Content is the one thing that can make or break your website’s success. Be sure to give it the attention it deserves!
You have eight seconds.
That’s the average attention span of a human being, according to Time. As a web professional, that means you need to hook website visitors and demonstrate the value of your website in less time than it takes to put on a pair of shoes.
If a website visitor isn’t immediately captivated by your web content, they will probably hit their browser’s Back button. Once you lose them, you’ve lost them for good.
Your website content is the deciding factor that determines whether visitors stay or leave. Creating great website content isn’t easy, but it is an investment that almost always pays off.
What Content Is Exactly, and What It Isn’t
When digital marketers and web professionals talk about content, we’re not only talking about text content like the words you’re reading here. That’s one of the most important content formats, but it’s not the only one.
Audio and video content count too. But these things only become web content when they broadcast an intentional message to your audience.
So if your landing page auto-plays a video of you telling visitors all the greatest secrets of WordPress web development, that’s great. You stand a good chance of capturing the attention of any business or website owner who works with the content management system.
Creating great content often means dividing your time between these different formats. Try to find the best format for the message you want to deliver to website visitors.
How to Create Web Content That Converts
If you managed to keep website visitors engaged for more than eight seconds, you’re doing good. But don’t congratulate yourself just yet – your website won’t succeed unless it can do more.
Specifically, your website needs to convince visitors to perform an action. You might want them to sign up for a newsletter, buy a product, or subscribe to a service. Whatever it is, that conversion is the main thing you’re creating content for.
Creating content that actually does this is no small task. Web professionals that discover the secrets to creating great content are able to consistently deliver marketing results for their clients – and earn a premium for their expertise.
Here are five of the most important things that great content writers always keep in mind when writing for websites:
- Know Your Audience
The better you know your audience, the more direct and targeted your content can be. If you know every detail about your audience’s likes, dislikes, demographics, and pain points, you can create highly personalized content that speaks to them on an individual level. This kind of niche targeting will always outperform broad, general statements about how good your products or services are.
Different audiences respond to different writing styles. Deepening your knowledge of your audience helps you address the unique obstacles that stand between them and their goals. If your website offers information, products, or services that help people achieve their goals, you’re well on the way to long-lasting web success.
There are many ways to cultivate in-depth knowledge of your core audience. Developing buyer personas is one of the best ways to create standardized representations of the real people you expect to visit your website.
- Avoid Abbreviations and Industry Jargon
One of the major mistakes new content writers make is assuming their audience consists of experts. They write expert-level content filled with industry-specific terms and undefined abbreviations that make it very difficult for website visitors to appreciate.
This might work for a university-level textbook, but it doesn’t work on the Internet. Even if you are writing for an expert audience, writing in a clear, jargon-free manner will drive web success much better. Even experts prefer simple, direct content.
Pay close attention to the things you focus on when creating content. Writing about the benefits of a particular product will probably do better than focusing on its features. Use content to make web visitors feel comfortable with the subject you’re talking about, not like they will have to take a test on it.
- Pass the Skim Test
It would be great if all of your website visitors would start from the very beginning, read every word you wrote, and finish at the end of each web page – but that doesn’t happen very often. The vast majority of web users skim to find the content that’s most important to them, then decide whether they’ll actually read it.
This is why those first eight seconds are so important. Your website visitors are actively skimming your page to determine whether it’s worth their time. If your website isn’t skim-friendly, you will not be able to show them that, and they will move on.
Format your content into easily digestible blocks, with large headers and small bulleted sections. The more readable your web page is, the better it will resonate with website visitors.
- Use Images, Infographics, and Video
Text content is valuable, but it’s not the only kind of content you can use to drive conversions. The best-converting websites use a combination of text, images, and video to drive their point home.
Finding the right balance between these formats can be challenging. Video converts well but takes a lot of time and preparation to create. Infographics and animations are less engaging than video but easy to share and cheaper to create.
Text is the fastest content format to create, and it can produce great results on its own, but there is a major difference between low-quality and high-quality text content. Many web professionals invest in great text content, image creators, and video production simultaneously, guaranteeing top-level performance for every category.
- Optimize for Page Load Time
You may have the greatest content in the world on your website, but if it takes too long to load, nobody will see it. Keeping your page loading quickly is an important part of the content creation process.
This is especially true for websites that use a lot of video content because videos take up a lot of storage space and bandwidth. Long-form content generally performs better than short-form content, but if you spice up your 5000-word pillar-style blog post with a dozen videos, you’ll end up hurting your conversions more than you help.
Pay close attention to the way you use different content formats. Text is by far the fastest-loading content format, after which come images. Audio is next, and then video.
This means that the video format should be restricted to your most valuable, highest-performing content – don’t waste valuable bandwidth on video content that doesn’t convert. If you have to deliver additional information alongside your video, use text or images.
Don’t Forget: Great Content Makes Great Websites
Web design and development is just one part of the web experience. Great websites have to feature the right elements in the right places, and offer visitors an intuitive experience – but they also have to offer valuable content that solves peoples’ real-world problems.
Many web agency owners outsource content writing to specialists for exactly this purpose. Others hire in-house writers or establish dedicated production studios for imagery, animations, and video. All of these strategies help to address the core essence of what makes a top-performing website so valuable – the message it delivers to visitors.