How we make our clients’ content work harder

28th May 2013 | Posted in Web content

We’ve been working with a couple of clients recently who have written their own draft web content and just wanted it checked over for spelling and grammar.

This is the choice we’ve offered them:

a. We will do exactly what they ask. It will take an hour and that’s what we will charge for.

b. We will do four times what they ask. We will advise on where the content should be re-arranged so it makes logical sense and there isn’t repetition all over the site. And we will rewrite the content to capture the attention of the reader. That will cost four times as much, obviously.

Our clients both took option B, and who can blame them?

So this is what we do when we review web copy.

1. We ask who the audience is. We create a quick persona or two, so we understand who the site is addressing.

2. We drop “we” for “you”. We make the content talk directly to the reader. No more “This is what we do”. Not even “This is what we can do for you”. Instead it’s “This is what you can get from us.” It’s just slightly different.

3. We consider every piece of content and assess each one for interest to the reader. Both these clients had written “About us” pieces on their front page. I’m not saying that’s not important. It’s great for credibility. Peopledo want to know how long you’ve been in business and what your skills are. It’s not the first thing they’re looking for though. And they’re really not that bothered about how long the business owners have been friends.

4. We slim down the number of tasks the web site is trying to fulfil. One client was offering three different businesses from one site. We could just about link two, but the third one must go off and make its own way in the world. Otherwise everyone else will just get confused, including the search engines.

5. We cut the number of words on each page by at least a third. Quite often a half or more. It’s very easy to do when you’ve had a couple of decades of practice. Short, sharp but readable is the goal for sentences, paragraphs and pages.

6. We talk a bit about search engines, and ask our clients to tell us the terms they believe that their customers would use to find their products and services. We want our clients to talk in the language of the customers, not their own jargon. They may sell “low cost”, but would their customer search on “cheap”? We even talk about doing a little keyword research.

7. We talk about how the design, words and images will work together.

8. We remember choice A, and we check for spelling and grammar.

We do a few other things too, which would take this list way past ten points.

We don’t forget the call to action. Would you like us to review your web site? Proposed, new or current, we can take a look at your content and make it work harder for you.

Or if that sounds like a task too far, we can create the content for your site from scratch.

Contact us to find out more.

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