Website Content Tips: How to Write Copy That Targets Your Ideal Customer
It’s not easy to write content that keeps people on your website – and converts. From your homepage to your least visited pages, your copy needs to be cohesive and compelling. To help you improve, Ian Loew of Lform Design shares some of his best website content tips below.
Website content tips to help you convince and convert
Web content comes in a variety of formats, from audio to visual. However, the purpose of all content is ultimately the same: to generate more traffic to a particular website, which can then be converted into leads. In turn, that helps to boost sales, web traffic and brand reputation.
Well-written content is compelling, well-structured and engaging. It helps to draw in new customers while reinforcing positive relationships with existing ones.
An effective content writing strategy encourages traffic, conversion and leads, ultimately leading to higher sales for your business.
For this guide, we’re going to look at website content writing tips to help you create a solid content strategy for your business.
#1. Perform a website content audit
Start by assessing and analyzing your existing web content to identify any areas for improvement in your content strategy and business development plans. This will also help you to identify your specific content goals.
You can assess content marketing metrics using various analytics tools. These typically relate to user behavior and include data such as:
- average dwell (or reading) time
- bounce rate
- the number of page views.
This data can also indicate what you need to change and improve. For instance, if you have high traffic but the duration rate is low, this could mean that while there was initial interest in the website, there wasn’t enough to sustain visitors’ attention.
You can also measure your content performance using the following:
- Engagement metrics such as social media interactions
- SEO metrics related to keyword rankings, backlinks, dwell time and organic traffic movement.
- Sales metrics showing data such as conversion rates, ROI and lead volume.
Next, take inventory of existing web content and collect the URLs of the pages you want to analyze, creating an action plan for each. There are tools you can find either as plugins on your publishing platform or as separate software programs to assist you.
Content analysis tools can help you:
- analyze data
- compile content lists
- create a site map (if you don’t already have one)
- catalog your content.
From there, you can decide what to keep, update or delete. Aim to review your website content strategy in this way at least once a year.
#2. Create content for each customer lifecycle
The customer lifecycle is a broad overview of how a customer forms a relationship with a business as they progress through the various stages (reach, act, convert and engage).
Different types of content might apply at various “touch points” throughout the process. Cosmetics company Sephora uses omnichannel marketing to reach out to customers, prompting them to become members (the “act” stage).
Sephora also uses email marketing to convert customers, welcoming new members to their loyalty program. That includes campaigns showcasing benefits while suggesting higher membership tiers with additional perks.
Customers can interact with the brand (and each other) at the engagement stage via several channels, including their Beauty Insider Community. The brand also focuses on using data to personalize customer experience gathered from several sources, including feedback surveys, which help build customer confidence.
Your content should also account for each customer lifecycle stage.
Note: Don’t confuse lifecycle stages with the buyer’s journey or sales/marketing funnel. Both of these are distinct terms occurring within the customer lifecycle itself.
#3. Write more compelling copy
Now that you know how to approach your content, how do you write copy that converts?
Quality content should be easy to navigate and understand, with accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation. The tone or “voice” you use should also be consistent with the rest of your branding style.
Engaging content requires thorough research and planning. As part of your pre-writing research, look at your competitors. Assess content type, how successful it is, the kinds of audiences they target and the services they offer.
Next, define the purpose of your content – aside from traffic and lead generation. Adapting “the author’s purpose” (a tool used for all types of writing) can help you decide whether your writing intends to:
- Instruct >>> explain the action to take
- Inform >>> explain your offering
- Entertain >>> ensure your content is enjoyable to read
- Persuade >>> provide reasons to take action
- Describe >>> explain how your product or service offering works and the benefits.
You must grab your customer’s attention from the start using a powerful opening sentence. To retain focus, you also need to ensure your copy “scans” to retain focus. You can do this by using structural elements such as headings, subheadings, bullet points and spacing.
Also, you can use tools such as heat maps to follow reading patterns.
When reading written web content, most people’s eyes tend to follow an “F-shaped pattern”, reading the first two lines before scanning down the rest of the text.
This is currently the standard model for usability on a web page and influences other factors such as click-through rate (CTR).
Content length is also important. In collaboration with Buffer, social media tracking company Sum All found that the average character count for online content was 40-55 per paragraph.
Breaking content up with other formats such as images can also help maintain reader interest.
#4. Add the right keywords
SEO (search engine optimization) content is found in landing pages, blog posts and other forms of textual website content. It works by boosting the quality and quantity of traffic to your website via organic search results – as opposed to paid-for search results produced by ad clicks.
When a customer keys words into a search engine, a “crawler” locates the information required, building an index. That is then fed through an algorithm (a formula or process used to store and retrieve meaningful information).
The algorithm learns more about certain keywords with each search, linking them to websites that match customer queries.
Here’s how you can optimize your website content for SEO:
- Use tools to identify keywords and provide SEO scoring on content before publication.
- Integrate keywords into the rest of your textual content in a way that flows naturally and accounts for Google’s latent semantic indexing (identifying phrases with similar meanings).
- Optimize images (though using ALT text and attribution), URLs, headings and meta descriptions.
Keyword research is essential for boosting your website’s visibility in search engine results. When doing this, employ best practices according to Google webmaster guidelines.
Black-hat SEO methods such as keyword stuffing (used to try and “fool” search engines) not only have ethical implications—they also put your site at risk of de-indexing or penalization.
White-hat SEO seeks to provide value by creating well-researched, well-written original content. That includes using links to authoritative sources and backlinks to existing company blog posts or other content on your website.
#5. Create an editorial calendar
In planning and writing your content, consistency is key. An editorial calendar provides a framework to help plan, track and organize content writing activities and provide an overview of performance.
In addition to scheduling templates, you can use project management software to build an editorial calendar. The latter will also help you keep in touch with team members and track work progress.
An editorial calendar might include an “ideas bank” to collate suggestions and topic ideas, a publishing strategy and a schedule and notifications for deadlines and editing.
Other activities include web content management (WCM), which accounts for placement, consistency, navigation, link management, terminology and how content is used and repurposed.
#6. Write for your target audience
WCM also involves ensuring that your content caters to the target audience.
To do this, look at key demographic factors appearing in your market research. That can include information such as the age bracket, occupation, location and other relevant data, such as frequently-used keywords.
You can create a customer persona to help you define your target audience.
Another key piece of data to look at involves addressing pain points. Questions such as these will help you to shape your branding style while helping to build stronger customer relationships. You should create relatable, engaging website content that is specific to them.
Best website content tip: try a conversational approach
Focused market research, including data gathering, is key to a successful website content strategy. A great example of this is LinkedIn, which uses textual content – such as articles and posts – to engage with its customers on the website.
As technology advances, more communication channels have opened up. For example, Spotify’s Wrapped campaign, which uses personalized data to create tailored playlists, sending these out to customers at the end of each year by email.
Customer experience becomes more interactive, so brands can benefit from taking a more conversational approach to their website content writing. You should always gather customer data and feedback to ensure your content stays relevant and engaging.
Author: Ian Loew is a web entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert, and the Owner & Head of Business Development of Lform Design. After four years of helping Fortune 500 companies with MGT Design, Ian embarked on his freelance career before establishing Lform Design in 2005. He leads a team of creative professionals to deliver inspired online experiences via modern, responsive websites that reflect his clients’ core values. When not at the helm, Ian is mountain biking with friends or spending time with his family.