Congratulations! You’re about to update your website or create one for the first time. If you want all your efforts, money, and resolve to disappear fast, do this:
- Assign a committee to write the content. Nothing good ever gets written by committee. Committee members contradict each other; they argue over every comma; or even worse, they don’t care about commas, so that your grammar, spelling, and emphasis changes from page to page.
- Let your website designer write the website content. Designers are excited by design projects; most designers aren’t excited by writing. Give them a brochure, they’ll plug in the brochure. That isn’t a website. That’s paper copy masquerading as content.
- Decide that your website is going to pull in customers you never had before for services you never performed before. A website alone cannot transform your business. The content has to speak to your audience, acknowledge their pain, and provide solutions that you believe in.
- Mimic the competition. As with any marketing materials, your website content needs to differentiate you. I’ll never forget the local New Hampshire company that posted photos on its website of New York-style skyscrapers, something with which New Hampshire is woefully under-supplied. I’ll never forget them because I would never trust them. If they want my local business, they have to be honest about being local–differentiation is a selling point.
- Say too much. If you pack that first website page with one endless rush of words, your audience will run. At the very least, provide headlines, bullets, and graphics to break up the text. Modern website content tends to be sparse, not overwhelming, but sparse content is difficult to write. It is easy to be verbose.
- Refuse help. You may benefit from an objective opinion on your choice of photos. You may believe you are writing clearly when, in fact, you know the subject so well that you are leaving out critical information. You may miss spelling or grammatical or linkage errors because you expect them to be correct. You don’t need a website review committee (see item 1) but you do need at least one reviewer.
- Talk to your customers. I’m not advocating talking down to customers. But refusing to answer basic questions (because “everyone knows that” and “no one ever asks that”); turning your website content into a vocabulary test; or writing with lots of acronyms and jargon will all guarantee that you lose your audience. If everyone knows as much as you know, why do they need you?
- Keep putting it off. You need to finish writing. The nicest quality about websites is that they can be updated. Content Management Systems are easy to learn and give you the chance to tweak your website over time. But marketing material can’t work until you send it out. Send out the website.
When you need help to start that website, create the content, review it, or finish it, contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. It’s what we do.