Not the design.
Not the bells and whistles.
Not the fancy slideshows and graphics.
These are all wonderful, but merely decoration. A great design is very helpful to a successful website, but the key to successfully reaching your website goals lies in one thing and one thing only.
The single most important part of your successful website is your content.
Content development and organization absolutely, positively must be your first step in the website development process.
Your website represents you to the entire world every minute of every hour of every day, and it makes a huge difference in whether people choose to do business with you. People will form an opinion about you based on their impression of your website, so you must make sure your website gives you the competitive advantage to be successful, no matter what the size of your business. The concept of good web content applies to anyone who wants a successful website that does the job it’s meant to do.
Convert prospects into customers.
In order to convert prospects (your website visitors) into customers, you only have to do one simple thing. Put them first. You must understand the website from their perspective, rather than from your own perspective. How do you do that? The hardest part is getting started. The rest is simple. Start with the basics and always keep your website’s visitors in mind, and you’ll do fine. Which leads us to our next point. Before we begin, please establish my Golden Rule of websites very firmly in your mind:
There are no exceptions to this rule.
Google will see your content if you do this, don’t worry. Ok, now that we have cleared that up, we’re ready to begin.
Step 1. Decide who is responsible for developing content for your website project.
Assign the task of content development to an individual or team of people within your organization. Make it very clear exactly who is responsible for what content.
Step 2. Determine how much time you can devote to content development for your website project.
Set up a realistic timeline for delivery of each section of content. Set specific milestones and adhere as closely as you can to your deadlines in order to stay on track for the scheduled launch date of your website.
Your web professional can assist you with the content development process when they provide you with a schedule or timeline as well as provide you with content development guidance, via a page table or the design brief.
Your mission: Communicate > Motivate > Activate
A website is merely a communication tool that’s sole purpose is to communicate a message that will motivate people to take action. It’s your job to make your website communicate your message effectively enough that it will motivate the right people to take the right action. This process has also been described by some experts as Connect > Engage > Convert. Regardless of how you label it, the key to remember here is that you should never forget that you are communicating with real people via your website. People with very little time, and a very short attention span, too!
Effective website content is content that ultimately generates the results that you want and need to get from your website. In order to do that, your content must first be useful and relevant to your website visitors.
There are a few key things that must come into play to get you and your website’s visitors to the “activate” part of the above equation, and it all starts with effective website content.
So, where do you start? There is a good chance that if you have an established business or organization, you already have some of the basic material you will need for your website content, especially if you have put together a business plan or marketing plan. If not, that’s okay – this exercise will be helpful to you in more ways than one! Whether you have a written business plan or not, your first step in this process is to ask and answer some “5W” questions that will help you start to generate the foundation of your website content.
Start with The Five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and an H -How) You should know the answers to the following questions:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Who are your website’s visitors?
- Who needs your product/service the most?
- Who benefits the most from what you offer?
- What’s important to them?
- What do they need from you?
- What do you have to offer to them?
- What makes you valuable to them?
- When do they need your product or service?
- When do they visit your website?
- Where are they coming to your website from?
- Where are they going when they leave?
- Where else are they looking for what they need?
- Why are they looking at your website?
- Why do they leave your website?
- Why should they get what they need from you?
- How long do they take to make a buying/action decision?
- How will you get them to the information they need most?
- How can you get them there faster?
- How do you make it easier for your ideal customer to do business with you?
And, finally – the mack daddy question of them all. The Question of all questions. The question your visitor is asking you every second they spend at your website.
Write down the answers to as many of these questions as you can. If you’re not sure of an answer right away, then do some research and find out what that answer is.
RE combines a passion for great design with the power of my 20+ years of professional career marketing experience and puts it all to work for my clients using the latest digital and web technologies. It’s my goal at RE to create interesting brand experiences that effectively communicate your message and elicit real human interaction with your brand through spectacular design.