So you’ve commissioned a designer – or learned how to create a site yourself – and now you’re faced with the task of writing your web pages. If you want to do it yourself, here’s a guide to help you get started.
Writing For Your Customer
Before you start writing your Web Pages, do some thinking. Consider who will use your site. How will they have arrived at the pages? What information will they need? It will help if you’ve answers to the following:
- Who is in your target audience – the customers you’d really like to have? Are they affluent, busy mums? Corporate entertainment bookers? Party planners? Picture one of these customers in your mind. Then write your text as if you were sitting down, having a conversation with your ideal customer. Read it out loud to ensure it is friendly and flows naturally.
- What kind of questions will they have about your service or product? (How much, what’s the experience like, how do you deal with problems?) Make a list, then ensure that you address all of them.
- What makes you (and your cakes) different from your competitors’? Are yours better tasting, cheaper, more beautifully decorated, certified organic, or gluten-free? Make a point of highlighting your ‘Unique Selling Point’ if you have one.
- What do you want people to do when they find Your Website? For example, should they download a price list, contact you by email, request a catalogue, or bookmark the site for future reference? At the end of each page, direct people to the next page or action (eg: ‘Click here to send us an email’, or ‘Find out what people are saying about our cakes!’).
- How can you attract people to return to your website again? Do you have regular updates, a blog, or a newsletter? If you can capture their details then you’ll be able to maximise sales potential.
Optimising Your Web Pages
’Optimising’ means incorporating key words and phrases to get your pages noticed by Google. How does this work?
When you type in a search term on an engine like Google, the results are returned in order. The websites displayed at the top of the ‘results’ page are those which feature your search term a lot. This is how Google determines which pages match your requirements. So if someone searches for ‘cupcakes Norfolk’, a page which uses this phrase 5 times will appear higher than a page that only uses the phrase once.
So optimising your web pages means using search terms frequently in your text. Aim for a density of 5% (so five words in 100 are search terms). Pick two or three words or phrases to use on each page. How do you decide which search terms are best for your webpage? First, brainstorm the terms you might type into Google if you were looking for your service. Then type your terms into a tool such as Wordtracker and you can find out how popular they are (ie, how many people search for them every month). You can also look at your competitors’ websites. At the top of every webpage, on your browser window, you will see a bar with the webpage’s title on it. This usually includes key words and phrases.
Creating an Exciting Brand
Big, successful brands are the ones with big personalities. You know what to expect from them, in terms of service, friendliness, professionalism or quirkiness. For example, take a look at the website for Innocent Drinks. Compare it with the website for Twinings teas. Both brands have very distinctive personalities – carefully designed to attract a target audience. For example, Innocent Drinks are aimed at young, busy (probably office-based) people with a health-conscious attitude. The drinks are a wicked substitute for going to the gym at lunchtime! Twinings is aimed at people who also take their health seriously, but it has a far more sophisticated approach – their teas are suited to fine china and manners.
Stop and think about your personality, and your brand’s personality. If your brand were a person, would it be funny? Serious? Businesslike? Daft? Warm and homey or clean and concise? Write down your values, and then edit your text at the end to make sure that it matches up. How do you do this? Well, take a look at these two lists of words.
- Refresh and revive
- Invigorating, comforting, uplifting
- Exacting, finest, expert
- Death-defying, funny business
- Stumbled, stuff
- Wonderful, super-rich, wondering…
You can probably guess which words come from the Innocent Drinks website, and which comes from the Twinings website. Pay attention to the words that you use – if your vocabulary matches your brand, your text will help to build your company image.
We hope these tips have helped you to start writing your web pages. If you need help with laying it out, why not read our article about design – see links on the left.