17 March 2016

Website Content – Where to Start?!

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Josh Carson

When building a website, it is all too easy to get caught up in layout and design; what colours to use, which font will work, how is it going to display on mobile etc. However, it’s important to stop and look at the actual content that site will be comprised of. This might sound obvious, but it is so easy to overlook. Good design hinges on strong content, so the better your graphical and textual assets are – the more appealing your site will be!

We understand that creating and writing your own content can seem a daunting process, so here we’ve put together a few tips on assessing and creating the right content for your website (or app).

Assessing your visual content:

Firstly, what content do you currently have? If you already have a website up then you probably have at least a structure and some content you can adapt for your new site. However, it has been a while you may want to review and refresh your content.

Imagery is incredibly important, and you want to make sure that you are presenting the best possible image for your brand. That means high quality, relevant photography that fit the tone of your website. If you look at the big hitters such as PayPal or Apple, their sites are full of personalised photography. This is great, as it helps users visualise using their product or service. What’s more, users are naturally more trusting of high-quality images. Think about the times you leave websites because they look old or have poor quality imagery. If you look at startups such as Cookies-app and Sonovate they clearly depict illustrations that highlight their product/service. Using illustrations is a great way to for guide users through steps – they can be small yet detailed, allowing them to slot into your web page. When illustrations are created in line with your brand, you can help convey tone and emotion, helping users reach a purchase decision.

What written content do you need?

Images and illustrations are extremely important, but so is the language you use on your website. In order to help identify what content you need to develop for your site there are several ways to assess what’s currently working and what is not.

Firstly, make sure your content will appeal to your target audience. The best way to do this is to speak to your customers. Ask them what information helped them make a decision. Quite often you will find that a particular phrase or journey (through your site) will have influenced their decision. It’s important to ask them what information was missing, or what would help them be more informed. We recently added some more pages to our site to help our customers and potential customers make informed decisions. This led to people getting in touch asking more specific questions. This saves time and also makes the user more comfortable discussing with their idea.

If you are creating a site from scratch and have no content then it is a good idea to spend time researching competitors – what words and language are they using, what is the brand they are presenting to their users, and how can you stand out from the crowd?

Similarly, look at other companies who’s services you use, and think about the factors that helped you to make a purchasing decision. We recently moved hosting providers to Pressidium. After reading through their site we felt that we could trust them to provide a superior level of service, and much of this was down to informative and unintimidating tone of their content. Their copy read very similarly to how we wanted to be perceived, and helped us identify how to adapt our own tone and terminology.

Check your user journey and website page content

If you have a site that is currently up and running you can have a look at your analytics to determine where people are clicking through and where they are dropping off. This information can help you to develop your user journey. Where are you seeing conversions? Could you add more call to actions? Check that there are no gaps in the user journey or information missing. Also, ensure each page on your site has a purpose and is useful to the customer.

Typically a homepage is used to inform the customer at a high level, including information about your company’s product/service, with links to dig deeper for further information. But what about the other pages on your site? If you are a small company or are offering a personalised service then it is really important that you have a page where the user can better understand what you are all about – your values and mission. If you are offering a paid monthly subscription then your prices and product features and info on how to buy need to be really clear.

Do you need a hand with putting all this information together, or would you like to talk to us about how we can help optimise the delivery of your content then why not take a look at our project-scoping page

Once you have your copy – Tips for getting it right

  • Once you have your high quality, professional images, you need to make sure your have them optimised for the web – that means making the file size small enough not to impact your page load speed, but also big enough that you aren’t losing quality. Typically we try to keep images ~350KB. Again, this is something we can help with – just get in touch (We can also shoot your photography).
  • Have you read through the content you have written, is it optimised for the web? Google is effectively a robot, and doesn’t understand what your page is about unless you make the content easy to read. Have a look at apps such as Hemingway and Readability-score to see how easy your content is to read. If you can gather a few people and ask them to read through your content, this is invaluable and can help you to ensure the content is both readable and that you are perceived well.
  • If you are using illustrations on your website (such as this), are they inline with your brand and do they help convey the message of your written content? Illustrations can help people visualise a process or a thought. Better still, an illustration can be saved as a .svg file which means that they will display pixel-perfect and load super fast.

Producing well-written copy that is enjoyable to read, complimented by high quality and relevant images, can make all the difference to your website. Whilst this can seem like a mammoth task, the first and most important step is to assess what your website needs. Once you have a good understanding of this, you can break the task down into bite sized chunks (page by page, for example). We’re here to help you through this process and make sure your content packs a punch!