Quick guide: Writing website content

Website content is one of the first things which should be produced as part of a web design project. At the very least a draft overview of website content should be produced before design starts. Obviously a website should evolve over time and content may well change but it’s important to work ‘content first’ rather than designing a pretty looking site full of placeholder text. The main reason for this is that your content will inform the visual design, the sections you include, the layout, the navigation — all of which results in a more effective website for your business.

But content is hard! Which is exactly why it usually gets left until far too late in the process. Well don’t worry, the following questions will help you. Read through and answer the following and you should start to get some excellent ideas for content before you know it.

Who is the website, and therefore content, aimed at?

It’s possible that your website is aimed at only one type of person but that’s unlikely. (It’s not acceptable to aim for ‘everyone’ by the way.) In my experience there are usually two or three primary audience groups and perhaps one or two secondary groups. List as many as you can and prioritise them. Your target audience groups might be along the lines of: 1) Marketing managers, 2) Business owners and 3) Self-employed people in that order. Once you have your list of target audience groups write down a little background information about each group. This is where you could dive into user personas if you wanted to get really accurate about things.

What user needs can your website content help with?

Marketing managers might need to decide whether your product will help them look good to their boss. Business owners might want to see what return on investment they can expect after using your product for 6 months. Self employed people might want to use your product to take care of something they don’t have the time or knowledge to do otherwise. List as many needs or concerns as you can for each target audience group.

What are your goals for the website?

It’s best if these are measurable and as specific as possible. So for example ‘Receive 10 enquiries per month from potential customers’ is better than ‘Provide information to potential customers’. List as many of these specific goals as you can for the various target audience groups. Again these goals should be prioritised as they will lead to how you structure your content.

Writing your website content

The answers you write to the above questions should allow you to start forming clear ideas about what content needs to be included in the site. Start with an outline which includes a heading for each section, which audience groups the section is for, what audience needs it addresses and which of your goals it supports. Next you can start to fill in the gaps and very soon you’ll have written yourself a nice, highly targeted effective website. Hand this over to a web designer now and be amazed as your well planned content leads to a site which outperforms your competition (and your previous website) in just about every way you could hope for.