The blank slate. The tabula rasa.
Don’t we all cower before its implacability? As a matter of fact, I’m cowering right now – so much I want to say on this subject, but oh, the whiteness of this cursed WordPress Edit Post window!
However, I soldier on entirely for you, dear readers. ::gag::
In my many weekly conversations with clients and potential clients, the biggest stumbling block to getting a new website going – or breathing new life into an old, stagnant one – is content. We’d all rather discuss pretty colors, typefaces, and arranging
deck chairs on the Titanic graphic elements, but ultimately it comes down to having something to say.
Not only must you have something to say, that something must serve the readers visiting your website looking for information, and ultimately serve you by nudging those readers into becoming people who pay you money.
So – seasoned business owners and professionals ask me – “what should be on my website?”
Start with 7-10 pages
First, the basics.
You need a home page. This is the one that stumps most people the hardest because it’s the most important. Odds are, readers will land there first and you have 2.5 seconds to convince them, both with words and your design, that you’re trustworthy and eminently hireable. Therefore, this should be the LAST of your initial 7-10 pages that gets written – it will serve to provide a summary of the rest of the information, possibly link to the interior pages you’ve created, and draw the reader further in. You can’t see the forest for the trees at this point, so write the rest of the pages first and circle back around to the home page.
You don’t need to write a novel. We find that most topics can be covered in about 350-500 words, tops. If it gets longer than that, consider creating another page. To put that into perspective, the end of this sentence is word 326.
Keep separate topics separate. If you are a lawyer, and you practice personal injury law, you know there are many types of personal injury. Automobile accidents, medical malpractice, brain injury, pedestrian injury – each one gets a page. You can create a master page that links to the specific pages, but don’t waste the opportunity to create a separate page for each one. This gives you that many more opportunities for specifically targeted SEO – if I’m searching for brain injury, don’t make me read about all that other stuff. Our client Spraggs & Co. has done a great job of this.
Notice how your page count is already growing?
Tell people about YOU. Seriously. The “About Us” page on every website is usually the page with the second or third highest traffic. People want to know who they’re dealing with – whether they’re filing for bankruptcy or buying a dress. Try VERY hard not to hide behind third person pomposity on this page – so you went to Dartmouth – yay – but so did a lot of people.
What do you really CARE about? What makes you leap out of bed every day, eager to serve your clients? Get personal – prospects love it. If you’re reading this post, odds are you’re not running a Fortune 500 company – yet – so YOU are really your hottest commodity. Don’t sell it short.
Make it easy to get in touch. Don’t forget the all-important Contact page. Also in the top 3 for traffic. Any web designer worth a plug nickel won’t let you forget this, but it can be another opportunity to let people know the best way to work with you.
So you got the basics done and you got that website launched so you could start getting indexed by Google and feeling real as the Velveteen Rabbit. Now what? How do you keep it fresh and stay ahead of the competition?
Keep writing. You can do this with static pages or you can do this with your blog – your choice, but keep writing.
But how, you cry plaintively? How can I possibly come up with more to say after breaking my brain over the first 10 pages?
Your prospects and existing clients/customers will write the rest of them for you.
We’ve all seen those lame Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages that clearly don’t answer any REAL questions – they’re just another self-serving marketing piece. However, if you are doing any kind of business at all and interacting with people, you’re answering questions every day.
You’re answering them via email, you’re answering them over the phone, you’re answering them across your desk. Hundreds of them. Odds are, about 90% of them are the same from interaction to interaction.
Don’t waste all that beautiful content!
When you find yourself writing an email to a client explaining how something works, before you send the email – cut and paste the info into your WordPress Dashboard and save it as a draft – it takes less than a minute. Then go back to work. I’ve got stuff like that sitting in my Dashboard that has been in there for months, just waiting for me to polish and post.
When you hear yourself giving the same speech across your desk to a client, jot down the talking points as you go.
While you’te talking on the phone, instead of doodling yet another balding alien, record what you’re saying instead of just what they’re saying.
Don’t be afraid to be very specific. Even though the information you imparted might be extremely specific to a situation, go ahead and post it. It’s an SEO goldmine because its very specificity means you won’t have a lot of competition – and a prospect who finds you due to that specific keyphrase is just as yummy as any other. Our client Howard Levy has done a brilliant job at this with his IRS law website and blog.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Don’t forget to polish up your keywords with a tool like Scribe and the information contained in our e-book, 7 Common Sense SEO Tips for YOUR WordPress Website. You can grab a free copy right at the bottom of this post.
Before you know it, you’ll have a website that’s the envy of all your competitors – and they’ll know about you because they keep seeing YOU at the top of the search results every time they Google themselves!
Does all this still make you feel tired and sweaty?
Get a leg up with our content marketing service.