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Would a Goldfish Be Able to Understand Your Website?
We’re just revamping our website and I’m knee-deep in writing new content for our site. And it’s damn hard, believe you me! Other people’s sites: easy. But as the owner of a business you, me and everyone else in that position is forever that little bit too close to the ins and outs of what we do – and emotionally attached to every single word on our website.
So, apart from leaving it to the experts and get a copywriter to work on your web copy, what can you do to ensure you don’t endlessly waffle, obscure and otherwise hinder the success of your site?
Just Ask a Goldfish
With the attention spans of us humans officially approaching that of goldfish (read: very short), you don’t have much time to hold your readers’ interest – let alone get them to take action and contact you. But how do you manage engagement in a crazily short window of perhaps only five seconds (or less) in which that site-visitor makes the decision to either stick around or leave?
Can You Answer These 3 Questions?
There are three crucial questions your website must answer to make visitors take note, linger and explore your site with interest. If you’re able to answer these questions with a resounding “yes!” you’re on to a winner. If you’re still unsure about whether your site fully hits the sweet spot, don’t worry: use this insight as an opportunity to improve and jazz up your website content.
#1. Quick! What Do You Do?
It’s an easy trap to fall into: to try and cover everything you do, might want to do or could do for your clients on the main webpages. By doing so, you risk diluting your message and confuse your readers so much (remember their goldfish brain when it comes to holding attention?) that they just think “too hard!” and wander off.
Some of you might think, “hey, my site is clear!”. I challenge you to take another look and see whether it’s undoubtedly clear what you do, and who for. This is also an opportunity to change content that is aimed at an old target market that you no longer serve, while it neglects speaking to your new, more lucrative prospects.
For me the challenge was to not just say that we “create content”, but that we are a team of writers that works B2B only, and that we work on marketing and business content including books; across all industries and mediums.
#2. Quick! What You Do Offer?
You’ve got their attention, now it’s time to hold it. Is it immediately clear what exactly you offer? Because the challenge in writing your website content is to ensure your attentive reader can dig deeper and find out whether you offer precisely what they need. And you have to make it bleeding obvious how to find that information – you can’t rely on your site-visitor having the patience to rummage through your webpages to get to those gold nuggets.
You can do this with words, but also utilise the visual power of photos; do create infographics and charts for complex ideas. Cover the most important offer information on your home and about us pages. It’s ok to leave the finest details to other pages like your portfolio, case studies, or the product details in your shop. Just make it abundantly clear where that info can be found.
For me this next level meant I had to let our website readers know that ‘content creation’ can mean any or all of these: ideas generation, copywriting, editing, ghost-writing and proofreading. I had to ensure it was clear that we have a team that is hand-picked, innovative and full of native speakers. Our workshops, author coaching and mentoring are finer details of delivery that can go onto one of our services pages.
Oh, and it sounds all so easy now, but you should have seen me sweat through the wording of each little sentence on our new site for hours!
#3. Why Are You for Me?
You talk to your clients every day: what is it that made them work with you in the first place, and keeps them coming back? You might know this or you might want to run a quick survey to find out. Either way, the answers tell you why your customers want to work with you.
Different people want and need different things from the same type of service. You might be a plumber who also does gas fittings, an architect who has a knack for getting tricky development applications (‘DAs’) approved, or a tailor who only creates made-to-measure, bespoke shirts and suits. You need to let your website readers know clearly how and why you are different to propel the browsing visitor into action and contact you.
Our task for our new website was to differentiate ourselves from the classic copywriter who is a lone freelancer with limited time and rarely much business experience. We, in contrast, are a team of people, have run businesses or have been in senior managerial positions, and remove key person risk.
Now try and say that in an engaging way on a website! More sweat, blood and tears ensued.
Happy Goldfish, Happy Business
You don’t need to be a marketing expert to get your most important website messages right. You already know whom you’re trying to attract – you just need to polish your content and ensure your site answers the three most important questions.
If it can do all that, you’re on your way of being if not the biggest, then definitely the most attractive, fish in the pond you and your competitors swim in.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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