Friday, August 21, 2009

Writing Effective Content for Your Website

by Jim Degerstrom

Website owners who offer a product or service have 5 seconds to capture the attention of site visitors. If you do not write effective website content to quickly communicate the benefits of what you do, your audience will bounce to the next website in their search results. This bounce rate is the opposite of stickiness. Is your website sticky? These tips on writing effective content for your website can certainly help.

Content needs to describe as much as possible about who, what, where, when, and why on every page with very specific key words and phrases to connect instantly with site visitors including search engines. Avoid technical terms in your website content writing that only those close to your industry understand.

Key word research is the best way to understand what people really put in the Google search box looking for your product or service. Guess when writing content for your website and your competition may have the edge capturing site visitor attention and converting them to buying customers.

Those key words should be inserted in website content in addition to each page title, description, key word list, and page headlines or subheadings, also. Including photographs or graphics will help convey the message beyond text, so a gallery or showcase can help quickly communicate website content details and create a more positive first impression.

When you use quality photographs to insert in pages, those pictures tell what 1000 words cannot. Your message when writing effective website content needs to be communicated based on real world website visitor behavior. People land anonymously on a website unlike visitors met face to face, so the decisions are different than walking into a brick and mortar business.

People instantly notice graphics and the overall professional look, and then scan headlines and perhaps a few words in the first sentence of website content in each paragraph. The majority will rarely read your text verbatim. Headlines, bullet lists, and graphics attract attention more than narrative, and that critical first impression is what will get them to stay and perhaps buy after they explore details later.

It's important to touch a nerve in the first 5 seconds to convince people to stay on your website. All they care about learning from your website text content is "What's in it for me if I buy here?". Initially, site visitors don't care about the details of features until they are convinced of the benefits, and that message needs to be presented in shorts bits that can be understood instantly.

The strategy for writing marketing material content for consumers is different on the internet, and similar to listening to a joke or reading a novel, people want to know the punchline or ending up front.

Rather than writing website text content that presents your introduction, features, and then benefits in that order like a regular marketing or sales pitch, writing for the web is more effective when you reveal the benefits and outcome first. This writing strategy for online marketing emphasizes the importance of catchy headlines that capture and hold interest quickly.

People will skip over paragraphs on your website that have more than 2-3 sentences, so write content and then edit to eliminate poetic or flowery speech and any unnecessary adjectives. By all means, do not exaggerate.

Keep in mind people go online for one thing: information. Website visitors rarely will buy on the first visit. Most will visit several websites searching for the right mix of content that best answers "What's in it for me?". Present benefits in the introduction, and you can still use the formula of introduction, features, and benefits to enhance your skills for writing effective website content.

Site owners who track visitor statistics probably notice the bounce rate mentioned earlier. The majority of visitors land on a page and leave immediately without fully exploring your site. Stating the benefits twice on each page will strengthen your marketing message. Maintaining a consistent message on every page can result in more business by writing effective content for your website.

About the Author

Jim Degerstrom, owner of Custom CMS Design LLC, offers custom cms web design services and proven seo advice for search engine optimization with custom cms web designs that allow website owners to add, edit, or delete content in plain text without technical skills.