Writing web content is more complicated than it’s ever been before.
And to prove it, just consider this shortlist of the most crucial components needed to compete in today’s world of immediate ROI:
A perfect understanding of your audience and buyer personas.
A content audit that identifies the gaps and holes that need to be filled.
Authentic, well-researched content that helps and inspires.
A clear grasp of web content optimization that attracts free, organic traffic sites.
I could go on and on…
In fact, I believe there are 5 ingredients of outstanding website content-- and you need to understand and master all of them since they’re interconnected to attract leads and boost sales for your business. All the pieces have to fit together from the beginning to the end.
But how do you know what to include and what to leave out?
I know how it feels to be at the bottom of the mountain looking up-- daunting at best, hopeless at worst.
And guess what?
You’re not alone… more than a third of all content marketers admit that their content marketing is somewhat or not effective at all.
But what if there was one place you could get the holy grail with the rules that make for outstanding website content? A place where you can finally have all the tools in your toolbelt to effectively write great website content and turn your prospects into clients like a pro?
Read on to find out more.
Introducing the Full Stack: 13 Rules to Create Effective Website Content
I bet you’ve googled how to create outstanding website content.
How did that go?
Most advice assumes that you’ve got lots of time, an abundance of resources and understand concepts that took skilled marketers years to master.
It doesn’t always have to be that way.
Here you’ll find the holistic blueprint for your full website content creation and then get a step-by-step breakdown for the essential elements so that there’s no more confusion, second-guessing, shadow boxing, or starting over.
Ready? Let’s plunge in.
1. Know Thyself
Your website content should state what your business is and why people should choose you.
Do you know what most people need from you? (Hint: It’s not your products-- they can get that from your competitors.)
Most of your prospects have a deep desire or problem that needs someone to solve. They need someone they can trust and persuade them that they have the solution and can stop looking. In other words, it’s your unique value proposition.
So at the epicenter of your content should be the why and how of your firm. It should explain how your products and services are going to help solve the problems of your prospects. When creating your website content, use your unique selling point as the basis for creating your content and weave it all together throughout your website.
2. Know Your Audience and Target Personas
Here’s the thing: Each successful marketing strategy is built around a robust and deep understanding of the audience and buyer personas.
But where do I start carrying out audience research, and who the hell are buyer personas?
I know I promised not to make things as complicated-- and it’s not as complicated as it seems. In fact, you’ve already done a lot of the audience research without knowing.
An easy definition of your buyer persona is a fictionalized character of your ideal customer, created from everything you know about your existing customer. Easy, right?
So if you’re creating website content for your law firm, you already know heaps about your existing clients. These are your primary audience. You know their deepest desires and how your services help them solve these pain points.
You also need to create interesting content that resonates with other professionals who might need your services in the future but not yet your clients. This is your secondary audience.
With this understanding of your target audience, try crawling inside their heads and identify what keeps them up at night and how they can find your services and get relief. Then create engaging content that speaks their language, reflects their value and delivers messages that drive action.
3. Run a Content Audit
Creating content just for the sake of creating sounds a lot like operating a ship without a rudder, floundering through the waves heading to nowhere.
Auditing your content means going back to the drawing board, determining what content you have and which gaps need to be filled. Some of the content may need to be rewritten, some of it may need to be removed completely from your site, and some of it might be good but could do with optimization.
Running a content audit provides you with a clear picture of your content lifecycle and gives you valuable insights when creating your next piece of content.
4. Map Your Content to the Client Lifecycle
Now you're writing with your audience in mind and know what type of content your website needs. However, you need to understand how all the content should piece together in your content schedule.
Your content should be geared towards leading your visitors and prospects down the sales funnel. The content should address various concerns depending on the stage your prospect is in the buyer’s journey.
Using a law firm example, let’s assume a prospect and name him John. John was injured three months ago in the workplace and hasn’t received compensation from the company he’s been working for. Here are the three stages John goes through before choosing a lawyer:
Awareness- James is figuring out that he has a need (Worker compensation) but is not really aware whether he can sue the company for compensation or not. At this stage, he needs a blog explaining how compensation laws work in his state and instances he can receive compensation.
Consideration- At this stage, John understands that the company should compensate him. He also knows that he can sue the company, but he needs a lawyer’s representation in court to win the case. So he’s researching the best lawyer he can get to make sure he gets compensation in its entirety. Here, John needs video content or a page that showcases how each law firms goes about the process.
Decision- James has gone through various websites and is now ready to engage a lawyer. What he needs is conviction. Here, John doesn’t need a blog post; he needs either a case study or client testimonials of past success that assures him of the credibility of the lawyer he’s about to hire.
The bottom line is to have a solid content marketing strategy that includes different, but important pieces of content for each stage of the buyer.
5. Use the Inverted Pyramid Process
Do you know how long it takes your readers to determine whether your site has the content they’re looking for or not?
Eight seconds or less. So if within the 8 seconds they don’t find the content they’re looking for, phiff, they’re gone in a puff of virtual smoke. If you’re not telling your visitors what’s in them, they’re unlikely to stick around long enough.
This means you need to keep the most important message of your website content at the top and then drill it down to the detailed information at the bottom in the form of an inverted cone or pyramid.
For instance, if you’re creating a landing page for a discount offer for first-time clients, you should start with the details of the discount, what percentage is off, and then continue narrowing down to how the product benefits your prospect.
So it’s broad general information at the top, then narrow detailed information at the bottom.
Writing Compelling Web Copy
As a marketer, you’re in the market of persuasion. You have to push the right emotional buttons of your readers while being extremely valuable for them to take the action you want them to take.
There are various rules for writing engaging and provocative content.
They additional rules include:
6. Exploit Human Nature
“What? I don’t want to be a scoundrel and manipulate anyone.”
I get that, but you see, there’s a fine line between manipulation and persuasion. And what we’re aiming for is persuasion.
We, as humans, are emotional beings. We all respond when some buttons are pushed. We cry when we feel defeated, we laugh when we’re happy. We get pissed when someone tries to cut in the line in Walmart.
And when we open that bag of Cheetos, that sucker is empty in less than 10 minutes.
So despite responding differently, we have to respond when certain buttons are pushed. It’s in our nature.
So if you want your content to be read and trigger emotions, aim for the heart with raw emotions.
7. Write Simple, Short Sentences
Okay, this one is familiar, right?
But as familiar as it is, some people still get it wrong.
Brevity is a content writer's best friend. When your reader feels that the sentences or paragraphs are getting too hefty, they start to think: “This content is boring,” and before you know it, they’re gone in a puff of virtual smoke.
Aim for about two to three sentences in each paragraph while using a mix of both long and short sentences to make your word readable and enjoyable.
8. Make Your Text Scannable
Most visitors read only about 28% of your website content.
Okay, you think I’m lying? Try visiting a webpage you haven’t visited before and see how much you read.
It’s an uncomfortable truth, especially considering the rigor you go through to produce quality content for your audience, but it’s extremely powerful.
As suggested earlier, your visitors are looking for the most important information on your website, and if they don’t find it, they move on.
You can make better your user experience by including some design elements such as:
Organizing your text in numbered or bulleted lists instead of using hefty paragraphs.
Utilizing the white space- White space is the space between paragraphs, images, and other elements in your website. Though it may seem like a wastage of space, whitespaces are a website designer’s best friend. These design requirements make your website more skimmable and pleasant to the eye.
Divide your content into subsections by using subheadings and headers to break up information. These design elements are extremely vital.
7. Get Visual
We are highly visual creatures and heavily rely on visual cues.
However, most content marketers rely only on text as the default content. You should use a considerable mix of visuals and other multimedia to break up the text.
How did that go with the GIF? See the importance?
A chart may easily communicate complex data compared to plain text. On the other hand, an image may easily draw your readers in and communicate more effectively.
If you’re not that good with creating images and visuals, just uhmm… ignore them.
Sorry mate, there’s no excuse for that. Tools like Canva and piktochart can help you create some really cool graphics without the expertise.
8. Help, Inspire and be Exceptionally Valuable
What value does your content provide to your reader?
Remember, what makes content marketing tick in the first place is that you’re offering solutions to your audience’s pressing pain points by creating and curating valuable, relevant content.
Creating original content is not enough. Creating content that inspires, helps and adds some significant value to the life of your reader does. You could be the best wordsmith the world has ever seen but gain zero followers if your content does not benefit your audience.
9. Nix the Jargon
Your product is superior, and you need to sound smart when introducing it, sure.
But how do you expect anyone to grasp “bandwidth circles back with actionable insights….”
Simply put: avoid heavy words that are not easily understandable to your average reader.
10. Include Effective Calls to Action
If your reader has decided to start a journey with you by reading your content and has stayed with you to the very end, don’t let that journey end in a whimper. Let your reader know the next step you’d like them to take.
It may be a prompt to sign up for a discount, purchase your service, or leave a comment.
Something like: Please make sure to take all your belongings as you leave, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get a 50% discount on your first purchase.
11. Implement Search Engine Optimization For Ranking
If it’s not on the first page of Google, it doesn’t exist.
Using some of the SEO best practices when creating website content is crucial. There’s no point in having well-written original content that doesn’t rank on search engines. So take this content optimization guide to understand the building blocks needed to please the search engines and increase your domain authority.
12. Layer Website Content
You’ve got to love everything about website content because you can direct your readers to other pages with more information about a subject you couldn’t cover in-depth on your webpage.
For instance, if your content covers wrongful death lawyers, and you have a subsection highlighting some common causes of wrongful death cases, you can add an inbound link to the page that contains the blog with more all the causes that are well explained.
Building these inbound links helps Google understand what your website is all about. However, don’t overload your content with too many internal links to avoid confusing your reader.
13. Assign to the Right People
I know creating website content can be an uphill task, and the idea of bending some of these smart rules is tempting.
After all, rules were created to be broken, right?
I get you, but you mess with either of these, and you’re not too far from page 57 of Google.
You need a professional copywriter who understands their craft and knows their trade to curate exceptional website content that brings the oomph to your content marketing.
Through years of experience creating website content, I’ve mastered the art of creating compelling website content that not only engages readers but also pleases Google.
Hit that contact button and let me help you fix your content marketing problems!