Close-up image of woman writing in notebook with copy space while sitting at the rough wooden table

Why is it often such a struggle to get content ready when building a website?

Well, simply put, it’s hard.

Content done right is the culmination of hours of business discovery, target audience research and brainstorming. It is written to tease and invoke the senses. It sparkles, shines and dances in its playfulness. It resolves smoothly and provokes action.

Oh, and it requires a couple of rounds of reviews and rigorous edits.

When content is rushed or given only a fraction of the attention it deserves, it falls flat. It sounds dull and hollow, like it was churned out of a machine. It lacks vibrancy and a certain je ne sais quoi.

Content and design are a package deal

If you fail to give proper attention to both content development and design, your message falls apart.

Even the most captivating and inspirational copy won’t be worth a second glance if the text has been carelessly heaved onto the page.

Similarly, a smooth and refined visual design suffers if the copy is a bland, insipid stream of clichés.

Unfortunately, content is all too often neglected until the closing stages of the project. That’s when you often find out that those beautifully formatted paragraphs of “Lorem Ipsum” don’t have much value until they are replaced with relevant and engaging copy.

Here are some valuable points to keep in mind when as you work to develop content that drives results on your website:

Be Unique & Consistent

We’ve all experienced the arduous task of reading bad or boring content. Blegh.

Boring content sounds like everyone else. It uses cliches that don’t really mean anything, when you actually stop and think about it. Words like “world-class”, “first-rate” and “top quality” don’t actually mean anything unless you can quantify them.

Boring content is also unoriginal. If your “About Us” page is indistinguishable from your competitor’s, it might be time for a content refresh.

Don’t put your customers through the gauntlet of bad content. Bring a fresh and unique voice to your content with colourful and descriptive language, and snappy titles that demand to be read.

But in the midst of this, don’t forget that the tone should be clearly established and consistent.

Going for the informal approach? Slang and a conversational voice will be a perfect fit – you might even be willing to try being edgy to help your copy really stand out from the crowd.

Writing for a downtown financial firm? Your writing should be as crisp and controlled as an ironed shirt.

Writing for a colourful and upbeat toy company? Now is not the time to pull out your obscure five-syllable words and monotonous corporate speak. Write with the audience in mind!

Of course, the words don’t always agree to spill naturally onto the page. When you finally dedicate the time to sit down and start writing, here’s what you’re up against:

A blank piece of paper on a table

The ever-intimidating blank page of paper: pure nightmare fodder.

What’s your best bet if you’re lacking inspiration?

Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing.

You don’t need weave Shakespearean eloquence right from the first draft. Sketch out an outline of your goals and objectives from the content, then plunge right into it.

Be More than a Brochure – Provide Value!

What does your website content offer to visitors?

If it doesn’t go any farther than listing your products and prices, you aren’t giving people any real reason to stick around.

Valuable and informative content adds value that lasts; it makes you more memorable.

People come to your website because they are trying to figure out how to solve a problem. The problem might be “How can I get a cheap flight to Europe?” or it could be “How can I get the smell of cat urine out of my house?”. Either way, they want an answer.

Simply saying that your company’s airplanes typically arrive at their intended destination or that your product is guaranteed to leave a house smelling fresh as a field of daisies is easy and expected. There’s no depth to that.

On the other hand, anecdotes and creative descriptions go much further. Share guides on how to accomplish certain tasks, or new and exciting information from your field or industry. Develop truly original research and tell a story that sets you apart from everyone else.

Then your visitors will have a reason to stay. And to come back later.

SEO & Content Marketing

Psst… want to know a secret? All that content development has value that extends beyond the page it is sitting on.

All that interesting, well-researched and keyword-targeted content on your website provides a significant kickback for your search engine optimization. In fact, many experts say that content is the most important factor in the SEO value of your website.

And that makes perfect sense. Google wants to send their users to pages that have good responses to their searches. All the trickery, misdirection and link buying in the world won’t satisfy a user if the content doesn’t deliver the information they are looking for.

Content Marketing simply means attracting an audience by creating valuable content. Many people think content marketing means an infographic or other type of highly shareable information. But content marketing really refers to anything that communicates a message to your audience.

If you can reliably prove to your site visitors that you are a great source for information, guess what happens? They come back for more. And they tell their friends. That’s the power of content marketing.

Fresh Content

You’re done. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, tears and ideas into several pages of top-quality content. Soon your website will be populated with clever and concise copy that is fun to read and prompts action from the visitor.

Are you done?

Well, not quite.

Regardless of how good it is, serving up the same old content to users year after year eventually gets pretty stale.

This doesn’t mean that you need to throw everything out and start from scratch every week.

Schedule some time to audit your content several months down the road. Is it doing what you expected it to do? Have your website analytics improved?

Keeping a finger on the pulse will let you make adjustments when necessary.

Just in case you need another reason, studies show that Google gives extra value to websites that develop fresh content. So giving your visitors new content on your service pages or blog could be an effective tactic for cruising up to top of the search engine rankings.

Rich Media Content

Developing extra content doesn’t have to mean more paragraphs of text. As more users interact with websites across different forms of media and look to collect information in different ways, different forms media such as video can give your website additional depth.

As more and more users browse online using their phones, it may no longer be practical for them to scroll through long blocks of text. A professional-made instructional or informational video can be a compelling way to present your content in an easy-to-absorb, user-friendly way.

Good luck, Wordsmiths!

All that’s left is to go out there and get ‘er done.

I hope this has been an entertaining and enlightening look at the ins and outs of content development. I also hope that you’ve been empowered to go out and create some real valuable content that kicks your lead generation machine into another gear.

Just as a friendly reminder, we’re here to help add some snap and pizzazz to your content if you’re interested.