The web design and content may be the only thing people use to judge whether you’re right for them. The design is a wrapper for content — that showcases it in the best light.
As part of our web design process, I spend a lot of time reviewing and advising clients on how to improve their website content.
For a website to shine, your content needs to be on par with the design. Valuable websites create content with a genuine personality that resonates with visitors.
1. What makes your brand unique?
People use the same services, but for different reasons, motivations and justifications.
A few years ago, I wanted to understand why people chose Hidden Depth for their web design project. I spoke to clients, sent feedback forms and reviewed documents from past projects.
Clients said their old site was embarrassing, which stopped them promoting it. Others felt their brand had grown — but their site was not in line with who the brand is now or who they serve.
A consistent theme emerged. A need to transform an online presence into something people would be proud to show the world. This theme has dictated our content, sales process, project management and extra services.
Talk to your customers, review meeting notes and observe social media about your brand. Pinpoint what you offer that attracts people. The results will surprise you. Use those insights and apply them to your content.
2. Focus on the reader
Your website is there to serve the needs of the end-user. If it does not fulfil their needs, no matter how much you like it, they’ll lose interest and leave.
It’s not about what you do, who you are, or awards you win. You can mention those things, but you need to explain why any of that should matter to clients.
Stop making people think. Content from your viewpoint goes through a “how does this benefit me” filter.
3. Add a splash of personality
The majority of website content is too formal, compared to in-person interactions. Try a conversational approach to instil character into your content.
Adding genuine personality has two significant benefits:
- Builds rapport and connect with the reader. Those with similar opinions, sense of humour and outlook will gravitate towards you.
- Filters out stressful projects before they come through the door. Nobody wants to work on projects that take more time or add stress. But most demanding clients are not trying to ruin your day. It could be a clash between opposing personality types.
Project your brand and team personality. Share what matters to you for a successful outcome. Write like you are speaking to one person. It’s a person, not a company choosing to work with you.
4. Be distinct about what you provide
People will land on your website looking for a solution to their problem. From the start, your content should make it clear that you have the answer.
Your homepage does not need some inspirational quote, that makes your brand unique. For first time visitors, they need to know they’ve found what they need, so mention what you provide.
Make the first text users see obvious and include keywords related to your industry. Your content should help take away uncertainty and signal “you’re in the right place.”
5. What’s your communication style?
Do your clients want to be lead by an expert? Do they need a facilitator to deliver their vision?
- Leaders show how their experience and process produces a successful outcome.
- Facilitators have the knowledge and team that clients can utilise to achieve their vision.
Consider ‘how’ you say something, and not just ‘what’ you say. Think about how you communicate with current clients. Some content will only need a quick rewrite to match your communication style.
6. Give insights into your process
Every business has a process they know inside out, but customers don’t. Uncertainty can prevent someone from making a decision or push them away.
Showing your process can help inoculate uncertainty in people. Explain how the first interaction with your business works. If it’s a quick call — include the estimated time and the expected outcome. Online payments should detail delivery dates and your refund policy. Is there a refund policy, trial period or something else that will reduce the fear of commitment.
7. Match your readers desired state of mind
To empathise, you need context. Understand your customer’s state of mind. Are they stressed and need to a calming voice? Do they need a company who shares their passion and excitement? A creative partner that will help them innovate? Someone who can guide them through the process and ease uncertainty?
What would a happy client say to others when recommending your business? They won’t say “this company has a team of 30 and won 15 awards”. Avoid that kind of statement on your website.
They might say how you were; easy to deal with, delivered on time, had a clear plan, made helpful suggestions. Make your content human and build a connection while people read.
8. Showcase the result
Write web content that is in line with a client’s desired outcome. Help people imagine achieving their goal, which is why they need your help.
Build empathy, excitement and reassurance — by explaining how you make things better. Associate those positive words and feelings with your brand.
9. What should people do next?
A call to action should support the research phase of the customer journey. Once they’ve found the information they need, they’ll move into the buying phase. When the time is right, people will look for your contact details.
The pages on your website should be connected to improve exploration. Associate the call to action with complimentary pages or content.