In our last post, we explored that being a good writer doesn’t qualify you for writing anything you want to take a stab at. There are nuances between types of content and techniques to learn before you can effectively say that you can do a great job at a new type of writing.
One of the easiest types of writing to screw up is website content – and you may never know you did a crappy job. A buyer usually approaches a writer with a one-time job or a single project. Once the job is done, it’s done.
Off the buyer goes with his brand-new website content, expecting results and conversion from the fancy wording.
It may be a few weeks or even months before the buyer realizes there’s something wrong. The site isn’t converting as well as it should. The content isn’t very compelling. The website is broken. Does the disappointed buyer go back to the original writer for an overhaul?
Nope. That buyer goes elsewhere. You would, too, if someone did a poor job on your project.
O Writer, Work Thy Magic
There are three problems with website content that doesn’t work the way it should:
• The buyer’s expectations were too high
• The website content wasn’t properly split-tested and tweaked
• The writer didn’t do a good job in the first place
Most writers lay the blame quickly: It’s the buyer’s fault. The instructions weren’t clear. They were vague. The design is ugly. The site owner isn’t promoting the business properly. The writer can’t be held responsible for a lack of results or poor conversion.
As a matter of fact, yes, the writer can.
Most writers believe that the goal is to write appealing content that reflects the company well, and that’s it. But that’s incorrect. Website content always has a distinct purpose. Writers tend to forget that clear goal: to compel, to convert, to attract, to sell, to inform, to inspire…
Websites are simply gateways to action, and it is the writer’s job to discover what that action should be – and make it happen.
Can You Repeat the Question?
It is the writer’s responsibility to ask the proper questions before writing one word of website content. Some good questions to ask buyers include:
• What is the purpose of the website?
• What action would you like visitors to take?
• Is there a specific service or product you would like to promote?
• What image do you want your website to reflect?
• What emotion do you want your visitors to feel when they read your content?
Create a form of standard questions that you can easily send to clients. Forget about the words you have to write. Focus on the initial effects the website needs to impress on site visitors and the after-effects of the content you’ll create.
The Clothes Make the (Wo)Man
Learn about your clients, too, and their type of personality. For a website to work well, it has to match the personality of the business and the people who will be running it.
Think of website content like custom-made clothing. Too stiff a suit, and the casual entrepreneur feels stifled. Too flouncy a dress and the business owner feels silly.
Observe as much as you can about the business owner through communication and find the proper garment selection for a perfect fit.
Words create a mental image, so make sure that the image you create also reflects the design of the site and the expectations of the target audience. Website content has to feel comfortable to the owner and stir up a sensation on presentation.
Does it sound like writing web content is a complex job? It is.
What – did you think it was easy?
It can become easy, though, if you learn the proper techniques that make you the star of the show. We’ll show you some techniques, too, so stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll explore how marketing strategies help your website wow the crowd.