Now that you understand the basic elements to building a website for your small business, the next step is to zero in on two areas of your website that can be overlooked and shouldn’t be: Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Before we get into the nitty gritty, one thing you must ask yourself before building out your content and making SEO plan is:
What is the purpose of your website?
Knowing the purpose of your website is crucial, it will help you create content that delivers the message that you intend. Do you want your website to be simple? Do you want your website to be a large eCommerce platform? You need to clearly showcase what your company is all about. This allows you to create a site that isn’t convoluted and filled with nonsensical information. It allows you to present only the information that you need while sticking to your brand.
What is content? It is anything and everything that you place on your website to inform potential customers about your business. Now that you have decided what you want to receive out of your website, you’ll need to build out content for multiple pages. Each page on your website should have a specific purpose that is directly linked to certain characteristics of your business. Here are some tips to help you craft your content.
Know Your Customer
In a previous blog post we discussed how to develop a buyer persona. Understanding the characteristics of your website audience will help shape the way you create and present your content. Remember, you can also have a secondary buyer persona and you don’t want to forget about this group as well. As you draft your content keep in mind who your customer is, detail your content to attract and keep their attention while visiting your website. This will benefit you in the long run and assist your sales process.
Use the Inverted Pyramid Model
If you haven’t heard of this yet, the inverted pyramid is a form of presenting information in writing, and it’s been around for decades. It suggests that you provide the most important information first, then as you make your way down the page you provide more specific information to support your message. For more information on the pyramid method take a look at this article.
It’s incredibly important that right off the bat you are extremely clear about what your business is all about. In a concise statement let the viewer know exactly what your business offers. If you look at REM’s home page, you’ll notice the first thing that you read is “We Provide Business Web Design & Development.” Our viewers know exactly what services and products we offer.
Keep it Simple
Remember, your content shouldn’t be paragraphs of information. The key to creating content is keeping it simple and easy to read. Your website should not act as an encyclopedia of your business, you want to keep it simple and concise. This includes the sentence structure, according to the Technical Communicators Association, a common plain English guideline says a sentence should be an average of 15-20 words. This will help your audience stay engaged with your content.
Write for the General Public
Depending on the business that you are in, one thing to keep in mind is that your audience will likely have no idea what you mean when you use industry-specific vernacular. You are the expert in your field, but this does not mean the individual that is viewing your website is. The rule of thumb is to create content for someone at a grade 7-9 reading level.
Add Calls to Action
Within your content you should strategically place calls to action, they are best used when they match the information that you are reading about. For example, on REM’s home page we have a “Blog Teaser” you will see teasers of our 3 most recent blog posts and as you scan over them you may see something interesting – there’s a “show all posts” call-to-action button right below the teasers to take you to our blog page. On our Website Design page, there is a call-to-action button that takes you directly to our Contact Us page that gives you all the options to get in touch with us.
In addition to text, you want to make sure that you’re making use of imagery on your website. Placing pictures on your website assists in presenting your brand as well as informing the viewer about your company’s products and services. When building websites for our clients, our designers typically request images from you to showcase what your business is about. It’s always preferred and better to use your images, however stock photography is always an option.
Search Engine Optimization
Now that we have some general rules to abide by when you start drafting your content, we can’t forget the importance of investing in SEO practices. When REM designs and builds sites, we keep SEO practices in mind and our content management system (CMS) supports SEO updates. Each one of our sites have predetermined titled tags based on the style of your website, there are areas within WebWiz@rd that allow you to add meta tags and descriptions on the website as well as your web pages. Here are a few more tips for you while building and implementing your SEO strategy.
Thinking strategically about keywords in your page content is a great start. Having them scattered throughout your website is even better if they are placed strategically. When selecting your keywords, you want to make sure your keywords are specific to your business. Another thing to keep in mind is build your list of keywords based on what your potential customers would be searching for. With a keyword dense website, you increase your chances of being ranked higher in search engines.
Keep It Current
Another great practice to increase your ranking is consistently updating your website. After you’ve spent all of this time building content and having it designed nicely, odds are you don’t want to make significant and multiple changes to it. Don’t worry – you don’t have to! Blogging is a great option to identify your website as being refreshed. If you’ve never blogged before, have no fear it’s easy! Blogging is meant to be an informal way of connecting with your audience, teaching them about your products and services and sharing news about your business. Blogging is also another area where you can apply business specific keywords.
Adding links to your website content is also beneficial for your SEO rankings. You can use internal and external links. Internal links are those that you add to your content that link to other pages on your website. External links are those that redirect your viewers to other high-quality websites. Be sure the links that you create on your website have a purpose and are done thoughtfully. For more information on how to achieve proper linking on your website for SEO purposes, I suggest checking this article out.
As we previously mentioned, imagery on your website is a great form of content to express and provide variety to people visiting your website. However, it is very important that your images are compressed and optimized to render quickly upon your web page loading. If you have large, high-resolution images that you’ve added to your website, they may take longer to load – this can damage your search engine ranking significantly. Another great trick you can apply to your images are adding alternate (aka ALT) tags and captions that are keyword specific.
When you’re working on building a website for your small business, you need to take the time to make sure your website not only depicts your brand, but also your business. You need to make sure it’s user friendly and easy to navigate, concise and informative. Your content should be drafted strategically, easy to read and keyword dense.
At REM Web Solutions we have all of the tools to get you moving. It’s what we’re good at and we’ve built the software to prove it. Our CMS WebWiz@rd allows you to add content, images, links and so much more with ease. Our designers work with you to ensure your brand is expressed through the look and feel of the site, they help you create a layout to ensure your content can be easily interpreted. Our developers work tirelessly to ensure your website functions the way that you need it to. Our customer success team will guide you through the entire process by providing training and answering questions throughout your lifetime with us.
In addition to these services, REM has a great marketing team that can help you implement all of these tricks and tips in the correct way to ensure you launch a website that not only looks and functions great, but brings you business.
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re here to help!