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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

Website Content that Matters in Building Your Business

If you are just beginning to create a website for your business, you might have already begun looking at other websites to get an idea of what to do. What you'll find, however, is a vast number of poorly run, unprofessional websites that have the wrong content and the wrong approach.

If you already have a website, you are likely wondering if it is written and managed correctly. Maybe it's not drawing the amount of traffic you'd like to see, or maybe it isn't getting the feedback and return on investment that you'd prefer.

In either scenario, creating and managing meaningful, results-driven content is an obstacle that many small businesses face—and one that many fail to get right. The result is a website that doesn't reflect well on their business and doesn't achieve the return and audience that it could achieve with some fine-tuning and focus on effective content. Consider the basic suggestions below for avoiding this for your own website.

The best website content is simple, succinct and easy to read

If your website has gimmicky sales pitches and many words, you're probably doing it wrong. Consider your own preferences when surfing the web—do you take the time to read long pages of writing when looking at a company's website? When you are looking for a service provider, do you stay on the website for longer than 10 or 15 minutes, reading through all of their sales pitches?

If you are like most internet users, you don't do this. According to research conducted by Chao Liu, Ryen White and Susan Dumais of Microsoft Research, most internet users determine within the first 10 seconds if they are going to stay on a webpage or leave. If they choose to stay—meaning that the page is designed well and considered a "good" page—the average length of time they will remain on that webpage is 2 minutes.

Another study that was more recent and conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that 17% of page views lasted less than 4 seconds, 4% of page views lasted more than 10 minutes, and only 49% of words were typically read on a page containing 111 words or less. Additionally, the study found that users spend only 4.4 seconds more for each additional 100 words. What this means is that when users see more than 100 words on your page, they are most likely to scan instead of read thoroughly, spending only 4.4 seconds per 100 words.

Knowing these statistics, why would anyone want to write webpages containing 600 words to describe the services they offer and how great those services are? Instead of focusing on quantity of content on your website's landing pages, you should rather focus on quality, realizing that you have less than 10 seconds to grab the reader's attention and point out exactly what it is that sets your business apart from the competition.

Useful content showing expertise should be professional, error-free, and updated regularly

Beyond the normal landing pages, writing content that is aimed at showing your expertise in your business is a great way to draw more potential clients. This content can be written as whitepapers, newsletters, e-books, or blogs that are filled with useful information designed to educate your clients. This is not content that discusses your business or tries to sell anything. It is content written with one purpose in mind: to educate and inform.

This content will contain a higher word count because internet users want to learn information when they come to that particular webpage. For that reason, the clarity with which you relate the information is crucial, and correct grammar is an absolute must. Anything that is written sloppily or unprofessionally will be an immediate turn-off to an internet visitor who will equate the errors or poor grammar with a lack of knowledge and expertise. This will inevitably and irrevocably hurt the reputation of the business who posts it on their webpage.

This content should also be updated regularly to show that your business is still working to be on the cutting edge of its field. Old and outdated content will relay the message that either your business is behind on the times or you don't put the same amount of effort into maintaining your expertise as you once did. Neither of these messages are good to relay to potential clients. Therefore, keeping this type of "expertise" content updated regularly—as well as older content archived well—will give your business that professional, expert presence on the web that every smart business owner should strive for.

Avoid sales pitches and let your professionalism speak for itself

In my 10+ years as a marketing copywriter, I can't count the number of clients who have requested content along the lines of "but wait, there's more!". So many businesses (especially newbies to internet marketing) falsely assume that this is the strategy they should take. This type of content not only fails to do what it is intended to do—it also turns off potential customers who are not on your website to read sales pitches and gimmicky language. It has the same effect as the car salesmen who yell their car ads on the radio and television. While they think it produces excitement and makes people want to buy a car, most people just turn it off or turn it down.

Any marketing professional will tell you that the same rule applies across the board for all of your marketing content. Whether it is a website, blog, email drips or e-books, the art of the soft sell is much more effective in convincing potential customers to buy your products or use your services. Let your online communication focus on professionalism and information; those are the best techniques for attracting sales.

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