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Website Planning Guide Part 7: Develop Messaging and Content

Your firm’s messaging and content will make or break your website.

An obvious point? Perhaps to some. But when I look around the web it amazes me how many sites present messages that are:

  • Generic
  • Stale
  • Wordy
  • Unclear

 
And content that is:

  • Way too long
  • Filled with jargon
  • Formatted as thick, un-skimmable paragraphs

 
Before you sit down and write a novel of fluffy jibber-jabber for your new site, take these three tips into consideration.

1. Find a Unique Position that You Can Support

Often your first and only chance to connect with web visitors will be through the main message on your homepage. Your goal should be to quickly communicate your unique value as a brand. What is your brand’s position in the market?

Stay away from generic descriptors like “high quality,” “the best people,” or “unmatched value.” Instead, find what truly sets your firm apart from competitors and let visitors know right away.

Not sure what differentiates your firm? Successful professional services companies conduct brand research to identify how they are perceived in the marketplace. Uncovering differentiators in this way will allow you to communicate unique value with confidence.

2. Tailor Messages for Different Audiences

Once you convince visitors to stick around for a bit, your next goal is to lead them down audience-specific pathways. Lead visitors to sub pages of your website and deliver them tailored, targeted messages.

If you conduct brand research, you will uncover what concerns your audiences have or what proof you need to sway them. Use this information to craft specific messages that connect with visitors on a more granular level. Often a great way to communicate these messages is within the headlines of sub pages — the first place visitors will direct their attention.

3. Keep Text Light and Benefit Oriented

When writing the actual bulk of text on your pages, it’s always a good to idea to consider a professional copywriter. A professional that understands how to write for the web will:

  • Keep content short and sweet
  • Avoid heavy blocks of paragraph text
  • Focus heavily on bold text call-outs and bullet points
  • Create copy that is benefit oriented, not service oriented

 
From keyword research earlier in the process, you should have a good idea of which words and phrases to blend into the text. Work closely with your search engine consultant and copywriter to ensure you achieve effective keyword densities on the pages you choose to optimize.

All too often, firms wait until the last minute before they think through their messaging and content creation. I urge you to at least start working out a plan before talking to a designer. It will make the design process much smoother.

Looking for more information on website planning? Check out these related posts:

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