points, including
- They are easy to scan.
- They break up the flow of the page.
- They draw users in.
Use Sub Headings
Sub headings break up the monotony of your content and help users to scan the page and find the information they want.
Not to mention, sub headings offer great benefits for SEO (search engine optimization). Effective sub headings are short and contain a few good keywords.
Drop Unnecessary Adjectives
There are a quite a few million different ways I could explain my love for golden retrievers, however no other is more effective than “I love Golden Retrievers.” If your adjectives are not providing any significance or additional information to your content then drop them.
Use Links Within Your Copy
Links provide ways for your user to navigate to the information THEY want. Links will also standout amongst the other content on your page and help users to quickly scan the page and identify what the page is about.
Give your Brand a Voice
One of the best ways to stand out is to be unique. When writing content your brand personality should be apparent. This will help with brand recognition and flow.
Yes, updating copy on your website can be accomplished quickly and fairly easily, however when you don’t set forth with finalized and proofed content, things can be easily missed or lost in the shuffle of revisions.
What’s the point?
Each time you sit down to write content, ask yourself the scary, important question “What’s the point?” or “Who cares?”
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Article by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog