Even in today’s high-impact, visual-driven marketplace, words still matter. And the words with the potential to have the biggest effect on your small business—both positive and negative—are on your website.
Website copy differs from brochures and other documents in several ways. Because visitors’ attention spans are usually limited, you have to grab and hold their interest with clear, crisp content. Get to the point quickly—whether you’re describing products or services, or listing your qualifications. Many sites provide a concise description, then give visitors the option to click on a more detailed description.
A similar approach can be used to describe various services, accomplishments, and case studies of how your helped customers.
The information should also be presented in “bite-sized” sections, not long text-heavy paragraphs. Try to keep sentences short, but not to the point where your pages resemble a children’s story. Hyperlinks to other sections of your site or elsewhere on the Web are fine in moderation. Also avoid jargon or terms that customers and newcomers to your industry may be unfamiliar with.
And though your website is designed to promote your business, focus on your customers and what they’re looking for. Instead of a high-tech ad hyping your qualifications, make your website look like a resource for customers in need. Think about the kinds of questions customers have when searching for a business like yours, and address them in your content.
And don’t forget those keywords and phrases that Internet search engines look for. Including them increases the likelihood your website will appear on the results page.
It’s also a good idea to periodically review and update your web copy. Even the most brilliant writing gets stale, especially if the information is out of date. Make sure your content stays in step with things your customers are looking for, changes in your business, or advances in your industry.
If you maintain a blog for your small business, many of these tips apply as well. Announcements about your business are fine, but focus on the kinds of things customers are interested in. Make the posts only as long as they need to be, linking to longer, more detailed information on your website.
For more advice on marketing your small business, contact Raleigh SCORE. We provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To schedule a free appointment with our experienced counselors, go to http://raleigh.score.org, or call us at 919-856-4739.