As a society, we’re consuming record levels of information online. Google is our go-to when we have a need, a question, an interest. As small business owners, we need to be able to effectively communicate digitally in order to reach potential customers. Quality content is extremely important for today’s small business owners. But, here’s the great thing: with a little thought and planning up front, anyone can create quality content for their website.
1. The Content
It seems obvious; you want to start out by determining what you want to communicate. But, as simple as it is, this is where some of us get hung up. Before you start writing, think about your topic and rough out your key points. For example, let’s say you’re planning to write a blog post about finding the best web designer in your city. Now, what are your key points? Your outline might look something like this:
Best Web Designer in DFW (H1)
Criteria for Ranking the Best Web Designers (H2)
– Supporting content (H3)
– More supporting content (H4)
Places to Find & Hire a Web Design Company (H2)
– Supporting content (H3)
– More supporting content (H4)
As you conclude, you’ll want to keep your overall intent in mind. Were you looking to simply inform your audience? To entertain them? To persuade people to shop local? Keep your intent in mind as you close out your piece. You’d like your audience to walk away with what you intend in mind.
2. Building Your Audience: Trust and Authority
In addition to having a world of information at our fingertips, there is, sadly, also a lot of misinformation and fake news on the internet. You’re going to want to stand out from all that. As a writer, it is your responsibility, and it is a necessity, to establish authority and gain the trust of your audience. One way to start is to establish you’re legitimacy. Make sure your brand logo and/or author bio is easy for a reader to find quickly. With blogs it is common to have a lower section, separate from the body of the blog, outlining the author and his or her relevant interests. Positive reviews from clients help build trust and authority on websites. Citing reputable sources supporting your content and claims will further foster trust; adding hyperlinks to external sources will help, too.
3. Relating To Your Audience: I Get You
You want to keep your audience in mind as you write and this goes beyond earning their trust. Speak their language. Match their collective personality. Revisiting our web designer example, chances are your audience is going to be mostly comprised of people wanting to market their business online. Write to that audience – in tone, in vernacular, in the acronyms used, etc. It is safe to assume the reader has a basic level of knowledge about web design. Being too simplistic might turn off a portion of your audience.
Appreciate the fact that your audience has chosen to read what you have to say. Don’t disappoint them. Deliver on what you promised in your introduction. In our example, this means listing out the best web designers you’ve found. Make certain your information is up-to-date. When it comes to website content, this means staying on top of what you have out there. Outdated information, discontinued products or wrong information is only going to disappoint your reader (and damage their trust).
4. SEO: Make It Count
Driving people to your website and your business is what this is all about. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, involves implementing strategies that enable your webpages to come up early and frequently in search engine results. Google, by far the largest internet search engine in use today, uses advanced algorithms to rank and return relevant search results. The algorithms are pretty complicated and ever-changing. In fact, there are firms like ours, Local Leap Marketing, that dedicate large portions of their work solely to search engine optimization. And yet, there are some basic SEO concepts that can make a real difference for any content writer.
- Pay Attention to Keywords – Start with your topic. First, is it unique, or will you be competing with many other writers? What are the primary keywords within your topic? What might someone search for online in an attempt to find the information you are putting out there? In our example, keywords would be: “Best Web Designer in DFW” Keywords should be incorporated into your metadata, which are coding elements the search engines utilize heavily. The meta title is arguably the most important element to SEO and it should contain not only your keywords, but also your branding/name, where possible. Be sure to also include your keywords in your meta description, the short, but crucial explanation of your page’s content, which Google will display in search results. Find tips on writing your meta description here.
- Internal Links – Google smiles on internal links. Does your blog post refer to a service your provide? Link to your website page featuring this service offering. Have you blogged about a part of your overall topic before? Link to that blog post. Within your website, link to relevant other pages within your site. Above and beyond SEO, this will help your webpage visitor get around your site.
- Images – Images used in website content and blogs should provide a snapshot of the topic covered within the copy. The images should be of good quality and should not be stretched or otherwise deformed. The images should have titles and descriptions. They should include alt text. What the heck is “alt text” you ask? Well, it is short for “alternative text” and it’s a written description of an image. The text is used by visually impaired individuals using screen readers. This is also the text that will display when an image cannot be loaded. And, for SEO, these descriptions enable search engine crawlers to better index. Choosing the right image and corresponding alt text will also give you one more chance to highlight your keyword and draw your reader in. (A quick Google search should enable you to determine how to insert alt text within your specific publishing platform.)
- Don’t Go Dormant – Your followers will appreciate new, fresh content. Google will, too. Making regular updates to your website and posting regularly to your blog will positively impact your search engine optimization efforts. We’re certainly not suggesting you push out senseless or redundant articles. Sticking to a regular cadence you can reasonably maintain of quality, interesting blog posts will keep you relevant with your audience and drive traffic to your website. Updating your site with emerging trends, research and product offerings relevant to your business will bear SEO fruit.
- Maybe Not Too Short and Sweet – You may be someone who believes saying it with as few words as possible is the way to go. But this isn’t really the case in SEO. Google can analyze data pretty well, but it is still going to see a lot of information contained on a page as more than the competitor’s similar topical page, even if the competitor’s is a bit full of fluff. Be precise, yes, but also be generous in your writing.
Bottom line, don’t let the SEO stuff psych you out. Start writing. Once you’ve got something together, read back through with key SEO points in mind.
5. Ready, Set, Write
Utilizing some basic writing tips, keeping the audience in mind and writing with a basic understanding of SEO will help with creating quality content. With this knowledge we can remain relevant, providing regular, meaningful updates to our website. What do you have to say? What do you want to share? Who are you attempting to reach? Get to writing or give us a call if you need help with your website content!