By Simon Wright
The Internet has revolutionized the way consumers interact with companies and, with the growth of smartphones, consumers now often have Internet capability 24 hours per day. There’s no longer any question of whether companies should have a Web presence, but a lot of thought must go into what you wish your site to achieve. Here’s a quick summary of some of the essentials:
Before starting on the content, you must know why you want a website, what you want it to achieve and what your budget is. You’ll also need to decide whether to do the work in-house or outsource it. Your goal should be to create online customer journeys that feel effortless. That’s no easy task but can be achieved provided you put usability at the heart of your design.
You need to be aware that Web content is read totally differently from offline communications. Therefore, it’s more complicated than just lifting and shifting content from leaflets. Online customers are also very skeptical about company claims and hate “marketese” content. You need to show them why your product is worthwhile rather than just telling them that it is.
There are pros and cons to writing your own content or outsourcing. The decision may ultimately depend on how confident you are with your ability to write effective content and the time you’ll have available for this task.
Writing Your Own Content
If you do decide to write the content, then you need to be aware of certain pages that users will expect, including a home page, product pages, Contact Us, About Us and Help pages.
It’s not enough to create great content. You also need to ensure your audience knows about the site. That’s where search engine optimization comes in. SEO is about more than just creating relevant content and you may wish to hire a search engine optimizer to co-ordinate the SEO activity.
Website Content Templates
Templates make it easier for writers to achieve consistency across a site and it can also enable multiple writers to work on content without ending up with inconsistent tone.
Typically, a site will contain several page templates to reflect different content sections, and it may also be possible to customize the template. However, you must always be aware not to veer too far from the template structure to avoid ending up with a lack of consistency.
Hiring a Copywriter
If you decide to hire a copywriter, then you need to ensure that you have given good thought to what you want from your website and that you articulate your needs into a brief. The copywriter needs to know who your target audience is, what your objectives are, plus a range of other information including deadlines and budget.
Whether you produce your own content or hire a copywriter, the task doesn’t end once the website is live. You should continuously look for opportunities for feedback and ways in which you can improve your content.
About the Author
Simon Wright works as mobile delivery manager for Royal Bank of Scotland and has extensive experience across ecommerce and mcommerce including the launch and promotion of websites.