- Create customer personas – these are mini pen portraits of the ideal people you want to reach via your website. Being clear on this helps you decide lots of things about the website, not just the words.
- Revisit your web text regularly. Edit it little by little. Put your changes by trusted advisors who know or represent your target reader.
- Check website traffic – to see which pages are popular, and are generating sales leads, and which aren't working very well
- Get your content critiqued – you can ask an independent copywriter like me to review a portion of your text - perhaps get them to review the most and least effective pages on your website, so you can understand what is happening and how to make all your web text work better
Better not to do this...
- Write it to suit search engines, rather than human readers. Obviously, it's great if the text brings in visitors from Google. But people will soon press the back button if the text sounds robotic.
- Write it yourself. At least if you write it yourself then get an independent professional to edit it for you.
- Set things in stone for a new business. Obviously as you learn more about your actual customers you're going to change what you want to say and how you want to say it.
How to refocus your web content
- Define who your target readers are. Choose up to 3 different kinds of readers. And do a workshop to write personas [pen portraits] for these typical readers. With any text on your website now, you should decide which of these three readers you are writing for.
- Define your business’s brand or personality. Think of some adjectives to describe it. Make a list of your competitors, and words to describe their style… and then contrast that with words to describe your style. Keep this information on one page. You could even set up a Pinterest for visuals that remind you of what you want to convey, and get others in your business to contribute to it.
- Get your text professionally critiqued – supply the critic with reader personas and the branding personality from steps 1 and 2 as part of the brief.
- Compare against web analytics – compare what the reviewer is saying with what you're seeing from your web traffic. If something doesn't make, sense, check with the reviewer.
- Edit the text – make the changes advised if you agree with them. This will probably include filling gaps in the facts, maybe adding more pages.
- Get real readers to feed back – ask friendly readers to review your updated text. Track web analytics figures to see if people are staying longer on your website. Are you getting more online sales, or receiving more sales enquiries via the website?
- Brief content contributors – do you have several people writing or updating your web content? If so you want them all to be working to the best level. So you can put together a briefing pack for them, from steps 1- 6. Also you can give them an example of a page from your site that is working really well. And explain why. By giving them a clear standard to work to, you can gradually improve your whole website.
You can continue this review cycle every 3-6 months, or however often you need to. Track web analytics figures to see if people are staying longer on your website. Are you getting more online sales, or receiving more sales enquiries via the website? This is a sure sign that you are on the right track.