Designing a good website means more than just making it look good. People need to be able to find the information on your site, and what’s more, it needs to be compelling.

Stats show, that when a person arrives at a website, they will stay for no more than seven seconds – unless the written web-content compels them to stay longer.

Here are five things web-content writers should do to write compelling content:

1.     Identify the website’s goal.

Websites are created with different goals in mind.  Some common goals are:

  • Imparting information – e.g. a news site.
  • Sharing information – e.g. a family history site.
  • Promoting a product – e.g. launching a new product to existing clients.
  • Selling a product – e.g. an e-commerce site.
  • Entertainment – e.g. a movie review site.

The way words are used will vary depending on the website’s goal.  Make sure before you start that you understand what the website is seeking to accomplish.

2.     Research keywords and phrases.

It’s no use if the website can’t be found – it’s all about proper Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Take the time at the beginning of each job to visit Google Analytics, and discover what keywords and phrases people use to find sites similar to the one you are about to write.

Make sure those metatags are sorted.  It’s true, Google and other search engines don’t put much emphasis on metatags these days, but your page title and description will still show on the search page.

3.     Don’t try to be too clever.

Remember, the reason for being on the World Wide Web is to be found. Using puns and witty sayings may be clever but Google is nowhere near as clever as you, it can only rank a site according to the keywords and phrases you use.

For instance, a beauty therapy site that uses the heading “The Bare Necessities” is less likely to be found than a site that just calls itself what it is, such as, “Waxing” or “Hair Removal”.

4.     Stay focused.

Remember, readers usually want specific information related to the website or page title. Let’s be honest, too many websites waffle rather than get to the point.

Here’s a hint – before you begin, work out how many words you think should be on each page. Then, stick to those word limits.  It’ll mean you constantly hone your words and stay focused on the topic.

 5.     Get your grammar, spelling and punctuation in order.

Write website content. Spell-check website content. Proofread website content.

Poorly written content ruins the integrity of a website. There’s no other way to say it; proofread, proofread… proofread, and then proofread again.

About the author

Greg Knowles recently completed the Web Writing Course at NZ Writers’ College. His blog is about Seventies Music

Photo credit: flickr.com_Global Innovation Game