We’ve all looked at our website and thought, “I really need to go through and update that.”
But it is something that often gets pushed to the bottom of the list, and old content sits there for a lot longer than it should. Part of the problem is that we don’t always know exactly what we should put on our website.
This happens during website design (or re-design) projects as well. The web designer expects the business to provide the content for the site. But the business owner doesn’t always know what to provide or have a good process for coming up with website content.
This can sometimes take a long time and cause frustration on both sides. Especially if you are working with a solo designer, as opposed to a large marketing firm. Once the designer has the content, they can work their magic. But neither side is really equipped to create content that is going to be effective and part of a bigger marketing strategy.
I call this the “Content Hurdle.”
What often happens is that businesses end up falling back on the “brochure formula,” creating content about the business (the ubiquitous “About Us” page). They don’t use the tools that would allow them to harness more of the power the website could be providing.
In my work, I have developed a process to create content for websites. I have identified what questions to ask and what pieces to create. I recommend getting help to guide you through the process, ensure that your website content is really effective, and hold you accountable to make sure it actually gets done.
But, whether you are a web designer struggling with your clients or a small business who wants to update their site, here are some of the steps I take to create website content.
#1 - Identify who your ideal visitors are
Get very clear about who you are talking to. You’ve probably heard this before, but have you actually taken the time to write it down? I like to write about who my visitors and prospective clients are, and put it on the website. Then I can say, “Hey, does this sound like you?” That way people can self select, and only engage further with my business if they are an ideal client.
#2 - Know what they want, and give it to them
Once you have identified who you are talking to, and let them know you are talking to them, you have to provide them with some value. In order to do that, you have to know what they want. Giving people information about what you can provide for them is okay. But giving them a little piece of it that they can use right now is so much more powerful.
#3 - Tell them what to do
Your visitors will only spend a short time on your website (a few seconds to a couple of minutes if you are lucky). Then they will be gone. It is important to capture their information or connect with them in some way while they are there so you can stay in touch with them and continue the relationship. There are many things that could be a “call to action,” but it is important to be strategic and specific about what action you want your visitors to take.
#4 – Build a relationship
This is the part that I like the best, but often gets left out. The most important thing we need to do with prospective customers is to establish a relationship with them. Build the “know, like, and trust” factor. We often save this part for when we talk to people on the phone or in person. But our website is the perfect place to plant the seeds of the relationship. The previous three steps can play a role in building the relationship, but a relationship has two sides. So you also have to portray yourself in such a way that you are a participant in the process, and not just a bio with a list of accomplishments.
Take a look at your website content with these things in mind, and see if it is time for a content overhaul.