Website content grows and develops over time, but at minimum you should state…
- who you are
- what you do
- who you help
- why you’re best placed to do the work
- and how to contact you.
This seems like obvious advice but it’s surprising how many websites are vague about what services the business offers.
You know your business better than anyone else.
If you employ someone to write the content for your website, they’ll have to learn about your business, your customers, and your staff. If you already have brochures, sales letters, or any other marketing materials, the person writing your content will have a head start, but they’ll still need to learn from you and your staff about your business, your service and your customers.
Maybe you’ve already set up a Google my Business page, if so you’ll already have most of your basic business information.
Your customer’s opinion counts
Your content writer needs to talk to your customers too, because to sell anything, you need to know what the buyer wants and how the buyer chooses their service provider.
Important points to consider when writing content
To avoid overwhelm and get started fast, build a minimum viable website.
Gill Andrews on-line guides teach you what content you need to build a minimum viable website.
Build the rest of your site slowly adding pages when you have the time or you have a reason to include a new page.
If you want to write great website content, these three books will help you. Making Your Website Work (by Gill Andrews). Finding the Right Message (by Jennifer Havice) and Content Fortress (by Martin Huntbach and Lyndsay Cambridge). See the links at the bottom of this page.
What you’ll learn from those three books. Making your website work is a list of 100 short tips ranging from how to write a clear tagline to why you should not include pop ups and sliders on your site. Finding the right message explains the importance of really understanding your customer’s mindset, what your customer wants and what vocabulary she uses in her search phrases. Content fortress is a practical guide to the specific content you need to write to repel bad fit clients and to attract good fit clients.
You’ll also need Yoast SEO plugin, but don’t over optimize your pages. Always write for your customers, not for Google.
Start with a minimum viable website
Getting a website built is complicated and building your own website can be overwhelming. I recommend you start small, build a basic website, then build and improve upon that website over time.
What is a minimum viable website?
It’s a website that tells your customers who you are, what you do, who you help, and how to contact you. Websites are not like printed materials; you can easily change the text and images on your website. So, start with the basics but make improvements and add new pages when needed.
Your blueprint for a minimum viable website.
First decide what pages you need and how you can name those pages in your navigation bar, because the way you name the pages helps customers not only navigate your website, it also helps them understand what type of business you are.
This is an example of a clear navigation bar…
- Roof Repair.
Now, a customer who needs roof repairs knows they’re in the right place.
If you offer too many services to fit in the navigation bar, use a single link in your navbar pointing to a page that lists all of your services. The important point is to make it clear what type of services you offer so the reader knows they’re in the right place.
Once you’ve named your pages, it’s time to write them. I recommend you write the homepage last, because your homepage will contain snippets of content from the other pages on your site. For instance, you might have a section on your homepage that states what services you offer. That section could link to the page or pages where you describe your services in more detail.
On your about page explain how your skills, experience, training, and mindset make you the best placed business to do the work.
Only put personal information on your about page if it helps the customer choose you. For instance, you might say “your mother’s business failed because she made simple cash flow and accounting mistakes”. You then explain how this got you interested in how money works, and you decided to keep your own books accurately.
Your customers may find this information useful if you’re an accountant, but if you’re a plumber or a gardener, this information might seem irrelevant.
Your about page explains why the customer should choose you to do the work.
Your contact page needs your basic contact details. The more contact options you include and the clearer you present those options; the more likely people will contact you. Some customers prefer a web form, some like email or the phone. If you provide your phone number, say what time you’re open for business and what time It’s OK to phone you and when they’ll get a recorded message.
Your customer wants to know what happens after she contacts you.
She’ll need to know…
- How long will it be before she receives a reply?
- Do you do a home visit to measure up?
- Do you need a discovery meeting to find out about your customer’s business?
- Is your quote free?
You don’t need to include every detail about your business in your first website. But as your site grows explain how you and your customers work together. Tell them how the process works and what to expect.
If you really want to understand how to write good content you can read a much more comprehensive tutorial I wrote about writing website content for small service businesses.
These four books will also help you research and write content for your website.
- Making your Website Work by Gill Andrews.
- Content Fortress by Martin Huntbach & Lyndsay Cambridge.
- Finding The Right Message by Jennifer Havice.
- They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.
The image at the top of this post comes from Unsplash.