Why great web development strategies include great content
There’s a common misconception that web development begins and ends with design and building infrastructure.
We know that potential customers will have your website open at the same time as others, so the design has to speak to them. It needs to create something that is eye-catching, promotes trust and incorporates your brand. We know that your customers need to be able to find their way around your website with ease. So we highlight navigation and create an easy to follow path to information. And we spend a lot of time ensuring the functionality works the way it should for both your customer and staff so you can remain relevant and valuable to your consumers.
Yet a missing piece to the web development equation is often content. For some strange reason, a lot of companies large and small will update a design, add new functionality to a website, redevelop the user experience and then neglect content.
But content is what makes the difference between your website attracting that customer or them going elsewhere. It can be the difference between them being self sufficient and efficient with their engagement with your products or tying up the customer service line. It may even be the difference between them becoming a loyal customer and never choosing you again.
So today, the team at Webcoda have put down the web development tools and put on our content hats to talk you through some simple tips to help you write great web content.
Everybody hurts sometimes
While we do love a little pop culture at Webcoda, it’s not the main reason for helping you imagine the dulcet tones of Michael Stipe in your mind. Content marketing is about identifying the problems your customers may have and using your web presence to offer a solution.
You’ve probably seen this in the simplest of terms through the countless Google memes. People routinely ask Google for advice to their problems, pains and health conditions. Google auto-fills these queries with relevant searches - and with hilarious results.
Great content begins with accepting part of your web development process is realising your customers choose you to solve their problems and because they are in pain. Your customers may know what is causing them issues and may not even know you are the solution you seek. Or at the opposite end of the scale, your potential customer may have tried all kinds of solutions, including your competitors, and need to know why they should give it one more shot and try you.
So you have to design your content to match that.
PRO TIP: Sit down and write the top 5 or 6 reasons your customers come to you. What are your unique selling points? What problem do you solve?
Create content with your reader in mind
At Webcoda, any of our web development projects begins with research. A big part of that research is identifying the kinds of people who will be using your website in the future and developing with them in mind. We call these personas because they are the different personas of your customers.
Great content works the same way. From the smallest piece on your blog to the longest FAQ, your content marketing efforts need to keep your users in mind.
So take some time out to identify the customers who will be reading your content. Think about the situations they may be in. Think about the problems they encounter. Remember too that your customers will want to self research. So making a variety of different content pieces can help with this process.
For example, for time pressured and/or visually orientated customers, you may find a short video or infographic helps bridge the information gap.
Or supplying a sales page with an overview of a product or service together with a downloadable eBook or brochure for further study may help educate about big ticket items or give a staff member the info they need to pitch a new purchase to the boss.
Whatever the case, ensure you know your customers well enough to select the right content for their needs.
PRO TIP: Get out the butcher’s paper and pens and draw out your existing and your ideal customers. Think about how they consume content, the kinds of content that interests them and how to create the most enduring and helpful conversation about the problems your products solve.
Format is your friends
Like rocks on a happy pond, the most popular content is always one that people can skim. Your customers want to know the answers to their questions quickly. So keep the format user friendly to ensure that can happen.
By this we mean:
- Sections and headers are your friend. Always break your content down so that your customers can jump to the bit of advice they need the most
- Use bullet points and sections to make it easy to skim your content
- Don’t be afraid to use bold, italic and other formatting devices to highlight key information
- Use break out boxes for salient points
- Include calls to action so your customers know what action they want to take once they’ve finished reading your content
- Include pictures to make a visually appealing page or post
You may wish to daisy chain your content across social media, newsletter and to your website and back again so that you stay as connected with your customers as possible. That way, when they are seeking more information, they know where to go.
And always drop in that opportunity to stay connected and to share your content. So make sure you think about the placement of newsletter sign ups and social media sharing and joining ability. PRO TIP: Break it down so that your customer can grab what they need with the minimum amount of fuss. Include clear pathways to additional information that helps them continue to research with your company.
Tickling Google’s happy button helps
Ok, it’s super impossible to tickle every part of Google’s happy buttons in web development, but boy do we give it a red hot go. Google has some 220+ signals that you can use to help your website rank. Here is an incredibly simplified version you can consider when writing your own content.
- Make use of the formatting advice above. Not only does it make it easy to read for humans, it helps Google spiders as well!
- Use contextual links within your content. Instead of for web development tips, go here “click here for amazing web development tips” is the Google happiness.
- Think about your keyword selection. Choose 3 or 4 word phrases for your pages and posts and optimise by using keywords in:
- The first 25 words of your page or post
- Throughout the page in a natural way
- In ALT information on visuals featured on the page
- Relevant calls to action
- Optimise for various kinds of search. Gone are the days of the browser dominating search. Think about the terms you choose for tablet users, when people are searching on their mobile and during voice queries
Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and trying to game the system. Be helpful and ensure your queries give your potential customer’s the info they seek.
PRO TIP: Google wants your content to be natural, useful and relevant to your audience. Pick keywords that meet these criteria and write in a way that solves your customer’s problem and you’ll be fine.
Web development and content are best buddies
By looking at your customer’s experience of the web with both web development and the content you intend to use in mind, you can create a positive journey to a sale. Your customer’s want you to make it easy to get to know you and make use of your company. Thinking of this journey when you begin with design is important. It’s equally important to keep that relationship happening with every blog and page.
Want more great tips on web development, content and improving your online experience? Tune into Webcoda’s blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.