After you’ve accepted your quote, the very first thing we need is some content or material to use on your website. We can make magic happen, but not without some ingredients to work with! Feeling stuck/worried about getting it wrong? Let’s break through that procrastination before 3 months disappears in a blur with no momentum on your project.
First, let me put your mind at ease…
The number one important thing to remember when writing up your website content is that it is NOT PERMANENT. Your website is the living, breathing online representation of your business that can (and should) grow and evolve as your business does.
It’s my favourite part of online marketing over print – if you miss a typo or get something wrong, you can always change it. No need to issue retractions or worrying over typos costing thousands in reprinting!
So, when you’re working through these steps, remember not to get too hung up on getting it perfect! (You’re not a copywriter, thats why you hired us!) Rest easy knowing that we will proof-read your content and make minor re-phrasing suggestions as required. And, as I mentioned above; nothing is permanent!!
Step one: Plan your website
Frankly it’s no wonder you are feeling lost about where to start. We can make whatever type of website you want, limited only by your imagination (and budget of course) and that kind of creative freedom can feel really be tough! So first things first. Nut out what your customers need to know about your business and what you would like to highlight/promote, then lay it all out in a birds eye view in a sitemap. Write down what pages you need, with a brief sentence describing the goal of that page. Open up a word processor and create a single page like the example below. Remember that we can always add/remove pages later on!
Here’s some basic pages that every business website needs (except a blog if you’d rather not have one).
Step two: Write your (starting) copy
Copywriting is a tricky beast if you are not familiar with it, and explaining it all now far exceeds the scope of this post. But there are a few simple things you can keep in mind that will always improve readability for your customers (and thus, your website performance!)
- Avoid talking too much about yourself – save that for the about us page! This might seem crazy since its a website about your business, but your customers generally don’t care how long you’ve been in business, how many awards you’ve won or how big your office is. They care about how you can help them and will read every page of your site through the lens of ‘whats in it for me?’ So always weave benefits to your customers throughout all of your copy.
- As much as possible, use their language. If you are selling business-to-business (B2B) then industry jargon might be OK. But if you are selling business-to-consumer (B2C), then reign in the lingo.
- Keep it simple and straight to the point. Assume that every visitor to your website dropped out of school at year 10 and has the attention span of a 4 year old. Because in our fast paced world overrun with information, most people will skim-read the headlines for the information they want. If your copy is too wordy, has large chunks of text or running sentences they will get bored and leave: even if what you are writing is exactly what they want. For most pages (except detailed ‘how to’ blog posts, 300-800 words per page is a good starting guide.
Step 3: Visual Assets
Lastly, its the photos/video/audio or other content like downloadable PDFs etc.
These are usually the first thing a visitor notices on your website, so making the extra effort to get high-quality photos/video footage is a valuable asset. If you don’t have the budget to get a professional in right now; thats fine! You can get some really great images with your smart phone. We will be interviewing a photographer soon with her best tips for amazing DIY photos!
Other types of visual assets include content boxes/counters, pricing tables etc – which we will use to present your information in the best light possible, but you don’t need to worry about those.
A note on stock images/photos/video: Stock images (eg from istockphoto, pixabay etc) can be a good way to brighten up a wordy page. As needed, we will seek out images that match your brand. However, the best way to really help customers connect with your business is to take real photos from your own business. If your website is just full of random smiling models or beautiful landscapes; your customers might wonder if your business is actually real!
A note on images from Google: Don’t. Just don’t. When you send images to us, we are going to assume that they are your own creation or you have explicit written consent from the original author to use them on your website. Please don’t send us photos from a google image search; first they usually look terrible, and secondly (more importantly) you are opening yourself up to legal action for copyright infringement.
Annnddd thats a wrap!
Thats it! We have everything we need to get your website project off the ground. Again, remember that this is just a draft/starting point, so if after we have uploaded your copy or visual assets to a page and you change your mind – thats fine. We can always change it because nothing on your website is permanent!