Have you ever had to give a presentation or had speak about something and you feel totally unprepared?

Like you don’t know what you’re supposed to talk about, or any of your main points, so you just… ramble on and hope it comes together?

That’s what it’s like to build a website without having your content first.

There have been a few times where my sweetheart clients insist I build a website for them before providing any content for me. “Can’t we just build a website and then write the content?” Whenever I obliged, the direction of the project constantly changed, and I ultimately had to bill for excess time spent on making changes. It’s just not possible to create meaning from blocks of Lorem Ipsum and well-curated stock photos alone.

To build a quality website that makes sense and sells for your business, you have to understand what you’re selling, and know your company’s voice. The rest is easy. So, how do you write content for your website?

Outline your offerings.

Your website is not your business. Your website serves your business to your customers. It’s easy to spin your wheels trying to write catchy headlines, body content, and blog posts… But you need to have a big-picture understanding of what you’re actually trying to sell, before you can start selling. Start by outlining what you’re offering to your customers, whether that’s services, products or both. Then, add specific details under each main bullet point.

  • Service A
    • Add some details
    • And some more details
  • Service B
    • Add some details
    • And some more details

 

Add the rest of your navigation.

You’ve got a great start with your service/product outline! Now it’s time to figure out what other content you’ll need and where it will go on your website. Add on to your service/product outline in a way that makes sense. This way, your website is built around what you are offering to your customers. Here is an example:

  • Home
    • Introduction
  • Services
    • Service A
      • Add some details
      • And some more details
    • Service B
      • Add some details
      • And some more details
  • About
    • About the Company
    • About Me (Bio)
  • Contact

 

Know, and write for your audience.

Now it’s time to flesh-out your outline. To get yourself started, take a look at a bullet point and write a few sentences for each one so that you’re explaining it to one of your customers. You can avoid sounding desperate and sales-hungry by writing the way you and your customers would talk to each other face-to-face.

Think about your customers or industry peers. How do you talk to each other? My customers are mostly women. They speak warmly, we joke and get goofy sometimes, and we discuss things professionally and to-the-point when it’s time to get down to business. So when you write like you’re talking directly to your customers, it’s easier to connect. We attract what we communicate. By eliminating the puffed-up jargon and industry lingo, you’re not alienating people, you’re making yourself accessible. You’re providing an authentic connection.

 

Write customer-focused headlines.

It’s generally regarded as best practice to write for skimmers. This means, write for people who quickly skim your content and mostly read headlines. But more specifically, take the focus off of you, and write headlines that are focused on what your customers needs. Marie Forleo has a great tip: put the spotlight on how you’re serving your customers. When you shift the focus from you, to how you’re serving your customers. For example, if we’re writing a headline for the Secretary Deluxe homepage…

change this: Secretary Deluxe is a branding & web design studio in Minnesota.

to this: Need a logo or a website? Let’s create something gorgeous that entices and delights your customers!

See how it shifts from describing the company, to describing what the company can do for the customer? It provides crucial information without having to make the customer dig.

 

Conclusion

Writing copy for your website is a little bit of homework, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Start with the boring stuff!  Outline your offerings to give yourself a reference sheet. Add to your outline to build out your navigation and see where else you’ll need content.Then, flesh it out. Write a few sentences for each bullet point. Don’t worry about writing too much,  you can always edit down. And create some headlines that center your customers. Customer-focused is always catchy.

 

Need help writing content for your website? Request your free consultation!