Every year we hear the same thing from business owners and personal brands:
‘This year, I’m going to sort my website.’
But then clients and customers come first and the sliver of time you do have to work on your website is taken up by procrastination.
What’s my colour scheme?
What should I write on my homepage?
How do I do this bloody techie thing!
If this sounds like you, you are not alone! We see business owners vow each year to sort their websites only to go into the next year with the exact same one.
You know your website is important. You know that you can’t continue with the website you’ve got and that #WebsiteShame is holding your business back.
So 2019 is the time to get it sorted!
In this four-part series, we’ll be outlining the four key pillars to website success so you can get your website live ASAP in 2019.
In this final episode, we’re talking about how you can create content that converts your readers into paying customers.
In this episode, we’ll cover…
– How to plan your website content
– What to consider for your homepage content
– What you should include in your content
– How many words you should include
– What to include on your about page
– What to include on your services pages
– Mistakes you want to avoid
Welcome to Make Your Mark Online podcast, where we help personal brands build and grow a successful business website. Please welcome your hosts, husband and wife team, Martin and Lyndsay.
Welcome to episode 25 of the Make Your Mark Online podcast. This actually episode four of four in this little mini-series. As you know, 2018 is now over and 2019 is here. Part of what we’re trying to do with this podcast and with the Facebook group and the membership as well, is to help as many people as possible create a highly successful website. The problem is, is that quite often you’re just not sure where to start, especially if you’re doing it yourself, and especially if you’re trying to redesign your website from scratch. It feels like a little mountain to climb. This is why throughout this little mini-series, we’re helping you plan your new website.
We’re going to be focusing on four key activities that will help you get your website live quicker so that you can get 2019 off to the best possible start because seriously, we want you to make your mark online in 2019 and stop fluffing around and putting off the website stuff because it will be holding you back. So let’s do this together.
Now this podcast is sponsored by the Make Your Mark Online Membership. This is our signature membership community where we help personal brands build and grow a successful business website. Now the doors for the membership are currently closed but we will be opening them again later on this month, but get your name in there. Join the wait list at makeyourmarkonline.net and we’ll notify you as soon as the doors open.
Now before we get into the show, we have a little announcement to make. As you know, Lyndsay went off on maternity leave last month getting everything ready for our brand new little boy who was due to arrive on the 22nd of December. On the 21st of December he decided to make an appearance a day early. He’s called Lucas Michael Huntbach and we’re so happy that he is nice and healthy and so is Lyndsay as well, and they’re both doing really well. As you might expect, he’s got us wrapped around his tiny little fingers, but we’re loving every second of it. I’m sure you’ll be hearing his cries in the background on this podcast and I’m sure he’ll be making a few Facebook Live appearances in the Facebook group as well so be sure to check that out.
Like I said, I’m going to be covering the podcast for the next few months while Lyndsay’s on mat leave and then we’ll see how things go and then potentially in season three, she will be coming back and maybe even Lucas as well. Who knows? So something to look forward to. But thank you so much for all of your kind messages and support in the Facebook group and privately as well. We’ve even had some of our listeners send us gifts as well which is so amazing. We’ve never received so much handwritten notes and postcards and chocolates and even little baby presents which is fantastic, so I really appreciate that.
So let’s get into the show.
So in the past three episodes we’ve discussed three major elements that will help you get started with your website. First of all, it was understanding your goals for the website and then it was how to structure your website based on those goals, and then it was what to do when you start to think about design. We gave you three different things that you can do to make your design planning easier.
In this episode, the final episode of the mini-series, we’re going to be helping you plan your content. So what content will you need to have in order to launch your new website? I’ll be honest. We review a lot of websites. We do it in our Facebook group. We also have lots of people pay us privately as well for our website critiques. One of the major issues is that there’s a real lack of content. Most of the websites that we review need to improve their content. We’re not talking about blog content necessarily. I’m talking about content for your main pages.
Quite often the mistake that people make is there’s just not enough content there in general on the different pages and it’s quite vague and broad. What we want you to do is to go a little bit more specific and actually talk about the questions that people might have and actually go into a little bit more detail for the specific services.
We said this in the past couple of episodes as well is that on some websites, when they talk about, “We’ve got all of these services. You can hire us for this or this or this,” but they don’t go into the details of what’s included. They just say, “These are our list of services. Please get in touch.” It’s not really enough.
That’s why it’s so important that we dedicate a full episode to this topic, which is plan your content and have some rules to follow so you can make sure that when somebody does land on your website that they are potentially going to fill out an inquiry form or get in touch or give you a call or at least join your email list, for instance. That’s what we’re going to be going through in this episode.
Now in episode two of this mini-series, which was two episodes ago, we actually spoke about the structure: the structure of your homepage, the structure of your website, as in what pages you’re going to have and how many pages. You should have a list of pages that you need to produce content for, so that’s a good place to start in regards to planning out the content for those pages. But we’re going to go through a few of those in this episode anyway.
So let’s start with the homepage. This is an extremely important page and quite often it’s the most highly trafficked page. It should act like a little bit of a reception area. It should be when someone gets to your homepage and they are directed to the next pages that they’re supposed to go to or that are most relevant. So it’s really, really important that you get this right, the language that you use, the content, the wording, everything really. It has a job to do. It has a role to play and it’s very important that you take your time to plan this page.
Everything from your big bold statement, supporting statement: what content are you going to have for this? Things like the buttons. Are you going to say, “Find out more.” Are you going to go to, “Click here,” or “Check them out”? You can use some quite interesting language with your buttons, so this is your opportunity really to get a blank piece of paper out, actually plan out what kind of content that you’re going to have and spend some time on mapping that out. What’s it going to look like? Have you got any text on your homepage? What’s that going to sound like?
Quite often we find that the mistake a lot of people make with the homepage is they don’t have any content whatsoever, or on the flip side, they go into a little bit more detail than they need to. So for instance, we see this a lot with the promo area, or the promotional area where you’ve got your three key services or your four key services. Quite often we see people go into a little bit detail than they need to on these ones, whereas generally you only need a line or two to convince somebody to find out more, to click on a button. So that’s something that we see a lot of.
You might just need to ask somebody a question on those things, but you do need to plan out what that question is going to be. You do need to plan out what your big, bold statement is going to be. Is it going to be a power statement? Is it going to be a question? Is it going to be a guarantee? We spoke a lot about this earlier on in the podcast, I think it was episode nine. We’ll link to it in the show notes. But it’s definitely one of those key messages that you need to get across on your website and we gave you nine ways to come up with a big, bold statement.
Again, everything on your website is an opportunity for you to build up more trust, come across as more relevant. You can even position yourself as an authority with the language that you use on your website. You can make yourself stand out from your competitors. If you’re the kind of business that swears in your content, then fine, let that be your differentiator as long as it’s authentic. You can obviously use the language and the content on your website to help direct people to where they’re supposed to go. But you need to do something and you need to plan it out. It’s not enough to just copy what other people do because you’re not going to stand out and that’s not going to position your services differently from your competitors. This is why it’s so important to plan out your homepage and the other pages as well.
So what other content might you have on your homepage? You might have a section of text. You may have to come up with maybe 100 words for a little section of text that you’ve got on your website template that’s something that you need to fill out. This might be something like, “You may have struggled to find somebody who can edit your book or who can design your logo and we can help.” You’re actually talking about the problems that people are facing. You’re automatically tackling the questions that somebody might have. You’re not just saying, “We’ve been in business for all these years. We’re amazing. We’ve won loads of awards.” You’re actually talking the problems and concerns that somebody might have in the hopes that they’ll stick around longer and then click on that “Find out more” button or they’ll subscribe to your email list.
That leads us on nicely to that content. What’s that going to look like? Is it a question? Is it a concern? Are you talking about the pain points or are you talking about something exciting that you want somebody to get from your website? Do they need to fill out their email website? This is your opportunity to put it all down on paper. This is why this episode is so important because you know what goals that you’ve got for your visitors and for your website. You know what pages you’re going to have and obviously in the previous episode we talked about design, which will bring it all together as well.
Now this is the content that’s going to really get people on your side. The content has the power and the words that you use have such a force that can help people buy from you a lot quicker. That’s why people pay so much money for content writers. It’s just so important. Even if you’re hiring a content writer or a copywriter and a technical writer, whoever it is that you go to, ideally you still need to plan it out and that’s why this episode is so important. So think about all of the places on your homepage that you’re going to need to create content for and then use this time to map that out. What does it look like on your template? Did you find a theme that you like the look of? How many sections of text does it have? What would you put in those sections of text?
Actually get the demo of a theme in front of you and then mark out all of the words, where they are, and then what you would replace them with. It’s really important that you do this, especially for the homepage. And remember, you shouldn’t really need to do any selling on your homepage. It’s all about convincing people to stay on your website for longer, click through to another page and then you can go into the content a little bit deeper. Then you can educate them on the individual pages.
Nobody goes to your homepage and decides, “Oh, this is the person for me,” the first time they land on your website. “I’m going to ring this person or get in touch and give them loads of money.” People visit your homepage to make sure they’re in the right place, to allow you to build up a little bit more trust and to allow people see you as more noteworthy. Then they’ll go into a little bit more detail and then they get in touch and then they might join your email list and then they might buy from you. So it doesn’t all happen from the homepage which is why you don’t need a lot of content on there, but the content you do have is extremely important to get people through to the service pages which we spoke about in the past. They’re very important pages. These are the pages that will help people buy from you.
Chances are you’re going to need to have an “about” page. Most websites have them. They are very important pages. We’ve never built a website without an “about” page and whenever somebody says, “Do we really need one,” we always say, “Yes, yes, yes. You do.” It’s really important that you have an “about” page because people like to know a little bit more about who they’re working with. They don’t necessarily want to know about your background. They just want to know if you’re trustworthy.
That’s why so many people visit the “about” page. They want to know who you are, they want to know are you capable of helping them solve their problems. So be aware that it’s not all about you. A lot of people think it’s the page where you can actually just brain dump your previous work history onto a page in the hopes that people will sit there and read it with a cup of coffee. It doesn’t quite work like that. Yes people like to get to know you a little bit more and a little bit about your personality, but just a little bit. Easy enough.
The rest of the “about” page should be about what they are having an issue with. With us, it’s does your website make you feel like putting your head in the sand? Do you have website shame? Are you struggling? Have you hired web designers in the past and you’ve not gotten the website you wanted? Have you lost money before? These are the reasons that you want to work with us. That’s what is should be about really. It’s about the problems that your potential customers are facing and how you can help.
Quite often when we write an ‘about’ page, because we do occasionally write content for our clients, we write at the top rather than “about me” or “about us”, we actually reframe our minds by writing “about how we can help”. That just sort of flips that switch in our heads that allows us to create content that’s customer focused rather than business focused and that helps. We always have a little bit of information about the people behind the business which is definitely something you should have, but more than anything, as soon as someone gets on the “about” page it should be. “You’re probably struggling with this. This is why I can help. This is what I’ve done in the past and this is why you should care. This is how it relates to your problems and your business. Get in touch.”
Again, that’s something else that you need to have. You need to have call to actions on your pages. Every page should have an action you want somebody to take. It should have a call to action. Your “about” page is no different. Every page is a sales page on your website, it’s just that you need to be tackling the problems that people are facing.
So an “about” page is very important. We have, I think, close to 800 or 1000 words on our “about” page because we have a lot of problems that crop up that people are talking to us about. “We hired this web designer. It didn’t work because of this. It didn’t work because of that.” We’ve just collated that information and put it on our “about” page. It doesn’t look like there’s a lot of text on there, but there is actually quite a lot and it allows people to get to know us a little bit more, but it also allows people to get to know our processes and a little bit more about what they’re going to get when they work with us. So an “about” page is really important. Take the time to plan out the content for this page. Take a look at our website if you need some guidance as well and what we’ve done, but it is very important.
Next we have the service pages. This is where it gets really interesting actually because when we talk about content, we talk about website content, quite often people think about blog posts and writing really in-depth blog posts. Get lots of traffic to your website and then the money will start rolling in. But we’ve actually found that service pages are the ones that generate the sales and the inquiries. You might get lots of traffic via these big long form blog posts and in fact you do want to do those. We definitely do them as well to draw in the traffic and draw in the numbers, but to actually get somebody over the finish line, to actually get somebody to fill out that inquiry form or get in touch, the service pages are absolutely vital.
It’s very important that you have a page for each dedicated service. If you offer all these different services, you need a page for each individual thing. You don’t just want to have a vague broad statement that says, “We offer these services and we are great at delivering service. The customer service is fantastic. Read our testimonials.” What you want is you want to split your services into individual pages.
You want to write at least 500 words plus if you can. Our service pages are probably again, close to 800 or 1000 word mark because each individual service is different. You’re not going to speak to every single person the same way which is why you need to talk about the individual services, the problems that people faced in the past with these services, and why you’re different.
Show a little empathy. Show people that you care about their individual problems. When you don’t have an individual service page for everything, what you’re essentially saying is, “These are the services I offer. I’m not really going to tell you anything about them, but I want you to give me your money anyway and then we can talk about them.” It comes across a little bit arrogant and maybe a little bit lazy sometimes when we see this. That’s why it’s so important.
People have questions. People are doing more research than they ever have done before. That’s why it’s so important that you go into detail about the services. Don’t be afraid to talk about the processes. You can even talk about pricing if you’re really brave, which is a good thing. That’s what we like to do. But you absolutely need to be talking to that person who is looking for that key service. It’s just not going to work anymore by having 300 words on a service page that just lists your products and services. It’s definitely not going to work. It’s not going to allow me to learn more about how you are different from your competitors and why I should work with you as opposed to them.
This is quite often what we see a lot of websites do when we’re reviewing them. So go deeper into that service, specific problems that your customers are facing, what questions would prospects have before working with you. These are the kinds of things you need to be talking about on the service page. Are you addressing these? Don’t just talk about you’re here, people talk about features and benefits and getting a little bit more clinical about it here. But a lot of websites we see that do go into a bit more detail, they tend to focus on the kind of benefits all through the content, so, “You’re going to feel better. You’re going to live a happier, healthier life. It’s going to be incredible.” They avoid talking about the specifics of the service as well.
So don’t forget about that. Don’t just get your copywriter head on and just talk about benefits, benefits, benefits. You do need to give some information away as to what somebody’s actually going to get when they pay you that money. We were reviewing a website not long ago and for the life of me, I couldn’t work out what I was actually buying because they just kept saying, “You’re going to get more clients. You’re going to get more sales. It’s going to be amazing.” It’s like, yeah, but what am I actually getting? What is the tangible thing that I’m going to get when I give you this money? What am I getting back? I don’t just want this kind of dream life that you’re trying to sell me. I want to know the specific things that I’m going to get.
That’s why people care about specifications of cameras and TVs. When you’re buying things you want to know the specifics sometimes. It’s okay to know that you’re going to feel great after it and it’s going to be amazing and you’re going to live a happier life, but you still need the benefits and the features as well. They go in tangent. So don’t just focus on selling the big dream at the end of it. You do need to give people some key information and that’s why service pages are so important.
A few other things to be aware of: make sure that the content sounds like you as well. Would it be the kind of thing that you would say if you were sat with a client and they were asking you questions and you were answering them? Or does it sound like you’re putting on a little bit of a writer’s mask? You don’t want that to stop you from sounding like yourself. You want to be authentic. So ask yourself, does this sound like me? Write out the content for the pages, give it to a friend or family and say, “Does this sound like I wrote it?” If it does, then great. Keep doing it. But if not, you may want to revisit it because at the end of the day, people want to know that they’re getting to work with you.
If they speak with you on the phone or meet you face to face and they read your website, if it all sounds like the same thing, then fantastic. Nobody’s going to get any surprises when they pick up the phone and they start working with you and they start talking to you. They’re like, “This doesn’t sound like the person on the website at all.” That can be a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s best to keep everything consistent.
Another thing, avoid the fluff and get to the point quickly. What do you want people to understand? People’s attention span isn’t as good as it used to be, especially on the internet, which is why you need to get to the point quickly. So say what you want to say and say it quickly, but obviously be authentic as well.
So there’s a few tips there, but like I say, if you need any additional help with the service pages, then feel free to check out ours. Share a link to a Google doc perhaps in the Facebook group and we can help you with that as well.
Other pages you might need: contact pages. There’s not generally a lot of content on a contact page. It’s best to get straight to the point. If somebody clicks on the contact page, generally they want to get in touch. But just be aware that when you do have content, make sure it’s authentic and make sure that you’re giving people clear direction. Just accept that people don’t want to be messed about. They want quick answers, quick communication and you want to make it easy for people to buy from you as well.
So use regular language. When you’re labeling your menu items, don’t use fancy words for your blog. Don’t use the “journal” or “our thoughts”. Get to the point. It’s a blog. It’s an “about” page. It’s your service pages. Try to not have anybody think too much when they get to your website. It’s really important.
So again, use this time to plan out the different core pages on your website: what you’re going to talk about, what do you need to sell, remember your goals, remember your structure and how this content is going to fit into all of that as well. It’s really, really important. I felt it was especially important to have a dedicated episode to this.
Again, there’s lots of other podcasts that we’ve done, lots of other episodes that we’ve done that break into these different sections in more detail, but this is your opportunity to plan it out before you touch your website. Before you actually start building anything it’s best to get an idea of what content you’re going to have on the different pages and take a few hours at this stage to plan what content is going to go on those pages. If you’re not writing it, then write down bullet points based on what we’ve gone through in this episode and then give it a content writer. There’s plenty of content writers in our Facebook group. If you’re struggling, then we can give you … We can tag a few people in there and you can reach out to them yourselves.
This is just so important that you’ve got this right. Far too many times we have people launch their website and they’ve not got anywhere near enough content and then they come to us and they struggle because it’s not working. They’re not getting the visitors. They’re not getting the conversions, and quite often this is one of the reasons which is why it’s so important.
So that concludes our four part mini-series on planning your website for 2019. Just by using these four key principles you can dramatically speed up the process of getting your website live sooner.
So I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know if you’ve got any questions at all. I hope to hear from you in the new year to find out what you’ve been getting on with following these episodes. Like I said, ask if you have questions at all. If you do need some support with this, some guidance, and you just need a helpful community to help you get your website live quicker, then check out the membership. Check out the website at makeyourmarkonline.net and join the wait list. As I mentioned, we will be opening the doors later this month, so make sure you’ve got your name down.
So I hope you found that episode useful. Let me know how you get on with exercise and don’t forget to download the worksheets to help you with this as well. If you didn’t already know, we have a free Facebook group. We’d love you to join. If you head over the jammydigital.com/facebook. We try to do regular training. We do website critiques every week. We’d love to help you get better results with your website as well.
So that’s it for today’s episode. I wish you a happy new year and we can’t wait to help you get massive results with your website. We’ll see you next time on the Make Your Mark Online Podcast.
Web designer & marketer for small businesses. Martin is an experienced search engine and web design specialist, with over a decade of experience working with large corporations to small businesses.