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How to Write Compelling Web Site Content That Gets Read

Nov 14, 2007
Figuring out what to say on your Web site can be a challenge. For many business owners, talking about themselves is difficult. However, coming up with good Web content is easy if you keep your customer and the search engines in mind. Whether you write the text for the Web site yourself or hand off notes to a writer, you need to think about who will visit your site and how they get there.

As an exercise, write down the three types of people most likely to visit your site. Include their age, gender, occupation, and anything else you can think of relating to their needs, desires, likes, dislikes and so forth. For example, suppose you own a dental clinic. Maybe you offer relaxing music and specialize in trying to make the dental experience less traumatic for those who hate the dreaded drill. Visualize your best customer and then write the text as if you were talking to him in person.

If you write your text as if you are talking to one individual person (i.e. your ideal customer), the verbiage will naturally focus on the customer's needs and interests. Always use the second person (you) on your Web site. Your visitor doesn't care about your company; he cares about himself. Avoid talking about your company and the various features of your widget. Instead talk about what your products and services can do for the customer. For example, don't talk about the specifics of the high-end dental drill you just bought. Talk about how when a client visits your office, he can enjoy better health and look better without experiencing any fear or pain.

When people are searching for anything online, they are always asking "what's in it for me" (WIIFM), so your copy needs to focus on their needs. Links are another way you can engage people. For example, instead of standard link that says "Widget Installation Video," add some action with a verb, such as "Watch a 5-minute video that shows how easy it is to install your new Widget."

When writing your text, you also should consider how people might search for your company online. When someone goes to Google, what string of words might he or she type into the search box? For example, if you are a new resident of Tikaville, Idaho looking for a dentist, you might type in: Tikaville Idaho dentist. In your Web copy, you should include those search terms. Search engines also place special emphasis on headings and the title of the page, so you should include potential search phrases in those key areas.

In the end, however, you should not write your page for the search engines. Write your text for human beings, since they are the ones who will decide to use your products and services (or not). When you write clear, compelling text that explains what your business can do for customers, it's almost always good content for search engines as well. Keep your sentences short and break up text with lots of headlines, and you'll be rewarded with a Web site that nets you both compliments and more business.
About the Author
Susan Daffron is the President of Logical Expressions, Inc. (http://www.logicalexpressions.com) and the author of books on pets, web business, computing, and vegetarian cooking. Visit http://www.publishize.com to receive a complimentary Publishize podcast or newsletter and bonus report."
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