You’ve no doubt heard that “content is king” on websites, but do you really know why?
What are people really searching for when they perform a search at Yahoo!, Google, Bing, MSN or another search engine? Information.
They’re looking for a good pre-school for their children and they want to know why one preschool is better than another.
They want a good electrician and they need to know how to differentiate one from another.
They want to learn how the new health care reform bill is going to affect their family.
Know. Learn. Why.
All pertain to looking for information.
If your business website doesn’t give them good, solid information they’re going to leave your site and go to the next site that came up in their search engine results looking for the information you didn’t provide. If they find it at your competitor’s site, she’ll probably get their business.
Instead, if your website is full of information that helps them make a decision, if it is full of facts that will help them make a better decision, if your site is there to help them, you’ll more than likely get them to stick around your site.
And you could very likely get a new client/customer.
The information on your website also is known as copy. In the Internet age, it’s more frequently known as “content.”
You can write your content for your site yourself, of course. But you must keep in mind that any copy on your site should be less about you — your services, your history, your prices — and more about them: How your service or product will make your potential customer’s life better. What problem it will solve for them. What need it will fulfill.
Don’t talk about features: “I’m a plumber available 24 hours a day.” Talk instead about benefits: “I’m a plumber available any time your pipes burst or your toilet overflows, even if it’s at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning.”
Write for the 9th Grader in All of Us
People reading online read differently than they do with a print publication. Online readers skim and jump about. You’ll want to be write short (300-600 words maximum per page), and be sure to add plenty of subtitles to highlight the main points you wish your readers to know. Subtitles also create nice whitespace, which eyes reading online love.
Keep your paragraphs short and your sentences even shorter. Write in the active tense. Never: “The plumbing company that’s available for emergencies even on Christmas morning.” Instead: “We’re available for emergencies any time, even at 3 p.m. Christmas morning.”
In addition, keep what my mother used to call the “Dollar words” to a minimum. Instead, write your content at the 8th-, 9th, or 10th grade level.
Remember, inform. Teach. Answer why. And do so in a lively, engaging manner.