We’ve all visited websites that have been stunning. We have also visited websites and said to ourselves, “What were they thinking?”
A stunning website is the result of three factors – design, navigational ease, and content. When these three elements are present and work together, visitors come and stay awhile. And when visitors stay a while, they are far more likely to make conversions you push and consider the products or services that are offered.
In essence, website content is every word, every sentence, every picture, every blog post, every product/service description, every video, every call to action, and more that appears on your site. How that content is laid out is design; how visitors access that content is navigation; and what you say and how it is said is “content.”
What Constitutes Great Content Today
Consumers are smart and busy. And they demand that companies who want their business engage them, entertain them, and even inspire them. But they also want to find what they want (information, products, services) quickly and easily. And, at least with millennials (22% of the discretionary spending population) and Gen Z’ers (spending close to $50 billion a year), they want companies that exhibit social responsibility.
In short, if consumers don’t find the content they want and like as they navigate through a website, they will quickly go somewhere else. And this is the key reason why your website content must be amazing for your audience.
The Elements of Great Content
1. Small Snackable Chunks of Text
No one will read walls of text – today, it is just overwhelming for those who want information quickly and easily. If you must provide a lot of information, it must be broken up with sub-headings, bullet points, numbers, and space. This makes it “snackable” and allows readers to scan, in order to find just what they want.
2. Visuals and Other Media
If you can say it with visuals, do so. The human brain processes visual content about 60,000X faster than text. That fact alone should tell you that using as many pictures, charts, graphics, and even video is far preferable to text. Here are some types of visual content that consumers like:
- Explainer Videos: You want to show the value of your product or service. And you want to do it in a way that will engage your target audience. Consider the explainer video produced by Dollar Shave Club, targeting millennial men with a monthly razor subscription program. It is hilarious and points to the great value provided to its customers.
- Customer Testimonials: Many websites publish testimonials, but they do so only with text and perhaps a small photo. Consumers are always suspicious of these. Instead, as your happy customers for photographs that show them using your product or service. Better yet? Video testimonials. These are easy for any customer to create with their smartphones and send to you. Publishing these on your site provides the “social proof” you need and builds trust with potential customers.
- Consider New Technologies: Today, adding user experiences through the use of AR and VR are relatively easy, given newer tools for their creation. Resorts give virtual tours of their facilities; eyewear businesses let customers try on frames conveniently in their homes; restaurants allow consumers into their kitchens to see how dishes are prepared. If you can provide your visitors with an AR experience, do so.
3. Style and Tone Matter
You have to know your audience, of course. And part of knowing them is understanding such things as their sense of humor, the vocabulary they use, etc. This all translates to what we call style and tone. You certainly would not use the same verbiage for senior citizens and Gen Z’ers. You have a brand that appeals to specific demographics. Be sure that your brand is reinforced by the way you use words. Style and tone should carry over to all other content you produce as well. If you create an e-book as a part of your overall content marketing, then it should be written with your brand voice in mind. Neightan White, a blogger for Supreme Dissertations, states this: “I cannot emphasize enough the need to craft tone and style that matches your target audience. Our audience is primarily students – they are young, progressive, and every bit of content we produce has them in mind, not us. You have important things to say. Don’t focus on language that suits you – focus on language that suits your audience.”
4. Product/Service Descriptions
Here is where creativity can really come into play. Don’t settle for boring product descriptions. Engage and excite your visitors with those descriptions so that they are more motivated to make a purchase. But don’t exaggerate value or features. Nothing will “kill” your reputation faster than a bad review on social media that accuses you of dishonesty.
5. Use Tools and Others to Help Craft Your Content
It’s not unusual that business owners are not masters of content writing. And many cannot afford to employ full-time content marketers. But there are tools and services/freelancers out there to provide the amazing content you need. These are Grammarly (a site that will check your grammar, sentence structure, etc.), Trust My Paper (a content writing service), Studicus (a creative content development company), Writing Judge (a provider of objective reviews of copywriting services), and Hemingway Editor (an app that will clean up any type of content, simplify it, and get rid of all the unnecessary modifiers and complicated sentences).
If this has not convinced you of the critical importance of content, nothing will. Today’s consumer is drastically different from his counterpart of years ago. And you have to shift your mindset as you create content for him. He wants information; he wants to be entertained and inspired, and he wants to engage with website content that honors his needs and wants. Know your audience and give it a great user experience with your content.
About the Author: Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she works as a freelance writer at BestEssayEducation and GrabMyEssay, Kristin also does some editing work at WowGrade.