What Is Great Content?
In the context of service industry websites (which is our focus), great content gives the visitor exactly what they want from your website: information. A website with great content will also become more attractive to search engines like Google; boosting you higher to the first page.
People Don’t Read.
According to usability studies by Dr. Jakob Nielsen, the “guru of webpage usability” said The New York Times, few people read everything on a web page. Why? Because people’s attention spans are lower these days and so is their patience. Users want to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. So instead of reading an entire webpage they scan the page looking for whatever stands out. If what they’re looking for isn’t found quickly, the visitor will move to the next site.
Here’s what to do about it:
Structure Your Content
The main goal is to find information, so it’s important to place important information first, at the top of the page; make it stand out; use larger headings. Summarize your information in a short paragraph at the very top. A summary helps users determine if the page, is indeed, what they are looking for.
Instead of writing a big paragraph, break up the paragraphs into smaller ones, perhaps no more than four lines per block. Use bold sub-headings to start off the new paragraphs. Use bullets and numbered lists when stating facts. This sets up your content to be scanned by users first, and then read in its entirely, when ready.
Start the paragraph with the most important point and then expand on this for the rest of the paragraph. If the first line doesn’t interest the reader, they may skip the rest of the paragraph.
Give answers before explanations, give summaries before details and give conclusions before discussions. Always keep your information short and to the point.
Note: Spacing the lines within large amounts of content makes it more reader-friendly; this is called line-height and it’s a CSS styling technique we employ in many of our websites.
Writing Informative Content
When visitors search for services like yours, they will need clear, to-the-point information; answers to the questions they may have about what you do; give it to them.
This helps your potential clients make an informed buying decision. Knowledge is power and giving your users information that helps them make a better buying decision empowers them. And who do you think an empowered client will buy from?
Here’s how to empower your users: Think about the information your potential clients would want to know and then write about it. Visitors will want answers to questions like these:
- What does your company do?
Make it plain and simple. It shouldn’t take no more than a few lines of text to explain this. Next is the more important part:
- What will your company do for me?
List the benefits from the greatest to the least. Make it plain and simple. This is what everyone wants to know.
- How are you better than your competitors?
Why should I choose you? How are your different? List some of reasons or even do a comparison chart.
- What are your services?
Give a brief description for each service you provide. As said before: keep the information plain and simple – in a short paragraph. Afterward, you can expound into further detail.
- Can I trust you?
This is one of the biggest questions when dealing with services found on the Internet – add some client testimonies, BBB ratings and other information that builds credibility. When receiving Social Security and Credit Card information through your website, you will need to purchase a SSL certificate. A certificate secures your site from any data that could be stolen during a form transfer. When dealing with sensitive information, that little lock icon and the “https” in the address bar brings a sense of relief as the visitor knows their information is safe.
- How do I reach you?
List an e-mail, your location (if only the city and state) and especially a phone number. People need to know they can reach a live person if they need too.
- How much does it cost?
You do not have to list your prices all the time, but if this is a frequent question, list some examples and the general cost for each.
- Create a FAQ page:
A Frequently Asked Question page helps cut down on phone time – answering the same questions over-and-over again.
- Write articles about the stuff you know.
This is always helpful for users looking for a service provider, this shows them – you know your stuff.
Early users don’t care too much about your company’s vision or mission statement or even its history. While this information is important, this shouldn’t be the first thing the visitor sees. The potential buyer is more concerned about their own needs, tell them how you can satisfy their needs.
Following these steps will make your website easier to read and will definitely help your visitors make an informed buying decision. Most websites don’t do this and so you’ll be one step ahead of the game.