Most companies have a website, but far less recognise the value of making web content work for your business.
The simplest description to give a website would be an online brochure. However, as times have changed and buyer behaviours have evolved, so too has functionality. This makes websites a far more valuable business asset.
So, why then do companies put so much time and effort into creating a website only to leave it sat dormant?
We explore how you could implement some changes to ensure you’re making web content work for your business.
Planning a platform for business
Websites are used to describe a business, product or service and also to provide customers with access to purchase. That may be through signposting to a retail outlet or direct to order online.
Having a site and signposting to it should be part of the marketing strategy. However, before this happens, a great deal of time and effort should go into thinking about what you are sharing and why.
Questions need to be asked:
- Has the site been designed to be visually representative of the business?
- Does it use a tone of voice and language that would be recognised by staff and customers?
- Will the content be useful and engaging for prospective customers and those that purchase regularly?
- Is the site easy to navigate both to pages and back?
- Was the website worth the investment?
- Would the website be a more valuable asset if greater time and attention was given to it?
- Does it have a strong call to action?
- What measures are in place to monitor the website performance?
Whether you are updating a current website or starting from scratch, answering these questions will help. Like any business-critical activity that requires investment of time and money, it should start with an objective.
Setting this out clearly will provide focus and purpose.
Creating a site map
Plotting a simple site map will give clarity on the pages that are required and what will be shared on each. One of the most common pitfalls is that companies create websites that share the same information on all pages.
Repetition is sometimes unavoidable, but this should be discussed at the outset. It will save time and effort later.
Better understanding the journey a visitor will go on, will also be a useful exercise. Remembering that people will be directed to any number of pages and using this to plot how they get from A to B and back again will be an exercise that pays dividends.
Compelling copy with a clear call to action
The copy that is shared on a website may be the first impression a prospective customer ever gets of your business. Getting it right is a must.
Once you have mapped what goes onto each page and what you want that visitor to learn, you will have the basis for your copy. Keeping the language you use simple, and the sentence structures short, is also important.
As with all marketing, people can misjudge the time and effort that goes into curating good copy and perhaps even fail to recognise its value. When you take a step back and think about the last time you visited a poor website and how it made you feel, perhaps that attitude will change.
I‘ve heard a website described as an online shop window, and this is probably a good interpretation. Certainly, in recent times, consumers have had to turn to websites, so making sure that the information shared is relevant and will resonate has never been more important.
Having a clear call to action means a visitor can take away a recommendation. Whether they choose to put that into practice is up to them. However, websites that provide direction are always going to deliver a stronger return than those that don’t.
Use social signposting to increase traffic
Once the website is live for all to see, it is prudent to signpost an audience from social media platforms. As an example, if you have a new product to share, make sure to post a link to the relevant webpage across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Insta.
Social platforms are often used in this way and it does increase traffic to a website. The trick here is to make sure that the information posted is informative and helpful. If you ‘sell at someone’ they are likely to ignore you. Give them something that they may want or need and you are far more likely to attract a click in the right direction.
The principles of a website are the same as any marketing tool. Think about the needs of the audience first, not the business. That way you know the content you are creating will add value rather than create noise.
It’s not always about starting from scratch
One mistake that companies make is to forget about all of the historic content that has been created. Just because it is dated, it doesn’t mean that it is useless. In fact, there are probably some real treasures hidden in the archives.
This content may need updating, repurposing or redrafting in places, but it should not be assigned to the recycle bin.
Taking the time to go through and find the copy that is relevant may save huge amounts of effort in the long-term. It is also about being consistent with the message. Just because you have a new website, that doesn’t mean the story about the business has to change.
In some cases, reading the content from when a business was launched will unearth some incredible insights that add personality and really resonate with staff and customers alike. Make sure to pull these pieces out so that you can make your web content work for your business.
Optimising content to attract customers
Most websites will have a plugin or tool that can be used to measure the search engine optimisation of the copy that is shared. These are really useful and very simple to use. As well as providing a red, amber or green reference, they will also provide recommendations on how to enhance copy.
Don’t ignore these tips. They can turn a good piece of copy into a well written, informative and optimised piece of content. The truth is that when you follow the guidelines, the copy that you share is more likely to attract visitors and for them to read it.
Adding keywords, creating subheadings, using simple language and keeping sentence structures simple are all ways of better engaging through web copy. This will also go some way to making web content work for your business.
Allocating the time and effort needed
Updating a website is not a five-minute task. It isn’t a simple job that can be added to a list to be completed on a Friday afternoon before home time. A website is a valuable business tool and should be considered as such.
The investment that is often made into a website should be some indication of what time and effort is needed to make it work as hard as it can once the build is complete. No online platform is static anymore, so don’t leave your site to become dormant through lack of effort.
Having a clear plan which focuses on making web content work for your business will deliver a greater return. Only then will you see the true value and what an asset an online platform can be.
For support with your website content or to discuss how to put a structure plan in place for your PR, social and marketing requirements, please call a member of the team at Open Comms here.