Working on a new website? Awesome! How’s that content coming? Not so good? Read on, friend.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that content is the most important part of your website. Yes — the. most. important.
Your site could have the most amazing design, be blazing fast and so easy to use I could navigate it in my sleep, but if there’s no content, why am I even there? If you’re not saying anything, I don’t have any reason to visit.
I know, I know. You’re not a writer. You’re a <fill in the blank with something that’s not writer>.
No worries. There are lots of ways to generate content for your website.
Pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)
First do a bit of brainstorming and think about everything you want to say (or might want to say).
- What is the must-have information on your site? Things like who you are, what you do, why you do it, where you do it, how you help people and how people can get in touch with you
- Think about everything you wish people knew about you, your business or your industry
- Then think about the questions people have and what you get asked again and again
- Looking for additional ideas? Try these
Write this in outline form or try free writing.
Free writing is a technique where you sit down and just write. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar or even flow — just get all of the content out there. Free writing works best if you take a break after, then come back to edit, polish and refine.
I follow this process for writing blog posts (yes, even the one you’re reading right now).
- One day, I pick a topic and sit and write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes this includes an outline or full paragraphs. Other times I’ll do research and add links in. Anything goes here.
- Then I walk away. I take a break for a day or even a few.
- After that, I come back and craft what’s there into something useable. I edit, scrap sections and add new. I reword, revise and clarify. I polish and refine. Because I have something to work with, it’s easier than trying to do everything in one day.
I didn’t always follow this process, but through trial and error I’ve found that it works pretty well for me. It has increased my success (and decreased my frustration) with blog posts, but also so has practice. The more writing I do, the better I get.
Try different techniques and go through the trial and error process yourself to find what works best for you.
Talk it out
If you’re having trouble writing, break out your phone. Fire up talk to text, voice memos or even a video and start talking.
Talk about you and your business. Why did you start? What do people need to know? Say anything that comes to mind. And keep talking!
Take several audio or video notes over a few days, then take a break for a few days.
After that, sit down, listen and write it out. Alternatively, you can use a service like rev.com for transcription.
Go through the same process as above — edit, refine and polish.
(Recording video now also has the added bonus of being great practice for creating video content in the future! Check out the top three reasons why your website needs videos. )
Ask friends and customers
Sometimes the best words are the ones that other people write.
How would a friend or customer describe you and your business? Create a quick survey with Typeform, Google Forms or SurveyMonkey and share it.
Reviews are a great place to get content, too. Happy customers say really nice things, especially in ways you wouldn’t expect.
Take what other people have said as a starting point and craft your content from there.
Remember, writing and editing takes time.
It’s also not something that comes naturally to everyone — like anything, you will probably need practice. But as a business owner, you know that being in business requires you to wear multiple hats.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The beautiful thing about the digital world is that anything can be changed. Get something out there and when you find that you want to update/add/remove it, it’s easy to do. Sometimes it’s easier to get something out there and polish it later than it is to have everything perfect from the start.
Lastly, don’t forget to get feedback. It may be easier for someone else to spot that confusing sentence or see what you’re missing.
Hire a copywriter
Although I believe that the passion for your business comes through when the voice is uniquely yours, sometimes it’s just too hard to write your own content. You’re too close to the process.
If this is the case, hire a copywriter. Get a referral, read some of their samples and have a conversation about what you’re looking for. You’ll want them to not only accurately describe your products and services, but capture your tone of voice and style.
They may also be able to help you with SEO, but if you’re just starting out, I wouldn’t worry about this just yet.
If you’re satisfied, consider working with them in the future, too. They may be able to help you keep your content fresh and generate new content (think blog posts and newsletters).
You got this
I hope you find the above tips useful when creating content for your website. As always, if you need help or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.