I assume you’ve already registered your business name, bought a domain name and selected a web hosting provider. Good job! You can now sit back, relax and sip your margaritas in peace as the hardest part is over.
Except it isn’t.
Before you buy a plane ticket to one of the tropical paradise destinations, let’s build you a website first.
I won’t lie though: Whether you do it all alone or hire a web designer and copywriter to assist you, one thing’s for sure – it will be hard work.
But nothing compared to getting six pack abs! That’s much harder. And you can get it done in less time than preparing for the London marathon. So what are you waiting for?
You just need to know what you actually want to say on your website. And that’s it!
So c’mon, get a piece of paper and… And stop staring at it looking for words.
Web page content writing: The secret revealed
Writing your own webpage content can sound thrilling, if writing and talking in general comes to you easily. For many people sitting before a blank page or screen with the expectation to produce something meaningful can feel d-r-e-a-d-f-u-l.
But it shouldn’t be.
And the easiest way is to simply >> not start << with a blank page.
There are a lot of things that you know already that can help you write your website copy. So the best is to start there. Collecting all this information and having them in front of you will ensure that
- what you write remains consistent and
- aligned with your goals.
So grab that pen and piece of paper or if you prefer, I’ve created a mini guide with a fill-in the blank template. You can use it to jot down your own ideas and notes as I walk you through the steps.
How to use the Website Content Planning template?
Your website is like an airport. There’ll be always people who are there for the first time looking at everything in awe. Others are seasoned travelers and know their way around already.
They all arrive from various locations and by different means. And have distinct plans and certain expectations. The airport has its own business agenda as well of course.
As it’s easier to make a point based on a real life example, I’m going to use my own business homepage as a guide here.
Remaining at our metaphor let’s analyze where people come from to this website.
#1 Arrivals to your website
There are zillions of websites out there already and many new ones created by the minute. So how do visitors find this page?
a) ARRA design studio, my graphic and web design business has a
- business Facebook page,
- an Instagram and
- a Pinterest account
under the handle @stellarradiant all linking back to my website homepage. By posting there regularly I’m driving traffic back to my site.
b) But I don’t stop just there: I list my business website address also on my personal Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. This way my genuine friends and family members have an easy way to recommend my services to their friends.
Doubling your chances to get found online never hurts!
c) When searching for certain key phrases on Google/Yahoo etc. my website is among the search engine result pages (SERPs). This is another entry point.
d) Personal recommendations from past clients are also a valued incoming path as well.
Now look at your own business.
Think about all the ways your clients can find your homepage and add it to the website content planner. Depending on your own business you could have placed ads in the local/regional newspapers to increase awareness around your business venture and to get visitors to your website.
You can add incoming entry points to your list that are not yet established but you plan using them in near future. Just don’t forget to implement these new channels!
For example though I state on my LinkedIn profile page that I’m the graphic and web designer behind ARRA design studio, I didn’t start posting and advertising my business on LinkedIn. This referral source could be something though for the future to look at.
#2 Website and Business goals
Every airport – and any business – has at least one common goal: to make money. I am no exception. And that’s fine and expected.
But how do you get there? What needs to happen so that it brings in a more or less steady income?
When people stumble upon your website the first time they rarely would book your services immediately. Unless you were highly recommended by someone they trust. They will instead look around and stalk you for a while to see if you are worth their time and money.
So my business goals include (in the hopes of making money):
- informing visitors who I am and what I do;
- building trust that I can help with their graphic and web design needs and projects;
- encouraging them to contact me.
Now think about your own business and note down your main goals in the web page content planner. It may be similar or different from the above mentioned ones:
- You may want to drive visitors towards your blog as your primary goal is educative in nature.
- You could be busy building an email list and your goal is to get them to subscribe to your newsletter.
- Or perhaps you want them to get up from their laptop screens and visit your brick-and-mortar beauty salon in person.
#3 Visitors’ key tasks
As you’ve seen in the first point under Arrivals from, visitors have many potential entry points and expectations.
- She googled for a pain point she has and my business’ website was among the results.
- He was browsing through Instagram and found my feed intriguing and hopped over to check out my website.
And like travelers at the airport who need to accomplish certain tasks before they can board their planes: my website visitors have their own mission when landing on my website. And before they would even consider hiring me.
a) They want to know what the website / the business is about, if it’s worth for them to spend more time here.
The best is to set the expectations clear from the start. My business is the best solution for a certain group of clients. Adding a message right at the beginning that identifies them as the target audience who can benefit most from my services helps building a relationship.
b) Based on that they may stay to look around and scroll further. So for the next sections on the homepage I’ve added two of my strategic business goals.
If there are too many call to actions competing for the visitor’s attention, they may not click on any of them. I’ve decided to target the most important outcome that I want to achieve.
My ideal client visitors would want to
- review my services and if hooked on my offers to
- get in contact with me.
Think about your business and circumstances. What would be the expected key tasks that a visitor wanted to perform when browsing through your homepage?
Collect all valid points from a first-time visitors perspective. Then try to put yourself in the shoes of returning visitors and amend your notes.
#4 Journey to other web pages
They came, they looked.
Where will their journey lead them next? That is: What desirable destinations do you offer? Hopefully you haven’t scared them away from
flying buying for life.
All pages of your website should be in line with the defined business goal(s). So write down in your website content planner worksheet what forward paths do you offer from this page.
One of my main goals is to guide visitors towards the detailed services pages so the first navigation link in the main nav bar is Services.
The remaining links – like About, Portfolio, Blog – are there to provide extra information about me, the studio, my creative projects. And to build trust.
Visitors should be able to reach me easily, so Contact is a crucial navigation menu link accessible from any page right on the top. And it appears also in the footer menu!
Apart from the obvious menu bar, visitors scrolling through the homepage will find a section promoting the offered services and prompting them to look into them deeper. And there’s a call-to-action area motivating them to start a conversation.
A lot of people like to scroll to the bottom of a website right away:
- to see how long the page is and
- how much time it would take to scan through all the information.
For me, websites with infinite scroll are a no go. A good website design in my view has a clear structure with a well defined top and bottom section framing the rest of the content. If I cannot reach a website footer after a reasonable amount of scrolls, I leave it forever.
My footer section repeats in a very condensed form what my business is about.
It comes in handy in case that’s the first time someone actually reads about my business. This helps again with clarifying who my target audience is. And the footer navigation menu promotes my services, contact information and the required legal pages.
#5 Body copy and visual design of the web page
Based on all the before mentioned points you should have streamlined what exactly your Homepage should contain to be in line with your overall business goal(s) and your visitors’ expectations.
The next step is to outline the sections and to plan the placement and topic/theme of the visual elements that can enforce your message. The quickest way is to draw it on paper.
Create as many versions as necessary until you are satisfied with the results. You can use your list that you created when looking at competitors and inspirational websites. Plan elements and sections that you yourself found captivating and that could work for your business, too.
Don’t go overboard while planning your images. If you add visuals always think about your business goal(s) and if they contribute to achieving them. If not, they are useless decoration and better to get rid of them. Remember: website speed is a crucial factor in gaining or losing visitors.
Once you are happy with your outline, get to work and start writing your copy.
You’ve successfully planned and written all your web page copy!
Now you can start looking for the best WordPress theme that has all the features that your website needs.