5 Questions To Help You Write Effective, Engaging, Content
One of the biggest problems I come across regularly with websites I work on is unoptimized, or just straight up awful homepage content. It seems to be a common source of aggravation for business owners. They know everything there is to know about what they do, but when it comes to writing it down and explaining it to potential customers, they completely draw a blank. I would say they actually misfire more often than not.
I’m not going to suggest that writing content is easy. In fact, your site will likely go through many revisions as you determine what resonates with your target market, but there is more a method to writing homepage content than you might think. Below are 5 questions I always ask myself to determine what I should write for the homepage, and how I should write it:
- What are your target audience’s pain points? Do you address them?
This is the kind of content I see on a regular basis: We are an Austin based, family owned company, providing blah blah blah service to the Austin area. Call today. Two to three paragraphs of homepage content and this is just about all the reader learns about the company. Marketing 101 is knowing your audience and how to appeal to them. So ask yourself what does my target customer need, and then answer that question. Ask yourself, what are my customer’s must-haves in order to make them comfortable with my services, and answer that question too. If you answer about 2-3 of these pain-point questions, your content will shape up in no time
- If you read this content as a customer, would you trust this company?
There are other things on a website that build trust, such as testimonials, awards, Yelp star ratings, etc. That’s all well and good but consider what kinds of things your content can also do to drive this point home. If your content is riddled with errors, irrelevant information, run-on sentences, or even just sounds too salesy, would you trust it? Would you trust your own company? If the answer is no, then it’s time for a rewrite. Try sounding conversational, casual, but knowledgeable. Ask yourself what would I need to read in order to trust this company, and how can I establish myself as the answer to their problems? See point #1 to expand on this, as these two will likely help you write the first paragraph of content.
- Do you explain what exactly you do?
Don’t assume that people already know, even if your business provides a common service. This is for Google as much as it is for the client. Let people (and Google) know what you do, why you do it, how you do it, and how you’re different from others who do it.
- Do you mention where you are located?
Once or twice is good enough, but Google, as well as your customers want to know where your service area is. For Google’s sake, just mention the city and maybe the state. For your customers, you may want to add a reason why they should care about your location. If you are a local business, then you know the local market and can service customers in your area. Let them know that!
- Do you break up the content to make it easy to read at-a-glance?
Last point here, despite all this effort we’re putting into our content in points 1-4, at the end of the day, let’s face it, most people are not going to read all the content. They’re going to skim it. Breaking up your content into easily-digested chunks that get the point across to readers quickly, will help improve the rate at which they convert. Things like bullet-pointing your services (and then linking those bullets to that service’s webpage), breaking up your content into paragraphs, and bolding or highlighting the most important information, can help you control what your readers prioritize when on your homepage. Ask yourself, if my site visitor is only going to see 3 things on my homepage before leaving, what do I most want them to see? What do I want them to see first? This might give you an indication of what you should bold, or display in bullets.
Now none of this takes your branding into consideration. So you may also want to ask yourself, who am I? But that’s a whole other blog article . . .