Developing high quality web content is repeatedly cited as one of the most effective ways to increase website traffic. Here’s how to go about it…
What is your website’s purpose?
While it’s important that your website is aesthetically pleasing, bear in mind that the primary function of a website is as a marketing tool; to convey information. Web design, then, is only one aspect of web development; you should also be investing in good web copywriting. For maximum effect, make your website content architecture the starting point, not an afterthought.
- Plan the architecture around the web content you want to feature on your site, rather than planning the web content around the web architecture.
- Structure web content into web pages, arranged in a clear, logical and user-friendly manner. Organise these web pages according to your target audience’s needs. Visitors need to find the information that they’re looking for quickly and easily, without having to scour your entire website.
- Plan pages around particular SEO keywords (see below). Optimise each page for its identified keyword. Include this keyword in the web page’s name.
Write for your target audience
Web copywriters write for two audiences:
- Website visitors (potential customers) – web content written for human readers must be stylish, flowing and free from grammar and punctuation errors. It should be engaging, informative and entertaining.
- Search engines – web copy also needs to appeal to search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Web copy which is written to appeal to search engines is known as search engine optimised web content. Search engine optimised web copy contains particular SEO keywords and key phrases which people are looking up when they enter a search query into a search engine.
How to structure web copy
People read online pages differently to that of print pages, scanning web pages to pick out the bits of information which are relevant to them. Structuring your web copy to facilitate easy reading is essential.
- Write an attention-grabbing headline – make sure your headline contains your keyword.
- Write an engaging lead – the first paragraph needs to contain a well-crafted hook, which takes the reader from the headline into the body copy. Include your keyword in the lead.
- Write customer-focused body copy – keep your web copy simple and understandable. Make sure that you mention that web page’s keyword 2 or 3 times, but not too many times that you get penalised by search engines for keyword stuffing.
- Break web content into appropriate paragraphs, each paragraph dealing with a different idea and flowing on from the previous paragraph.
- Information presented in bite-sized chunks is better – intersperse paragraphs of full sentences with bullet points and numbered lists.
- Web copy needs to speak directly to the reader, so take care to strike the right tone. Use your web copy to build a rapport with your reader the way you would do if you were talking to him or her in person.
- Include strong calls-to-action in your web copy – phrases like ‘Call me now’ or ‘Click here for a quote’.
- Search engines love fresh content – feed your website new web content on a regular and consistent basis. Content-rich articles (in the region of 1000 words) are good for search engine optimisation.
How does web copy drive traffic?
- Genuinely useful information can result in repeat visits from a website visitor – strongly-written sales copy can help convert website visitors into customers
- Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth publicity – website visitors who’ve found your site useful could recommend your site to others, who also pop in for a visit
- Search engines reward high quality, search engine optimised copy with a higher ranking on the Search Engine Results Page.
- Visitors who come across your website, and enjoy the web content, could reference your website on their website or blog, or even in broadcasts and print media publications – prompting readers or listeners to visit your website.