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People visit websites because of the content they find there. But on average, visitors spend just 5.6 seconds looking at the site’s written content. That’s not much time to make a strong first impression.

The right content can grab visitors’ attention and get them to act on your message. Writing good website content can be harder than it sounds, but don’t worry. Here are a few website content writing tips to help you get started.

Know your audience

Your website isn’t for everyone. Sure, it’s nice to have lots of visitors. But if the wrong people are visiting your site—even if there are lots of them—you aren’t going to see the kinds of actions you’re looking for. That means your conversions will likely be much lower than you’d like. No amount of fresh new content will fix that, so think about it before you start writing.

Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, consider your audience. What are their struggles and pain points? How can you help fix them? Talk directly to your readers—ideally, to a single reader. If they feel like you understand what they need and can help solve their problem, they’ll be more likely to keep reading and eventually contact you.

Set the right tone

On average, brand consistency increases revenue by 23%. This includes the way you talk. If you want site visitors to trust you and act on your message, speak their language and do it intentionally. It definitely won’t hurt your conversions, either!

This infographic shows how two different websites communicated the same concept to two separate audiences. One used more casual and informal language, while the other was more formal and academic. Neither article was necessarily the “right” approach, because it’s all apples and oranges—they were meant for two very different groups.

Get out your red pen

Spelling and grammatical errors trip up your readers and make it hard to follow along. But if your content is correct, readers don’t have to worry about deciphering what they’re reading. They can just focus on the message. I recommend using a tool like Grammarly to make sure your content is well-spelled and perfectly punctuated.

You should also keep readability level in mind. If you’re talking to a group of academics, they’re more likely to understand ideas that are framed in a more complex way. If you’re talking to the public, on the other hand, keep your phrasing as simple as possible to reach a wider audience. Try the Hemingway App or Gunning Fog Index to check content readability as you go.

Plan the user experience

Did you know that 38% of people will leave a site if they find the content or layout unappealing? Just like the five-second rule for content reading, this makes it tough to get your message across. You can simplify the user experience by breaking out large blocks of text into smaller, more easily digestible chunks. This is especially important for readers on mobile devices.

Be intentional about the way you arrange your site, too. Keep your menus tight, easily navigable, and completely accurate to the content behind them. It should be so easy for users to move around your site and consume content that they don’t even notice they’re doing it.

Call the reader to action

70% of small businesses don’t have a call to action on their website’s home page to tell visitors what to do. That’s a problem because your website exists to accomplish a purpose. For example, you could be selling a product or service, or maybe educating people about a social issue. To achieve that purpose, site visitors need to complete a specific action—and they need to know what the action is.

Use prominent calls to action throughout the site to tell the reader what their next step should be. It could be signing a petition, buying a product, calling or emailing you, leaving a comment … you could even have different calls to action on different pages, depending on the subject (but use just one on each page). Whatever the subject, make sure the reader knows what to do next.

Don’t forget the search engines

You’ve written a great message that’s relevant to your audience and their needs. Now you need to share it. One of the top ways to do that is to draw attention to your site on search engines. Google uses hundreds of criteria to rank sites, but it boils down to authority: if Google thinks you’re an expert (and that other people think so, too), it’ll rank you higher.

Focus on one subject that your website can excel at. Then write your content with that subject in mind. Once you’re known for that subject and people have started to link to you (which Google also loves), you can start expanding out into other focus areas.

Improve and evolve over time

About 51% of business owners consider content management vitally important to creating a buyer journey. You should think that, too. It’s a good idea to revisit and revise content over time to ensure it’s still meeting visitors’ needs. This could be as simple as regularly updating your Services page or as complex as adding new pages that you think your visitors need.

Also, search engines really, really like it when you publish new content on a regular basis. So it’s a good idea to write new blog posts and case studies whenever you can find the time, if those are appropriate for your site.

These are some of the biggest considerations to keep in mind when you’re writing website content. If you’re careful to address each of them, you’ll be on the right path to having a site that works for you—and for the people who do business with you.


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Grace Struth

Grace Struth is the writer at Habit, an Edmonton-based agency that does branding, web design, marketing, environmental design, and video. She has a bachelor’s degree in professional writing, several years of agency experience, and far too many opinions about content.
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