Small Business Website Guide for Business Owners
Welcome to part 6 of the Small Business Website Guide. In the past we’ve reviewed why websites are important for your small business and how you can plan for a great website. We’ve talked about what you should do on your own and when to hire a designer. You’ve also learned what a successful site consists of and how to get started in keyword research. Today you’re going to learn the essentials of how to write content which is both visitor friendly and search engine friendly!
Here’s an overview of today’s lessons in writing search engine friendly content for small business web:
- Lesson 1: Users don’t read
- Lesson 2: Think like a searcher
- Lesson 3: Simplify
- Lesson 4: Simplify
- Lesson 5: Would you read it?
- Lesson 6: Writing 101
Lesson 1: You don’t read the web, and neither does anyone else.
Wow, that’s offensive. I spend hours and hours writing this Small Business Website Guide and you’re not even bothering to read it.
Well, guess what, we’re all guilty of this phenomenon. There’s always the fringe cases and articles we love, but most of the time we don’t spend a lot of time reading content.
According to Jakob Nielson, you’re not likely to read more than 20% of the content on this page.
What’s the take away?
- Write concisely
- Write scannable content
- Write content that delivers
Lesson 2: You have to think like a searcher to get a searcher’s attention.
I’ve covered this before in how to plan for the best website ever, but you have to know your target audience and their needs.
In other words, you need to do your best to become a psychic.
You’ll need to brainstorm every possible motivation your visitors may ever have for visiting your website. For each of those motivations, you’ll need to think of potential searches. For each of those searches you need to have written content that fulfills the need of that search.
That sounds like a lot of work and effort. It is.
“ANYTHING IN LIFE WORTH HAVING IS WORTH WORKING FOR.”
What’s the take away?
- Research your target audience
- Anticipate any potential search
- Write content that fulfills the need for each search
Lesson 3: Simplify your content.
Simplify your content for better search engine optimization and readability.
Did you finish reading Lesson 1? Probably not so I’ll remind you: the first take away was to write concisely.
Say it in fewer words.
Use words that impact.
If it doesn’t directly add user-benefit to your content, take it out.
Lesson 4: Simplify your content.
Now, since you’re probably only reading 20% of this article, I wanted to make sure to up the chances of you reading this important lesson.
Simplify your content for better results. Read your content out loud. Does it roll off the tongue or is it awkward to say?
Would you run out of breath reading your own article?
Would an audience fall asleep listening to you reading your article?
If any of the answers to those were “Yes”, then it’s time to simplify.
Lesson 5: Would you read it?
This part is hard. Think about the content that you will read all the way through vs. what makes you click away the moment you begin to read.
Be honest with yourself:
- Do you click away if it sounds like an out-right advertisement?
- Do you click away if it takes more than a paragraph to tell you what benefit you will get from the page?
- Do you click away if you can’t scan and find the answer to your question in less than 8 seconds?
I’m sure you can think of more but those are a good start.
Now go back to your article. Pretend that you’ve never read it before. Immerse yourself into the mind of your hypothetical searcher.
Visit your page.
Did you click away?
Lesson 6: Where do you start?
- Think about all of the lessons we just learned as you write.
- Write an outline of your points
It will look suspiciously like the intro points I have at the beginning of each of the Small Business Website Guide posts.
- Go through each point and write about that point.
Try to write it as though you were explaining it to someone you know. It’s helpful to actually pick a specific person to have in mind.
- Once you have your rough draft ready, look for a better way to say it.
This is the simplification part. This is also a great time to see where you can rephrase things to fit in your keywords and key phrases.
- Edit your draft as though you were prepping it for a college professor to read and it’s credit or no-credit. Check for grammatical errors and spelling errors.
- Read it out loud.
Are you using a lot of the same phrases over and over? Pull out your thesaurus. Are you finding it hard to read out loud? Re-phrase it until it rolls off of the tongue.
- Go through each of the web friendly content lessons here.
Can you improve your post by applying any of them again?
- Double check that you’ve included keywords, key phrases and their variations, but not excessively. You can learn more about the myth of keyword density here.
Congratulations. You’re now equipped to write effective, search engine friendly content!
Hold on a second, you’re thinking. We barely touched on how to include keywords and key phrases.
This is not true my friend – the focus here is on the searcher. If you’ll remember we dedicated the first 2 lessons to understanding what they’re looking for and getting into their heads and calculating content to satisfy their motivations.
See how we did that?
Stay tuned next week for the next step in search engine optimization and marketing for small business: blogging!\