Your company website is more than just an online placeholder, a way for search engine users to find your phone number or mailing address. It’s really nothing less than your virtual storefront, and it establishes the first impression that most customers and potential customers will have of your brand. A brick and mortar store would never allow its storefront to become run-down, dilapidated, or anything less than welcoming—and neither should you allow your website to fall into disrepair.
There are plenty of ways to spruce up your website, like adding videos, installing social sharing buttons, or even revamping the very layout of the site. More than anything, though, you need to worry about your written content. That content is what search engines use to determine your site’s rankings and online visibility. More importantly, though, good content can educate and empower your prospects to become faithful, long-term customers.
Your Web content may not be performing at optimal levels right now—but there are some quick diagnostics you can run to get it up to speed.
Is your Web content too short?
While there is no magic word count you need to hit in order to achieve effective Web content, your written words do need to offer something of substance. Far too many small businesses settle for a sentence or two, denoting the industry and perhaps some basic contact information but leaving it at that. If that’s all you’re doing, though, you’re not doing much to differentiate your brand from your competitors—and you’re also not giving potential customers much reason to do business with you. But more on that in a minute…
Is your Web content too long?
With the above said, it’s important to have a realistic expectation of online attention spans. Someone who is researching businesses and products probably wants some basic insights, but not an entire book. Ask yourself honestly: If you were a consumer, doing research from your smart phone or tablet, would you have the patience to read your entire website?
Is your Web content educational?
In terms of what makes Web content substantive and enticing, consider that promotion alone is not enough. Nobody wants to visit a website and feel like they are simply being advertised to. Instead, they want to be educated. What do you do? What benefits does your company offer? How do your products/processes/services work? What can people expect when they sign on the dotted line to become your client? Why should they choose you over another company? Again, you don’t want to inundate them with information, but you do want to catch their attention with something meaningful and distinctive.
Is your Web content personal?
It’s important to have Web copy that’s professional—that much needs to be said clearly and firmly. Your company website is not your blog and it’s not really a place to talk about your family, your politics, your hobbies, or whatever else. With that said, consumers don’t like to do business with faceless corporations; they like to do business with people. A company history, CEO bio, or lineup of staff profiles (as we have on the Grammar Chic website) can go a long way toward humanizing your brand.
Is the content easy to digest?
Do you have huge chunks of text on your site, so long and wordy they look like they were torn from the pages of a Russian novel? If so, think about how likely—or rather, unlikely—it is that anyone is really going to sit and read them, especially when they’re on the go and just want quick answers. Tone things down and liven things up with bullet points, sub-section headings, and numbered lists, as appropriate.
Writing good Web copy is not a science, by the way, and there’s no magic formula to it. There are definitely some “best practices,” though—and answering these diagnostic questions can set you on the right path.
The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.