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Who Cares About Your Content?

The first ever website
The first ever website
The first ever website

When the web first started, there was no fancy graphics, no cool animations, there was only text and links. The reason the web was created was because people wanted to share information, the only thing we needed then was textual information. These days, there’s much more we can do on the web but the fact still remains that we primarily come to the web for information. Whether it’s flight times, the answer to a random question your mate asked, or the price of a meal at that new restaurant down the road.

What’s important to take away from this is that although you might have a website that’s very flashy (there’s even things spinning and fading and stuff) the user will, 9.9 times out of ten, make a purchase or decision based on what they just read. That means you really need to make sure what they’re reading is as good as it can be. This is why it’s so sad to see a lot of websites with terrible copy (textual content). It’s rushed, it’s sloppy, it’s uninspiring, it’s boring, ad nauseum. The copy is what will sell products, make users trust the website and what will make them happy and keep coming back for more. The copy is as important than anything else on the site, if not more so.

War & Peace

Have you been to a website and just before you’ve started to read what’s on the page, scrolled down to see how much there was and thought “No chance?” Yeah, I have too, often. “This is the modern web, I don’t want to have to read ALL that! Can’t you just tell me the important bits?”. We sure can! That’s what good copy is all about; simple, focused, content that’s easy to scan and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Use headings and sub-headings to break information into small chunks so the user can choose what to read. Just because you want to read the entire history of your company, that most certainly doesn’t mean the user does. The user will scan your page to find what they’re looking for and they just want to know the bare minimum so they can carry on doing whatever they came here to do, probably to check out your product or service. Don’t slow them down!

WE ARE THE BESTEST!

You’ve probably also seen copy like this. Companies claiming they’re awesome at such and such a thing, how they’re better than anyone else and just exactly why their company has an ego the size of the Pacific. No one cares. Seriously, if I’m there to buy something from you, I’m going to make that decision myself.

If you’re offering a product, tell people how they can benefit from it, not why YOU think it’s cool. What will the user get from it? How will it make their life easier? Consider the following, which would you prefer to buy?

We spent ten hard years perfecting our lawn mower, it cuts grass at 1800rpm and has diamond coated blades. Only we put this much effort into our garden products.

Grass grows fast, this lawnmower cuts grass effortlessly, leaving you more time to do whatever you want this summer. It’ll last you years, we made sure of that.

The same amount of characters, but less about what I don’t care about and more about what I do. Don’t tell them you’re great, just make their life easier.

Google, I hate you

I don’t. I love Google really, they’re pretty cool. But on another level, SEO as a whole made the web a not so nice place. Keywords really need to be used well or they’ll just annoy your user. When a user gets annoyed, its bye-bye via the back button. Keywords can be super obvious, copy becomes hard to read, it gets boring and it’s not fun or natural. Just write good, honest copy first and worry about keywords later.

Another thing to note is the page Meta information. This is where you should pay attention to SEO but unfortunately where most people don’t. When you search for something on Google, what you’re looking for is relevant search results, it’s the meta information that controls that. Your page title should answer exactly what the user is looking for, this is the first thing they’ll see before they land on your page. The next thing is the description. These should be considered as important as the rest of the copy on the page.

Point Blank

When you consider the copy for your website, before you begin waffling on, have a point. Do you want them to buy something? Register their interest? To create effective copy, you need to have a point to what you’re saying. There’s no point going on about how great your company is (but you wouldn’t do that anyway, would you?), or how you had a billion clients recommend your product if you don’t lead the user to actually make a purchase.

Clear calls to action from Magento, Netflix and ClearApp

Each page should have a clear call to action, whether it’s to guide the user to another page where they can learn more about the product or service, or to actually hit that big buy now button.

So what’s the point of this then?

In conclusion to the article, the point is to make you really consider the content on your site. Does it make sense? Is it engaging to the user? Are they going to be amused, excited and better off or are they going to be bored and ready to try the next company? Because we all know how easy that is thanks to Google. If you don’t have the skills or time to create great copy, hire someone who can, we’ll put you in touch.

Content should not be a rushed after-thought, a slight hump before you go live, or something you’ve thrown together over the weekend. Content is king.