How to Create Content for a Website
Producing content that is both informative and engaging is often considered a craft by those who find writing difficult. Online, billions of content pages are produced yearly in an effort to lure surfers to a particular product or service. However, of the millions of websites visited, only a few use their content as their most powerful employee - working for them all day, every day. If you are interested in learning how to create content for a website, surf no further.
Analyze Your Target Audience
The first step in "How to Create Content for a Website" is to identify your target audience. This is something you should not have to guess - if you own a site that sells fishing rods, more than likely your visitors enjoy fishing, or they know someone who does. The more you know about who is going to read your website content, the easier it is to tailor the content to their individual styles.
In general, asking questions like the following, is a great start:
- What is the skill level of the reader (novice, advanced, expert, general interest, etc.)?
- What is the background of the reader (experienced, no experience, etc)?
- What is the proper reading style for what I am trying to present? For example, tutorials with bullets are great for do-it-yourselfers, but scientific types may prefer more detailed discussions.
- What is the general age range of your readers?
Now, to create content for a website, you simply need to choose a topic, and speak directly to the audience you just identified. If you are unsure about things such as the background of your reader, it may work wonders for you to present several pieces of similar content with more or less detail tailored to the audiences you have identified. This not only increases the amount of content on your website (something search engines love), but it also allows you to speak the language of your site visitors - whether experienced or novice.
For example, this tutorial was originally written for a do-it-yourselfer with some writing experience. The chosen writing style is informal and the assumed age range is between 24 and 65. However, if I discover (by looking at the search terms leading visitors to this content) that the actual people interested in this article are those choosing writing as a career, I may produce a more formal article as a compliment. This "Part 2" article would detail subjects such as choosing the right keywords, the power of persuasion and submitting articles to directories for increased exposure. Using this method, not only have I increased my overall audience to include multiple groups, but I have also increased the amount of content available on the website.
Summary : Know Thy User!
Subject Area Using Keyword Research
Website content that is not read may as well not exist. To write content for a website you must speak to both humans and search engines through the only method currently available - keyword research. Tools such as WordTracker or Overture's Keyword Selector are great ways to figure out specifically what readers are looking for. For example, you may tend to use the word 'content provider' when looking to hire someone to write content for a website, however, web surfers search for the term 'copywriting' much more frequently. This seemingly small choice in words could be the difference between a content provider's success or failure online. As such, the website content should be tailored around the term 'copywriting' much more frequently than they do the term 'content provider'.
Summary : Use keyword research to your advantage.
Persuade, Don't Force
Web surfers, in general, are a leisurely bunch. They enjoy taking their time when making decisions and they enjoy being able to trust the decisions they have made. From a website owner's perspective, this waiting game can be a frustrating experience. However, by effectively using your content's power of persuasion, you can guide and coax the visitor from start to finish through your website. This is generally referred to as the funnel process and is used to not only instill trust but also reinforces the ideals you feel are important the visitor knows before a purchase or commitment is made. Although the topic of funnels is outside of the scope of this article, the basics of funneling involve predicting what information your site visitor needs before they need it, and providing it before they ask. Continuously "being there" to answer questions or concerns for your customer will help build the trust required to close the deal.
Summary: Give them what they want before they ask.
Be Informative, Yet Concise
When creating content for a website, you can never assume that your reader has a large amount of time to read your site's pages. Reflect on how long the time intervals of your web surfing are, and you'll see why creating informative, straight-to-the-point website content is a must. Most surfers have multiple events going on as they surf the web - phones, children, things on their "to do" list. Respect their time by providing them with concise, bulleted if possible information about your products and or services. In addition, add links to additional content which expands on your ideas. Those with time, will click, those without time will not have to waste valuable moments searching for what they came for. Everybody's happy.
Summary : Respect your site visitor's time.
When learning to write content for a website a bit of background research must be performed. Knowing your target audience, identifying the best keywords to use and the proper use of persuasive techniques will all contribute to your overall success online. The short term effects in writing good web copy is that it provides your site visitors with a positive surfing experience and increases your chance of receiving repeat visits and/or word of mouth referrals. The long-term effect is that it makes you stand out among the plethora of poor copy currently on the Internet. The most popular websites available today are filled with content that gives trusted viewpoints to its readers, use your writings to add your site to this list.