Confused About Content?
I’ve learned over the years of building websites, that one of the hardest parts of even having a site is figuring out what one should actually put on it. We have these grand ideas for an awesome website and how we want it to look, but then we draw a blank when it comes to developing content for it.
It is extremely important to understand what your goal is for your site when taking on the task of building a website or having one built. I’ve run into this issue with my own websites as well. I get this great idea for a site that I want to build and begin to build it only to figure out that I have no idea what I really want to put on it. Crazy right? It’s one of the biggest problems I’ve run into.
Hopefully, I’ll help you to come up with some ideas with what you need for your site. We’ll discuss the necessities for a site as well as some ideas for specific content depending on the type of site you have.
Planning is Priority
When planning your site, you need to understand your company, your customers, and your competition. These are all things that you should have already researched when starting your business in the first place, so this shouldn’t be a huge issue. You need to understand your company because you need to know the message your want to convey with your site. Your website is your company in the eyes of the visitor. It will be a huge deciding factor in whether or not they will do business with you. A solid, well put together website that is easy to navigate and is clear in its message is extremely important in building trust in your customer’s mind.
You need to understand your target customers so that you will have a better idea of how to reach them. What verbiage or images will strike a cord with them? Are they more trendy? Maybe more traditional? The content on your website needs to be able to reach them in a way they can relate to. Sure, you want everyone to buy your product, but there is a target group that will be more likely to make that purchase and those are the people you want to build for.
Why do you need to understand your competition when building a website? What does your website have to do with them? Well, you want to beat them don’t you? If you spend some time researching other companies in your industry, you’ll probably start to see a common theme in their websites. They all will have something in common. You don’t even have to look for local companies, just companies in your industry. With this information, you can go one of two ways. You can either try to fall into line with them and build a site similar in style to every one else, or you can try to make waves in the industry and come up with something completely different.
In doing research for one of my current clients, I found that his industry isn’t all that strong in the website side of things. Most of the people in his industry have extremely simple sites – and that’s ok – but we want to make him stand out. The plan is to still have a more simple site, but make it look awesome using some pretty cool effects and such. The important thing is that we make it easy for his clients to contact him and have a great resource showing what all he can do.
So What Content/Pages Do You Need?
I’ll be completely honest here: this is my opinion based on my experience as both a user and builder of websites. Some people may think differently from what I am about to write. If this is the case, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Relevant Information: Depending on the type of website you are building, you need to ensure you have information pertinent to the purpose of your site first and foremost. If you’re selling something, you need to have product information or sale information (I’ll discuss this later) as the first thing the customer sees when they get to your page. If you are running a service business and want the clients to contact you for quotes or to get information, then you need to have something calling them to action as the first thing they see. The point is, don’t leave it to chance: Make sure the visitor knows exactly what your site is about as soon as they get there.
Call to Action: This is important. If you want the customer to take some sort of action, make it obvious. For example: If you have a sale going on for your famous socks and want the customer to check them out, put something at the top of your page that advertises the sale and tells them to “BUY NOW!” Make them understand that the point of your site is for them to have access to your product. They want your product, they just may not know it right away.
Required Pages: This one is a challenge. You want to ensure you have enough information for your customer to get to know you and your company, but you don’t want to overload them. They don’t really care about your dog, Fluffy, or your full resume (unless, of course, you have a site about dogs or a resume site…). They need to know why they should trust you with their money and business. Do you have a guarantee for your product or service? What areas to you service? Heck, what services do you provide?
- Services: You want to let your visitors know what you do, but you don’t need to get into technical details. Most clients will go to a home automation business’ website to see if they install security or audio systems. They don’t typically care about the minute details of how you do it. The key here is to give some examples and don’t just stick a list on the page. Provide a little detail for each service you offer.
- Contact Information: Visitors need a way to contact you. A page with your address and/or phone number as well as a contact form and/or support email address is imperative. If you have a physical location and include your address, be sure to put a map on the page so your customers have an easy reference to where you are. Including your social media information is a good idea too as well as a way for your visitors to share your pages on their networks.
- About Us: Here is where you get to tell your customers about your company. As I mentioned, you don’t want to overload them with stories about your family dog – unless your dog inspired your business, of course. Give them a glimpse into the vision of the company. If you support a specific cause or group, include that information too. You can dedicate the entire page to the company, or you can do as many companies are doing now and include a small blip about each of the top people in the company.
- Portfolio: Depending on the purpose of your site, a portfolio is extremely important. If you are an artist or do visual work, you want to be able to show your clients the type of work you have done in the past.
Again, this is just a guideline. There may be other pages or information you find you might want or need on your site. These are basically the minimums you should have. If you find that you like to see other pages or content on websites, let me know in the comments section below.