How to be your own Web Editor
Whether your business website is your showcase or your selling space, it is an essential part of what you are offering. If you employ the services of a Web Editor or it is one of the many roles you take on running your own business, you need to have a clear strategy in place for your webpages. Effective websites know who they are appealing to and understand the information worth sharing.
We are delighted that Rachel Hodges, Content Strategist and Copywriter, is here to share her web editing Tool Kit with us – 5 key tips that will help you become your very own successful Web Editor.
Rachel has a wealth of experience helping SMEs achieve greater understanding and improved results with their writing for websites, e-Marketing campaigns and print. She’s worked as a copywriter for brands including luxury retailers Harrods and Selfridges, and has managed and improved websites for organisations in a variety of sectors including online retail, B2B consultants and the professional service industries.
Five expert tips for effective web copy
1. Decide what to include
My simple rule of thumb I always work through with clients is to get them to understand what their ‘business goals’ and ‘user needs’ for their website are. By establishing both of these, you have a cast iron website strategy to which all content can be held accountable. This will help shape what information you include online. It can also help if you work with other contributors that provide content for your website and help you overcome differing ideas of what should be included.
Here’s an example of how knowing ‘business goals’ and ‘user needs’ can help shape your website …
- Business goals: If your business goals are to share company expertise, then you can start to map out real solutions for doing this. Among other things you could blog about your industry know-how, include staff profiles that explain the experience that is held by your team, update a calendar pertinent to your industry, include logos of the associations you are part of.
- User needs: Knowing what your users come to your website for can help you position content on your website. For example, should you create links in the footer to popular but hard-to-find content so it is accessible from every page of the website. Or perhaps there is a popular document that you need to make obvious. Do you have events that would be better attended if people could see more prominently that they were on?
2. Speak the right language
Your website is where potential customers start to understand your products and services and how they can benefit from them. For you to engage with customers correctly you need to use a language that they’ll understand. You also need to make sure that you’re finding easy-to-understand ways to explain the benefits of what you’re offering. Don’t bog them down with what they don’t need to know; the things that only an industry insider like you know. Instead, explain it in everyday language that helps them understand the benefits that are relevant to them.
3. Be clear about what’s important
Website visitors scan across your website pages so quickly that you need to make it clear what they should be looking at. If you have something important to share, make sure it’s clear. Do you have it as a banner on your home page slideshow? Are you using obvious click-on buttons to draw visitors across to it. Are you including links to it in the header of your website so that it appears on every page? All these make it much easier to address user needs.
4. There’s a good reason for sticking to conventions
An effective Web Editor is always looking to keep their website clear and consistent. This should occur as much in the written content as it does in the way the webpages are named. It might seem boring sticking to conventions and having ‘About’ and ‘Contact us’ pages but website users know what to expect from them. Naming your ‘About’ page ‘We’re cool’ and your ‘Contact us’ page ‘Track us down’ just to make a statement won’t improve your user experience or make content easy to find.
Another convention worth using is to include headings in your written content. You’ll see how on this blog post they’ve kept your interest, helped you understand what each section is about and made the text, which is almost 1,000 words long, not such an arduous read. They’re also good for SEO building. More on that in an upcoming blog post or read more about improving your SEO on my website.
5. Get other people to tell your story
It’s not always easy to think of new content worth adding to your website but there is a solution for that. Share your business news and successful client stories through case studies. Not only will they help you demonstrate your talents but also how you work with your clients, sharing the benefits of the services and products your offer. A good way to layout your case study is to use consistent headings that present your solution. Telecommunications company, Kcom use headings called ‘Challenge’, ‘Solution’ and ‘Results’ in their case studies to explain the work they carried out.
Rachel works with businesses building their first website or those wanting to take their current site to the next level. She offers a complete copywriting service for digital and print, can build a voice for your business and carries out training in many areas of SEO and content writing. If you’d like to have a quick chat with Rachel, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 07961 543 597 or visit rachelhodges.co.uk