Companies or organizations that don’t have the budget (or the need) for a large-scale, CMS-driven website often come to us looking for a simple update to their design. They are often looking to refresh their website's color schemes to fit shifting design trends or modify its templates for better user experience, but what they often don’t consider is actually the most important aspect of all: content.
Content is the foundation of a successful website. The information that you provide about your products or services and how they can solve people’s problems is what people are coming to your website to see, so if you aren't providing value to your visitors, they aren’t going to stick around and become customers.
At Diagram, we often work with our clients to formulate a content strategy that will best meet their clients’ needs, but we’ve wanted to share some basic strategies that clients with smaller-scale websites can implement on their own:
1. Use the 5-Second Rule
People are regularly barraged with information, both on- and off-line, so you shouldn’t expect them to read an entire page before understanding what they need to know. Instead, consider what someone would take away from a page if they only look at it for a few seconds. What is the one thing you want them to remember?
For example, if you have a page featuring a new product, you might want to emphasize its features, price point, or release date. Make sure this information is highlighted in a way that people will be able to understand right away. Aiming for one message and really focusing on that message will ensure that people come away with that key point in mind and understand what they should do next.
2. Consider the Client’s Needs
Can people find the information they need on your website, or is your content too technical or in-depth to be helpful for someone who is looking to answer a simple question? Since you know a great deal of information about your products or services, you might have created some highly informative content, but if it’s lengthy or complicated, it might end up chasing people away rather than helping them understand how you can solve their issues.
When creating content for people who are learning about your areas of expertise, be sure to use plain, familiar language and stay away from industrial jargon. Use shorter paragraphs and keep explanations simple. It’s also a good idea to include an executive summary or bullet points of keywords or highlights at the top of a page so people who have less time to read will have a good idea what the content is about.
Of course, not all of your content is going to be intended for people who are first learning about the topic. You may also want to create content for people who are looking for more in-depth advice or have done some research and need help making a decision. Content can be targeted to people at different stages of the Buyer’s Journey. When creating content, you’ll want to consider the buyer personas that you want to target with that content and make sure it is relevant to them.
3. Minimize Your Content
After writing your content, it’s often a good idea to see if you can remove some of what you’ve written without losing any meaning. Can you take out some sentences or shorten some paragraphs and still convey the information you want your site’s visitors to understand? In order to provide the most value for your busy clients, you should try to edit your content down to as short a length as possible while still keeping the main message intact. This will allow you to provide the maximum amount of relevant information to the reader while requiring them to do the minimum amount of reading necessary to understand it.
4. Link to Related Content
Too often, content authors try to cover every aspect of a topic all on one page, leading to lengthy content that is overwhelming to people who are not as familiar with the subject. A better solution is to include links to other blogs, product pages, or service areas on your site that will provide people with more information. This will help you keep your content more concise and easy to digest.
In addition, people need to know what to do next when they finish reading a piece of content, so you’ll want to be sure to direct them to other content on your site that is relevant to them. This can be done by linking to other pages within the text, placing a related links section in a sidebar, or including a call-to-action (CTA) that demonstrates where people can go for further information.
Content Is King
Your content is the most important part of your website. It is what attracts visitors and convinces them that your products or services are the right choice for them. To achieve success in your online strategy, you need to make sure your content is working for you. These tips can help you make sure your content is providing the value that your customers need, but if you need more help formulating a content strategy or determining the best way to move forward, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to helping you find the success you deserve!