As a website designer, one of the most common questions that I get asked is “Sean, how do I write good content for my website?” Writing excellent text, also known as copy, is a both a technical skill and artform. Luckily, I believe that with a little bit of education, everyone is capable of doing this. This article is a brief introduction to familiarize yourself with some of what I believe are the best data-driven practices for writing excellent copy for your website. Whether you are building your website yourself using a solution such as Squarespace or hiring a professional website developer such as myself to take on the project, these fundamentals will help you optimize your presence on the Internet.
Before we get started, please note we will be using many tools that require the Google Chrome web browser. If you do not currently have Google Chrome installed on your Mac or PC, please go to this link and download and install it for free so that you can follow along with these best practices.
Do Your Research.
Writing great content for your website starts with doing research to find out which keywords or search terms you should include in your text and optimize for so that your website is easily discovered by folks typing in those keywords into popular search engines such as Google and Bing.
After you have decided the titles for each page on your website, you will conduct research to determine which keywords to use on each page. Start very high level and discover what people are searching for on Google by using Google Trends. Click here to open the Google Trends website. Put yourself into your buyer’s shoes and type in keywords that you would search for if you were looking for your business. See which keywords are becoming more popular and have a growing interest. Make a list of the winners that you want to focus on. Make sure they aren’t too competitive (have a ton of traffic) because those are often more difficult to optimize for.
Next, see what your competitors are optimizing for! For this, click here to install MozBar in Google Chrome and then click here to install the Mangools SEO Google Chrome Extension. Also, I recommend installing Word Tracker by clicking here.
With these various tools, you will have a better understanding of how you can position yourself in the keyword landscape.
Analyze Your Results and Strategize.
Now that you have done your research, it is time to write down the keywords you want to focus on for each page of your website. But, before doing so, let’s learn a little more about keywords.
Keywords, also known as search terms, can be divided into two main categories: Short-Tail Keywords and Long-Tail Keywords. Short-Tail Keywords typically are three words or less, as opposed to Long-Tail Keywords, which are longer than three words. Short-Tail Keywords are keywords that typically encapsulate what an average person first thinks of and searches on a given topic.
Let’s say you live in the Westchester neighborhood in the Los Angeles area and are looking for a trusts and estates lawyer. You may start your search with “lawyer Los Angeles”. This is a short-tail keyword. Naturally, this is an extremely competitive keyword that yields thousands of results.
You get frustrated because you don’t see any results for a lawyer in your neighborhood that specializes in trusts in estates. So, what do you do? You type in a longer keyword (search term) also known as a Long-Tail Keyword such as “Westchester Los Angeles estates and trusts lawyer”.
My client, Edgar Saenz, appears organically at the top of the list in Google because the words that you just typed in were in one of our primary Long-Tail Keywords.
Create a Word or Excel document where you list every page and the keywords you will optimize for on that specific page based off of your findings above. Have a section towards the top of the document I recommend having 3 main focus keywords for each page. Make sure two of those are Long-Tail keywords. When you write your copy (text) for each page, make sure that you type these keywords multiple times in each paragraph. Ideally, make them your headings as well.
Hook Your Reader Early On.
Engagement is critical and grabbing the attention of your reader early on is a must. Make sure your header has two things: 1) contains your primary focus keyword and 2) entices the reader. The reality is that in today’s fast-paced culture where the majority of your website visitors are viewing it from mobile devices, which means that it is critical that you grab the attention of readers in the larger headings so that they feel enticed to read the smaller paragraph text.
Focus on Writing Content that Encourages You to Accomplish Your End Goal.
Write your website content in a logical way that tells a story if you will that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The end should be a call to action such as “click here to schedule a free consultation” or “click here to buy this great product”. Make sure all of your text is leading up to the ask and you build a compelling argument throughout so that when the reader reaches the call to action, it’s a no-brainer and they act!
Make It Reader-Friendly.
Make sure your text is easy to read. Here are a few tips on how to accomplish that:
- Use active voice.
- Use shorter sentences.
- Break up large paragraphs of text.
- Use transition words to gently guide the reader.
- Emphasize the most important parts of your text.
- Bold Italics.
- Bold Underline.
- Different Color.
Check and Double-Check Your Grammar.
No one likes to visit a website and read content that is missing periods or simply makes no sense. Use the Microsoft Word spellcheck feature. Use the Grammerly Chrome Extension. You can install the Grammerly Chrome Extension by clicking here. After you’ve done these things, I suggest sharing your text with some friends and colleagues and asking them for their thoughts and feedback before you put it up on your website for the entire world to see.
Don’t Publish a Word Desert.
One of the biggest mistakes people can make from a search engine optimization perspective is not having enough text content on their website. Studies show that between 1,000 and 2,000 words per page is best, so I suggest aiming for that. This of course includes the homepage- there should be good text content in addition to beautiful graphics and images.
Well, there you have it, folks! Happy writing. If you have any questions about this or would like my help in your website endeavor, please feel free to call or text me at (310) 871-2587.