The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization

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Is your web content actually driving potential customers away from your website? Are you holding up the launch of your new website because you don’t have your web content ready? (The Lorem Ipsum dilemma). Are you unsure what web content to include on your website or how it should be organized? Do you know the two golden rules for what to write for your website home page? Do you know which one of your website’s pages is the most highly visited page? Are you wasting easy opportunities to deliver important information, or make a sale, to your website visitors? What does scannability mean and why should you care?

The Web Content Guide will answer these questions and more – plus the web content guide saves your and your team huge amounts of time and hair-pulling by helping you to understand the basics of gathering, preparing, writing and organizing the words and pictures that are the keys to success for your website.
Your web content has the power to make the difference between success and failure of your website. Don’t take any chances, get it right the first time.

Read it here on Slideshare or download your own PDF copy from Riavon Enterprises www.riavonenterprises.com

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The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization

  1. 1. Contents IntroductionIntroduction Intro-2So, where do you start? 1Start with The Five W’s 2Know thy visitors. 4The Ready To Buy visitor (RTB) 5The Still Needs To Be Sold visitor (SNTBS) 6The Existing Customer visitor (EC) 8Know thyself. 9Know thy keywords 10Tell your website visitors what you do for them. (Not just what you do.) 11Know what you want your visitors to do. 12Know thy competition. 12Compose Your Website Content 13Get your content together. 15A Few Do’s and Don’ts 17Content that absolutely must be on every single page of your website 21What to write 22How to write it 25Structure 26Content Writing Dos and Don’ts 27Recommended Reading 27Intro-1 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. IntroductionAbout this GuideEvery web designer/developer needs to have website content as ‘ready to go’ as possiblein order to build, deliver and launch a website as quickly and efficiently as possible fortheir client.The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization was originally de-veloped by Riavon Enterprises as a tool for our clients to help them prepare their websitecontent for submission to us.This Guide was written exclusively for sole proprietors, start ups, and small businessesor organizations who do not have an in-house marketing team or the resources to hire aprofessional web content specialist or copy writer.The Guide also provides our colleagues, professional web designers and developers, witha tool which they can use to help their own clients to prepare and deliver content for theirwebsite projects.This Guide is intended to be used for the sole purpose of planning and communicatingyour brand message via your website more effectively in order to convert prospects intocustomers. What You’ll NeedIntro-2 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Introduction IntroductionYour website represents you to the entire world every minute of every hour of every day, andit makes a huge difference in whether people choose to do business with you. People willform an opinion about you based on their impression of your website, so you must make sureyour website gives you the competitive advantage to be successful, no matter what the size of 1your business. Everything in this Guide applies to anyone who wants a successful website thatdoes the job it’s meant to do. The single most important part of your successful website is your content. Content development and organization absolutely, positively must be your first step in the website development process. “Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.” --- Dr. Seuss Intro-3 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. The hardest part is getting started. The rest is simple. Start with the basics and always keepyour website’s visitors in mind, and you’ll do fine. Which leads us to our next point. Before we Introductionbegin, please establish the following very firmly in your mind: YOUR VISITORS MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST. Worry about what Google thinks later. Intro-4 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. IntroductionBefore we begin.1. Decide who is responsible for developing content for your website project.Assign the task of content development to an individual or team of people within your orga-nization. Make it very clear exactly who is responsible for what content.2. Determine how much time you can devote to content development for your website project.Set up a realistic timeline for delivery of each section of content. Set specific milestones andadhere as closely as you can to your deadlines in order to stay on track for the scheduledlaunch date of your website. Ready to begin? Read on. Intro-5 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Website Content DevelopmentCommunicate > Motivate > ActivateA website is merely a communication tool that’s sole purpose is to communicate a messagethat will motivate people to take action. It’s your job to make your website communicateyour message effectively enough that it will motivate the right people to take the right page 1action.This process has also been described by some experts as Connect > Engage > Convert.Regardless of how you label it, the key to remember here is that you should never forgetthat you are communicating with real people via your website. People with very little time,and a very short attention span, too!There are a few key things that must come into play to get you and your website’s visitors tothe “activate” part of the above equation, and it all starts with effective website content.So, where do you start?There is a good chance that if you have an established business or or- Effective website content is con-ganization, you already have some of the basic material you will need tent that ultimately generates thefor your website content, especially if you have put together a business results that you want and need toplan or marketing plan. If not, that’s okay - this exercise will be helpful get from your website. In order toto you in more ways than one! Whether you have a written business do that, your content must firstplan or not, your first step in this process is to ask and answer some be useful and relevant to your“5W” questions that will help you start to generate the foundation of website visitors.your website content. pg. 1 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Start with The Five W’s Website Content DevelopmentWho, What, When, Where, Why(and an H -How)You should know the answers to the followingquestionsWho is your ideal customer? Why are they looking at your website? Why do they leave your website? page 2Who are your website’s visitors?Who needs your product/service the most? Why should they get what they needWho benefits the most from what you offer? from you? Be as detailed as pos-What’s important to them? How long do they take to make a buy- sible in your answers. ing/action decision? Drill down and get toWhat do they need from you? How will you get them to the informa- the root of the answer.What do you have to offer to them? tion they need most? For example, for theWhat makes you valuable to them? How can you get them there faster? “What do you have How do you make it easier for your ideal to offer them?” ques-When do they need your product or service? customer to do business with you? tion, you could answer “I offer topWhen do they visit your website? of the line commercial air filtration Write down the answers to as many of systems.” which is true. But if you dig these questions as you can. If you’re not down further you will find that be-Where are they coming to your website from? sure of an answer right away, then do cause your systems reduce airborneWhere are they going when they leave? some research and find out what that an- pathogens you also offer reducedWhere else are they looking for what they swer is. Then write it down. employee sick time, which leads to in-need? creased productivity in the workplace, which saves money for your prospec- tive customer. Cha-ching! pg. 2 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Website Content DevelopmentCraft Your Benefit StatementWhen you can, try to describe a benefit that demonstrates value in your website visitor’s page 3mind. This will take your message beyond the product itself, and quickly define how yourproduct actually helps your visitor. If you can address your visitor’s key pain, predicament, orproblem via your website content, then you are going to keep that visitor interested in you,which keeps that visitor on your website longer (or coming back to it), which increases thechance they will take action. Now that is effective website content! The information that you gather here forms the foundation of your website content.1. Your website content should always address your visitors, first and foremost.2. Train yourself to think in terms of your visitor’s perspective.3. Keep in mind that your visitor is asking: “What’s in it for me?”In order to present the most effective website content, it’s important to know the peoplewho are visiting your website, and to understand their needs. pg. 3 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Website Content Development page 4Know thy visitors.You should be able to definitively answer these questions:1) Who are these people (your website’s visitors)?2) Why are they here (at your website)?Most of your website visitors will break down into one of three types:1. The Ready To Buy (RTB) visitor2. The Still Needs To Be Sold (SNTBS) visitor3. The Existing Customer visitor (EC) Yes, we realize there are other types of visitors coming to your site, such as Note: Understand that when we say “buy” that is just our general catch-all the press, researchers, or the simply term for ‘take action’. Whatever action you desire from your website visitor is what you’re selling. curious. For the purpose of this Guide, we’ll focus on those visitors who have the greatest impact on your website’s objectives. pg. 4 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Website Content DevelopmentThe Ready To Buy visitor (RTB)Your RTB visitor is already convinced of the value of your offer when he ar-rives at your website. page 5What does the Ready To Buy visitor need from you?How does your website content meet the needs of your RTB visitor?Your RTB visitor is already convinced of the value of your offer, so what content does thisvisitor need or want from your website?Information: Despite being convinced of the value of your offer, your RTB visitor may stillhave some questions for you, such as “How do I get my hands on one of these?” So, youwant to be sure you provide your RTB visitor with content that will answer any questionshe may have. Your content should clearly present important information your RTB visitorneeds, such as order forms, prices, special offers, installation procedures, product details,support, delivery options, and the like.In your eagerness to sell, don’t forget that some of your visitors are alreadysold. Tailor your website content to accommodate the RTB visitor as well. pg. 5 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. The Still Needs To Be Sold visitor (SNTBS) Website Content DevelopmentYour SNTBS visitor needs to be convinced to buy from you when he arrivesat your website.What does the Still Needs To Be Sold visitor need from you?How does your website content meet the needs of your SNTBS visitor? page 6The SNTBS visitor either needs to be convinced to buy it, to buy it from YOU (as opposed toyour competition), or both. Ideally, your website’s content should effectively address each ofthese possible scenarios. Important: Don’t forget to KISS itKeep in mind that just because he still needs to be sold doesn’t mean that - Keep It Short and Sweet. There’s no need to go on and on (and on)the SNTBS visitor isn’t interested in what you offer. about what you do and how wonder- ful you are. YourThe the SNTBS visitor may be: website’s visitors» Deciding whether he needs/wants what you offer don’t have the time» Figuring out if he can afford your offer to read large blocks» Comparing your offer to that of your competition of copy, and they» Doing pre-purchase research about your offer (we call this ‘tire-kicking’) don’t need to have» Considering alternative options all that information at once. You reallyIt’s a good idea for you to have an understanding of what is important to the SNTBS visitor, don’t want to “oversell” or overwhelmbased on your knowlege of what is their pain, predicament or problem and how your prod-uct or service alleviates it. Think about ways you can present website content that will effec- your visitors with TMI (too muchtively do that. information), as it can actually be counterproductive! pg. 6 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Website Content DevelopmentYour SNTBS visitor wants to know: “What’s in it for me?” . Your SNTBS visitor needs to have page 7information that will enable him to fully understand the benefits of doing business withyou. Your content needs to help him to see the value of your offer. Your website content should make it clear to both your Ready To Buy visitor and your Still Needs To Be Sold visitor exactly what you offer and how they can get it.Establish Credibility and Trust What’s important to your ?Your SNTBS visitor needs to know that he can trust you. Establishing credibility and trustshould be at the top of the list when developing content for the SNTBS visitor. SNTBS visitor?Gather testimonials. Nobody sells your business as well as your existing happy custom- 1. Trustworthinessers. And bonus! Not only does it help convince the SNTBS visitors to buy from you, by fea- 2. Availabilityturing testimonials as part of your website content you also underscore and reinforce your 3. Ongoing supportRTB visitors and your EC vistors confidence that they have made the right decision by do- 4. Ease of orderinging business with you. 5. Speed of deliveryAccreditation and Awards. If you are accredited in some way that is important to your 6. Accuracy of informationindustry or market segment, be sure to include this information in your website content. 7. LocationIf you’ve won any awards that would be meaningful to your website visitors, be sure to in- 8. Experienceclude this information in your website content. 9. LongevityHistory. If it’s important to your visitors that your company or organization has an es- 10. Credibitytablished history, then be sure to include information about your history in your website 11. Certifications/Awardscontent. 12. Quality 13. Price 14. Return on Investment (Value) pg. 7 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Website Content Development page 8The Existing Customer visitor (EC)What does the Existing Customer visitor need from you?How does your website content meet the needs of your EC visitor ?Adoration: Do you value adore your existing customers? Your EC visitor needs to feeladored (valued and cared for) when he arrives at your website. He needs to know aboutthings like new products, upgrades, where to find support, and how to reach you. He needscontent that provides updates, information, support, news, and a reason to stay loyal toyou. Helpful Hint: Picture your idealRewards: Your EC visitor may also want to re-affirm his buying decision or compare you to a customer in your mind as you de-new competitor on the market to see how you stack up. Be sure your website content sup- velop your website content. Whatports your existing customer and encourages their continued loyalty. is this person’s age, gender, occu- pation, income, location, etc.? Re- ally get to know this person. You can even give him/her a name! And once you do, address your message directly to him/her. pg. 8 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. Know thyself. Website Content DevelopmentOk, now it’s your turn. As much as we’ve preached the gospel of “your visitors must alwayscome first”, they still want - and need - to know something about you. It’s important to dothis for a few reasons.» You need to establish credibility and trust in order for anyone to feel good about buying from you. page 9 However you decide to let your website visitors know about you, just remem-» Your visitors want to know that they can make a connection with you. ber to always keep them and their» Your visitors need to clearly understand what the benefit is to them when they buy from needs in mind, and understand that you. they’re looking at you because they want to learn something about you, but also because they need to knowBecause of this, the information you provide about yourself is actually still in line with the they can trust you. Keep your messageidea of putting your visitors first. We have to remember that even though we are commu- brief and to the point, and focus onnicating via a machine, we are still people behind that machine. Let your visitors know that the key benefits for your visitors.they are still making a connection to a real person/people. Tell your website visitors who youare.Who are you, anyway?You can let your visitors know who you are in various ways. Here are a few ideas.» Author a blog on your website» Feature a “Meet Our Team” section of your website with photos and short bios» Post a personal message from a top executive or owner on the “About” page» Publish testimonials» Put up a photo gallery» Provide a history of your company or organization» Feature news items about your people and events» Publish a regular newsletter pg. 9 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. Website Content DevelopmentKnow thy keywordsFor the purpose of this Guide, we won’t go into an indepth discussion of search engine op-timization (SEO), but we certainly cannot address website content without acknowledgingits relevance. This guide is more about what happens between your visitors and your web-site once they arrive at your website. But, the words you include in your content can serve p a g e 10to attract visitors by placing you well in the search engine results pages (SERP) for searchterms (keywords) people use to find what you have to offer.There are countless books, websites, podcasts, webinars, workshops and experts who canprovide you with a thorough explanation of SEO tactics, as well as several tools which youcan use to develop a list of keywords. The reason we bring this up? Because we want toremind you that once you have developed a strong list of keywords and key phrases, youwant to be sure they’re included in your content. The advantage to using tools such as thefree keyword tool provided by Google is that you can not only get help putting togetheryour keywords, you can get some insight and help determining which keywords are usedthe most to find what you have to offer. Our SEO philosophy is that if youSEO carries varying degrees of importance depending on the type develop content that properly de-of website it is, which will determine how intently you will need to scribes your offer and meets theconsider SEO during your content development. Having a robust needs of your targeted visitors,SEO strategy may or may not be a priority for you for your website. then a majority of those keywordsIf it is, there is a list of excellent SEO resources we recommend for will generate themselves naturally.you at the end of this Guide. pg. 10 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Website Content DevelopmentTell your website visitors what you dofor them. (Not just what you do.) p a g e 11What do you do? You provide accounting services.What do you do for your customers? You relieve the average working man’s tax headaches DO: Map out clear benefit state-by 1) helping him get a bigger tax refund and 2) by making it easy for him to file. ments. And write them down. Prioritize these benefit statementsWho do you do it for? Describe your ideal customer and address him/her. If your ideal cus- or organize them by type of pro-tomer is a struggling single mom trying to juggle raising 3 kids while building her career in spective customer. Then, youra tough economy, then know exactly what is her pain, her problem, her predicament. Then,be sure your content tells her that you are here to relieve, solve, and resolve it for her. What web designer can work with youdo you do for her? to place this content into well po- sitioned text, links, calls to action, or banner ads inHow do you do it? Do you use a whatchamacallit to generate in- addition to includ-tegrated core structures of mega ultimate cohesiveness in order toperpetrate the collective rate of incline-to-plateau ration index? Or, ing them withindo you build and install commercial air filters that reduce allergens in your website copy.the workplace by 99%, therefore creating a healthier working envi-ronment, thereby reducing employee illness and loss of productivityin the work place? pg. 11 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Website Content DevelopmentKnow what you want your visitors to do.Determine what it is specifically that you want your website visitors to do.»»» Purchase products from your online store? Sign up for your newsletter? Join your club? p a g e 12» Make a donation?» Call you for a quote?» Take a survey?List, then prioritize all of these action items - they will become your website’s calls to action.Know how you will motivate them to do it.Think about what kind of incentives will motivate people to take action for each. Limited You should know exactly whattime special offers? Limited availability? A free gift if they sign up now? What is it they your most important calls to ac-want? Can you provide them with a value-add that saves them time, informs them, edu- tion are for your website content.cates them, saves them money? This will form the “carrot” that you dangle in front of yourvisitors. Be sure to make this content available to your website visitors. For example: #1 Buy our product (right now!)Know thy competition. #2 Contact us for an appointmentYou need to understand what you’re up against when it comes to your competitors. Do (so we can motivate you to buyas much research as you can to learn about how your competitors are positioned in the our product)marketplace. Figure out what it is that you can do to fill a niche that they don’t and offer #3 Sign up for our newsletter (sosomething they don’t. Be sure that aspect of your offer is addressed and presented to your we can remind you about us andvisitors in your website content. motivate you to buy our product later). pg. 12 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Website Content DevelopmentCompose Your Website ContentWe’ve all got something to say. But not everyone is a born copy writer who can get what p a g e 13they have to say across to their audience brilliantly in writing, especially in a way that com-pels people to buy something, let alone compel them to buy it in less than 10 seconds.That’s a pretty tall order!Don’t worry, you can do this. Writing for the web is a simplified process that doesn’t requireany great writing skill beyond what you will learn here in this Guide combined with some ofthe basic spelling and grammar rules we all learned in grade school. Benefits first. Answer your website visitor’s question “What’s in it for me?” Be sure to write your content in terms of how it benefits your visitor.For example, telling your visitors that you have over 20 years of accounting experiencedoesn’t mean as much to them as knowing that you can help them understand the new taxlaws, or (even better!) that you can help them get a bigger tax refund this year.What do you think your visitor is thinking when he lands on your website? Is he thinking Of course you can mention that“Hmmm. You know, I really need an accountant with exactly 20 years of experience.” Or is he you have 20 years of experience!thinking “Hmmm. I really need someone who can help me get a bigger tax refund this year!”Always write your content with your visitors’ needs in mind first. Just don’t forget to also mention that your experience enables you to offer better solutions than less experienced accountants can. pg. 13 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Website Content Development p a g e 14Let your visitors know that you help, serve, deliver, solve, fix, increase, decrease, eliminate, sort out, save time, or make it easier.pg. 14 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Website Content Development p a g e 15Get your content together.Filling in the blanksHave you been reviewing the wireframes or the staging area of your new website while it’sbeing built and noticed that your web designer has filled in the pages with placeholder textthat begins with “Lorem ipsum”? That’s industry standard placeholder text we designers anddevelopers use to temporarily fill the space with natural looking words of varying lengthand spacing that closely mimics the flow of actual text. But, at some point we need to re-place all that “Lorum ipsum...” with your actual words - your content. Will you be ready when your web designer says to you: ‘Ok, we’re ready for your content now.’? pg. 15 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. Website Content DevelopmentThis is where you come in. p a g e 16Now is when you must come in to this web design project with a very solid understandingthat first and foremost, this is your website. Your website is being built in order to provideyou with an online presence that gets results you need. There is a lot your web designer cando for you, but only you know your business, your purpose, your history, your goals, yourvision. Your web designer cares, but does not share this knowledge with you. Therefore, it isabsolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt, your job and yours alone, to provide your webdesigner with your website copy. Granted, web designers are pretty darn talented people,but alas, we are not yet mind readers. We also are experts, some are even considered gurus,in our field of expertise - which is all things web design and web development. Some of usare experts in other areas as well, but (and my point is...) seldom, if ever, will you find a webdesigner who is also a quintessential expert in all areas of your industry, your business, yourcompany, or your products. You must take responsibility for your website’s content. If you don’t, nobody else will. pg. 16 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. Website Content DevelopmentA Few Do’s and Don’tsWhen it comes to your website content, there are ways that you can contribute to - ordetract from - the efficiency of the website project when you are working with your webdesigner. p a g e 17DON’T send your web designer to other competitors websites to ‘get content’.This. Is. Just. Wrong. Not only is this horribly bad business practice (can you say plagiarism?),it’s really not actually your web designer’s job to go to another website to “get” content foryou.Think about it. Do you really want someone who has no clue about what your business doesto be in charge of putting together the information that the entire world sees about yourbusiness on your website? andWhat kind of job do you think your web designer will do developing the content for yourmortgage lending company? Or your dog grooming business? Or your party planning ser-vice? What do we web designers know about that stuff? Most likely, a whole lotta nothin’.Probably about as much as you know about PHP and MySQL. Which is why you really don’twant us out there hunting and gathering your material for you. That doesn’t mean that youshould take content from other websites and send it on to us, either. There are services likeCopySentry that major players and little guys alike utilize at a very low cost to ensure theironline content is not duplicated (plagiarized) by anyone else on the Internet. Don’t be “thatguy” who steals his content from others. pg. 17 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. Website Content DevelopmentDON’T fax your web designer scans of printouts of screenshots of websites.Ideally, your web designer needs to receive your content in digital format. This way it can be p a g e 18placed quickly and efficiently into your website’s pages by your web designer.If you provide only printed, faxed, or scanned material, your web designer then has nochoice but to hand-type each and every word into your website’s pages. You can imaginethe added time and cost this means, in addition to the increased potential for errors. If yourweb designer has to typeset all of that for you, I can guarantee you three things. One: theywon’t do it, two: they’ll hire someone else to do it, and three: they will charge you double or What is digital format? Texteven triple what they paid that other person to do it. Also, you’ll add countless hours onto that’s been typed into an emailthe project scope that will only delay the launch of your website. It’s a much wiser decision message, a word processing doc-for you to compose and write your website content and provide it to your web designer in digital ument file, or text (.txt) file, suchformat. as Wordpad or Notepad, emailed to us or uploaded into the project Tip: Web designers can work much faster for you if you provide the URLs to which you’d like to link your managment file sharing area. content. For example, if your company exhibits each year at a tradeshow and you’d like to include that Text should be ready for your information in your copy, be sure to provide your web designer with the correct name and spelling of the link as well as the URL of the trade show’s web page to link it to. This saves an incredible amount of web designer to use for your web time taken while we hunt and peck around Google, hoping we’ve guessed at the correct link. Any and pages with a simple ‘copy/paste’. all details and information such as this is crucial to saving time and decreasing errors on your website It’s ok if you wish to submit your project. copy in a formatted version such as MSWord with bold headlines, italics, etc. Your web designer will use this as a guide to how you’d like the content to appear. pg. 18 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. Website Content DevelopmentDO get your content as close to perfect as possible BEFORE you submit it to your webdesigner. p a g e 19Proofread. Edit. Proofread. Edit. Rinse well, repeat. Then edit again. Only after you’ve proof-read and edited your content and you are confident that your content is “ready for theworld”, is when you submit it to your web designer to place on your website. Images that can be included as content: Tip: Your web designer won’t appreciate it if you ask them to go back and edit and re-edit your con- » Your company logo tent multiple times. Bear in mind that because of this, most web designers will most likely charge you an additional fee for anything beyond a few minor revisions. You’ve been warned. » Photos of your building or store front » Photos of you and/or your staffDO remember that content includes images, as well. » Event photosIf your website content includes photos of your products, your staff, your storefront, etc. » Product photosthen you must deliver those images along with your text to your web designer. » Partners/sponsors logos » Video / Audio filesDigitally deliver all of the images and photos you want to be used on your website in thecorrect sizes and digital formats. Ask your web designer what is their preferred method ofdelivery of your images. There are usually several different options for doing that, none ofwhich are difficult to do. pg. 19 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. Website Content DevelopmentBest Practice Alert:Practice file naming conventionsName your files logically. Following basic file-naming conventions makes it easier for your p a g e 20team to keep track of what documents and images are and where they belong throughoutthe planning and development of your website. For example, it’s better to save your CEO’sbio photo with the file name “abcco-biophoto_jamessmithCEO.jpg” rather than “DSC0018.jpg”. Also remember that when naming files for the web, there should be no spaces in thefile name. Use a “-” or “_” in place of spaces.If you submit files that don’t follow convention, it adds more time and potentially more costto your project because your web designer has to rename everything for you.The logical file name places the images in context within your files as well as your webdesigner’s files for easy reference and searching. You can do the same by segregating yourwebsite content into logically organized and named folders on your computer or withinthe project management interface with the associated documents and images inside, suchas: Company Website / About Page / Executive Team / James Smith with the “company-name-website-biophoto_jamessmithCEO.jpg” and “website-bio-james-smith.docx” insidethe “James Smith” folder. pg. 20 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. Website Content DevelopmentContent that absolutely must be on everysingle page of your websiteBy now, most website visitors expect to find certain information on certain areas of a web-site. But, that doesn’t always mean that it’s easy for you or your staff to put that together,so we’ve gone ahead and provided you with this list of suggested content for each of thesetypical main content areas. p a g e 21 Social Media Links Another item we suggest you includeContact Information every page of a website is a con-Every page of your website should contain your contact information. Email address or on- nection to your social media suchline contact form, physical address (if applicable), mailing/shipping address (if applicable), as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,company HQ (if applicable), phone numbers. Your website visitors should be able to find the Google+, or YouTube. This can beinformation they need to email, call, visit, or ship to all departments. something as simple as the socialAddress: If your geographical location is important to making sales, then you must be sure media icons linked to your socialthat your address appears in the exact same place on every single page of your website, media pages, or it can include anpreferably at the top of every page of your website. area that shows your actual Face- book page wall feed or your TweetsPhone Number: If you know that your website visitors will want to be able to call you and in real time right there on your web-speak to a real person or place an order, by all means be sure site. Including this withthat this is included as well as easy to find on each page of your your content provideswebsite. additional opportuni- ties for prospects andHours of Operation: You may also want to consider placing your customers to interacthours of operation on your website, depending on what type ofbusiness or organization your website is for. with you. Your contact information and social media links are typically placed in the upper right hand portion of every web page. pg. 21 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  27. 27. Website Content DevelopmentWhat to writeFor your Home pageYou never get a second chance to make a first impression.There are two basic rules to follow when it comes to the development of your home page p a g e 22content.1. State who you are and what you do. This lets your visitors know immediately whether they are at the right place.2. Don’t overload your website visitors with TMI. Your home page serves to segment your audience and then prompt them to move around your site. Your home page is a great “preview” of all that you offer, not an index of every single benefit you offer. A well-written home page should serve as a “teaser”, offering a preview of the great benefits your com- pany has to offer. Your home page is NOT the place to discuss each and every benefit you offer, or list each and every keyword or keyphrase in your arsenal. Your home page IS the place to offer your readers a taste, then clearly direct them to exactly where they need to go for the full entrée. Trying to say too much too soon overwhelms the reader, dilutes your message, and detracts from those keywords and phrases that actually apply to the home page. It is better to sprinkle your benefit statements and related keyword/keyphrases throughout your site. You’ve got your product/service pages to address specific product/service benefits, and your “About” page to discuss your company and mission statement, etc. Credit: Laura Crest, Blog Editor for The SuccessWorks Team www.seocopywriting.com pg. 22 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  28. 28. This is an excellent example of home page content. It says who they are, what they do, and Website Content Developmentwhere they’re located. It also tells us who they do it for (ideal customers) and for how longthey’ve done it (establishes credibility). All in one concise sentence (hooray, no TMI!). p a g e 23 View this website home page at http://leadmarkgroup.comIt masters the art of bullet points to condense a lot of information into an easy to read lay-out, then provides access to the 2 most important areas of the website, using calls to actionas headlines with good supportive text to explain and to provide incentive. pg. 23 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. For your About page Website Content DevelopmentThe About page is where your visitors can learn more about you than is apparent to them p a g e 24everywhere else on your website.The About page is often the most highly visited page on a website. The About page can beas basic as a simple ‘Who we are and what we do’, but why waste a perfect opportunity toengage your visitors, earn their trust, and establish credibility?Remember that most of the visitors who click on that “About” link are first time visitors toyour website. As always, consider the reasons why they would want to read the About pagecontent, remembering to focus on your visitors, rather than present only “me me me meme” content. The About page content can include:The About page gives you the opportunity to tell visitors your story as well as remind them • Organizational profileabout the benefits you offer. In addition to being factual, your About page should reflect • History or timelineyour personality (or your company’s personality) and be written in a style that appeals to • Mission Statement / Philosophyyour target audience. Just make sure the information you share on your About page is • Causes and supported charitiesrelevent, succinct, and well organized. • Annual events • Staff bios • Photos • Contact information • Location(s) + map • Hours of operation • Testimonials • Awards / Accreditations • Press / Newsroom • Partners • Employment opportunities • Investor relations information • Privacy policy and/or legal information • FAQ • Media library pg. 24 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  30. 30. How to write it Website Content DevelopmentWebsite Content Writing TipsScannability is the key to your success.Wait, is scannability even a word? In the age of writing for the web, we say yes it is! Whatdoes scannability mean? It means that your website content gets the point across to visitorswho aren’t reading every word, but are instead quickly “scanning” your pages for useful in- p a g e 25formation, stopping only to read what interests them.In order to write effective web content, it’s important to understand how people (don’t) readwhen they read something online. You want to ensure that your website visitors see theinformation that is important to them as quickly and easily as possible, so it’s important toemploy some basic good web writing practices.Some best practices for you to use when you are writing your website content:» Use shorter sentences, words and paragraphs» Limit your writing to just one idea per paragraph» Write very concise text. A good rule of thumb is to cut in half the word count of what you’d typically use when writing for print. (And when you’re done, cut it in half again.)» Make your most important point or conclusion first.» Keep the language simple. Use as little jargon as possible.» Master the art of bulleted lists» Draw attention to important information quickly with highlighted text (bold, colored, larger)» Take the time to develop meaningful headlines and subheadings.» Provide quality helpful content that is kept up to date and relevant to the needs of web readers.» Never, ever write in all caps or all lower case.» Always, always double-check your spelling and grammar! pg. 25 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  31. 31. Website Content DevelopmentStructureConclusion > Explanation > DetailsCompose your copy by presenting it in easily digestible segments on each page. Use the“inverted pyramid” style of content presentation and structure, which means: Start with yourconclusion, then explain, then provide details. p a g e 26 Is your content appetizing? Is your content easily digestible?Heading Is your content irresistable?Subheading (optional)Make your most important point first. Get to the point quickly. Give a short explanation ordescription of your most important point, including the benefit to your website visitor. Conclusion• Key bullet point 1 |Short paragraph explaining bullet point.• Key bullet point 2 ExplanationShort paragraph explaining bullet point. |• Key bullet point 3Short paragraph explaining bullet point. DetailsShort conclusion (1 or 2 sentences) including benefit to visitor. |Call to action CALL TO ACTION pg. 26 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  32. 32. Content Writing Dos and Don’ts Website Content DevelopmentDon’t use jargon and technical terms that only your co-workers and industry peers willunderstand, unless you’re writing specifically for that audience. For example, have you scouted web designers or developers websites only to be informed that they do “Clean XHTML And CSS Markup, Front-End Development (JQuery, Flash), Back-End Develop- ment (PHP, MYSQL)”? Huh? Does this mean anything to you? I didn’t think so.Do use active voice (instead of passive voice). We call this “action” voice! For example, p a g e 27action voice: “Upload documents here.” vs. passive “Documents can be uploaded here.”Recommended ReadingIf you’re interested in learning more about how to develop effective web content, wehighly recommend you spend some time with any or all of these books.» Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition by Steve Krug» Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy by Nick Usborne» The Copywriter’s Handbook, 3rd Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Helpful links: Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly Google Keyword Tool» Killer Web Content: Make the Sale, Deliver the Service, Build the Google Webmaster Tools Brand by Gerry McGovern Google’s SEO Starter Guide The Beginners Guide to SEO pg. 27 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  33. 33. Other types of content Website Content Development p a g e 28Your website content can consist of much more than just words and supporting images.Once you have gone through the exercises above, you can apply these same principles toother types of content which can expand on what you have to offer to your website visitors.Apply the same goals and priorities you use for your text content to these and any othertypes of content you place on your website.Case StudiesDemonstrate your accomplishments and capabilities with compelling case studies.BlogsAdd some interactivity and a personal touch to your website through a blog (or multipleblogs) written by you and/or members of your staff. Blogging has become a very main-stream method for adding fresh content that’s timely, relevant, and engaging. And bonus! Ablog is excellent for your SEO, as well.ArticlesPosition yourself as an authority in your field of expertise by publishing articles on yourwebsite.InfographicsYou know what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words. Try using a graphic as the starof the show now and then, rather than just a supporting player. An interesting infographiccan be a memorable way to convey useful information.VideosAnother method you can use to relay information in a powerful and memorable way is touse videos as part of your website content. Tip: Be sure your videos are well produced andedited. pg. 28 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.
  34. 34. Summary Website Content Development» Start with asking and answering important “5W” questions p a g e 29» Your website content should always address your visitors “What’s in it for me?”» Craft your benefit statement» Know thy visitors» 1. The RTB visitor» 2. The SNTBS visitor» 3. The EC visitor» Know thyself» Know thy keywords» Tell your visitors what you do for them (not just what you do)» Know what you want your visitors to do» Know how you will motivate them to do it» Know thy competition» Compose your website content - Benefits first» Let your visitors know that you help, serve, delivery, solve, fix, increase, decrease, elimi- nate, sort out, save time, or make it easier.» Get your content together. Will you be ready? You must take responsibility for your web site content.» Do’s and Don’ts» Practice file naming conventions» What content must be on every page of your website “If you hire a professional,» What to write: For your home page, for your About page hire a great one. The best one.» How to write it - Scannability is the key to your success Let her do her job. 10 mediocre» Structure: Conclusion, Explanation, Details website consultants working» Content writing Do’s and Don’ts in perfect harmony can’t do» Recommended Reading the work of one rock star.”» Other types of content: Case Studies, Blogs, Articles, Infographics, Videos --- Seth Godin http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/ Now it’s time to decide what content goes where, and how your visitors will find it. pg. 29 The Practical Guide to Web Content Development and Organization © 2011 - 2012 by Riavon Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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