If you’ve been following this weekly video post series by Heather, you know that she’s devoted much discussion to what you should do with online writing, such as what will help your make more money, get better rankings, and make your content more easily shared.
But today, Heather takes a different tact in discussing those things that you do not want to do when creating web content – and especially these three definite no-no’s. Tune in and see if you may be guilty of one of them…
In surfing the web, I continue to see these three fatal flaws in website content. If you have any of these terrible 3’s on your own site, now’s the time to go back and redress them!
1) Putting your company’s mission statement on your home page
The first thing that I notice – and especially on B2B sites, or sometimes on smaller business sites – is the tendency to put the company’s mission statement on the home page.
I understand that when a company has invested considerable time and resources into creating their mission statement that they want to share it with their readers. But the home page is not the best place to do that. Somewhere on the “About Us” section, perfect! But please, not on your home page.
- Reality check: your audience doesn’t care.
And this is because what your site visitors are looking for is what’s in it for them: how can your company help solve whatever problem they have in the first place, for them to visit your site?
- It won’t help you position better…nor will it “make more money”.
Putting your company’s mission statement on your home page will do nothing to make you more money, drive new business, or position better. Certainly, if it’s important to you, again, you can put that content in the “About Us” section. But leave it off the home page.
- Focus your content on what you can do for your reader.
Speak to your readers and tell them exactly what it is you can do to help them.
2) Telling only part of the story…
The second thing I will see is where companies only want to tell part of the story. So you might have a services page that tells a little bit about the service, and then there’s “contact us for more details”.
In this instance, they’re only giving their reader peanuts – they’re not giving them the full story. And there’s a couple of reasons for this that I hear:
- Some people think that short, “incomplete” content will drive emails/leads.
The thinking here is that the site owner assumes that their readers will think ‘Oh wow! That sounds really interesting! I don’t know much about it, but now I really want to know! I’m going to contact them right now! Nope. Doesn’t happen that way.
- Other people are afraid of giving too much away.
I’ll hear this a lot in more competitive industries, when the business owner says ‘Well, we don’t want to have all of that information on our services page, because our competitors might copy us and then where will we be?’
The thing is that in order to get people to contact you, you have to give them a reason. Those sexy blurbs that don’t really tell the story probably won’t be enough to help increase your conversion rates, because folks usually want to make that your service is a good fit for them before they contact you.
- The solution? Give your readers the information they need to know.
If you’re not sure about this solution, test it!
Send your readers to two different pages on an A/B split test, wherein the first you provide just a little bit of information, and the second you provide a more robust explanation. I’ll almost guarantee you that the page that provides more information will drive a higher quality and more motivated lead, and probably more leads altogether!
3) Writing “techie” content in order to sound smarter.
Finally, the third thing I see – and this is definitely a syndrome in the B2B world, although sometimes I’ll see it with B2C sites as well – is where companies have obviously told their copywriters to write “techie” content.
Why? Because they want to sound smart online.
Certainly, if you are targeting your site to highly technical people, you want to create content that appeals to them. So in that case, technical writing is perfectly okay!
- It’s important that readers understand your content.
But if you’re trying to write over your readers’ heads just to sound smart, that’s probably going to backfire on you. At the end of the day, you need people to actually understand your content.
- Using big words and long sentences won’t impress most readers.
You also really need to think about this in terms of who comes to your site when they’re looking for vendors.
If you’re writing highly technical content, but the person visiting your site isn’t necessarily technical – such as an administrative assistant, or someone who needs to figure out if you’re a good fit for the company they work for – if you’re writing over their heads, they may think “Oh, I’m not sure this is a good fit, I don’t think I’m going to pass this along to my boss. I think I’m going to look for another source, instead.”
- Your solution? Write for your target audience.
You want to write for your readers in a language that they will understand, and that in turn will definitely help you increase your time on site, and it will increase your conversion rates as well!
Thanks for joining this week’s SEO Copywriting video! Remember, if you have a question or topic suggestion, we’re all ears! Simply email Heather via firstname.lastname@example.org and she may well answer your question or address your topic next week! See you then!
If you are writing your own content and you’d like some tips about how to write Panda-safe and Penguin-safe content – and how to write for Google – simply sign up for the free SEO Copywriting Buzz Newsletter and download the How to Write for Google white paper – also free!
photo thanks to DanBrady