Agonizing Over Website Content
About the Blog Series:
The blog post series, 5 Critical Mistakes Businesses Make On Their Website, a mini-series where the Driven Digital staff leverages empirical data to explain the major pitfalls of website success for businesses.
#4 : Agonizing Over Website Content (That No One Reads)
Problem: More Page Content. Less Gets Read.Too many companies agonize over the actual words that go onto a webpage. They bring out the Walter Cronkite journalistic beings within themselves and try to perfect every word. In doing so, mostly during the production of their first ever company website, companies miss out on sales and completely miss the boat on what their customers want out of a website-pictures, headlines, and buttons. Sound familiar? Well all too often this happens.
Why It Matters:
Well, actually words don’t matter as much as you think. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, on average website visitors have time to read 20% of a web page’s content. To further expound the point, Nielsen found that the percentage of total amount of words read on a page correlated directly with how many words were on a specific web page. Meaning that the more words on the page, the less likely the website visitor is to read them.
Now, I’m not saying that you should not put all of the pertinent information about your company’s products or services on your website, but that it should be done in a way that allows those not seeking to read a large amount of text content to get the information they need quickly and effortlessly. While the page layout need also to provide simple means for those seeking to read large amounts of content to get their content fix with ease.
The magic words here, “layout” and “effortless.”
How to Create and Layout Content on Webpages For Today’s Website Visitor:
Step One: Content Plan
Make a list of all of the webpages that your company will need for its products or services. Now, next to each product or service page, make a list of the most important content that needs to be displayed on that product/service page. When thinking of the importance of content, think of what content your customers rely on to make a purchasing decision.
This can include the following:
Product Photos or Product Videos
Downloadable Documents (e.g. Brochures, MSDS Sheets, etc.)
Where/How to Buy the Product/Service
Step Two: Content Gathering
Now that you have a list of the pages that you will be needing and the content you’ll need for each page, it’s time to gather it and organize it. The best way to do this is to create a Dropbox account and create folders for each product/service page. Within each product/service page folder upload the page’s content to it-photos, documents, sales copy, etc.
In doing so, you’ll be able to share the Dropbox account information with other company employees to help share the responsibilities for the content gathering and future management of the content. In addition, anytime that information changes (e.g. New photos, new spec sheets, etc.) you simply go to Dropbox and replace the old documents with the new documents.
Aha, you’ve developed a system for organizing your marketing content that is easy to share with both employees and external marketing providers.
Step Three: Page Layout Brainstorming
Okay, you’ve come really far in developing a content plan, gathering and organizing your website’s content. Now it’s time to talk about webpage layout and making it effortless for those visitors who will be reading your content.
The best way to conduct this step is to think about what information does your customer need on a webpage before they have to scroll down the page? Okay, now think about the purchasing decision step you want each visitor to take when they are ready.
Is it to request an online quote, find a local stocking distributor, call your business, or buy online? Whatever that purchasing decision step is, you need to make it easy to find it before someone scrolls on that page.
With this in mind, now visit your competitors online and take note of how they layout their website content. What do you like about it or hate about it? How do they suffice those not seeking to read content and those who want to consume every piece of content before purchasing?
Lastly, visit Internet e-commerce giants Amazon Product Page Layout Example and Walmart.com Product Page Example Layout and take notice of how they layout their product pages. What do you like about these pages? How easy do you think it’s to purchase the product or find out more information? Do you think the recommended products/suggested products section would be beneficial for your company?
Step Four: Page Layout Development
This step involves you working with your web development agency of choice or working with Driven Digital. Within this step you’ll discuss your findings from Step Three and actually work with the agency to hand draw a layout the product/service page that you think will be most optimal for both types of web visitors, those who read content and those who don’t.
From here, the agency or Driven Digital will develop the page layout into a web template that can edited and duplicated for all the relevant product/service pages you desire, as listed in Step One.
Step Five: Page Content Implementation
Now that you have the page layout you desire, you need to pump content into these pages. To ensure that your internal team can make page edits with ease, ask your website development agency to train you on how to add and edit content on the new pages.
Thus, through the development of your new product/services pages your team will become experts at making edits/additions to these pages, as these pages can be the most important pages on your website.
Step Six: Launch and Optimize
As aforementioned, don’t wait for the product pages to be perfect, launch when they're 80% ready. There is always at least 20% of a page that you can fix or improve.
Now that you’re new pages are launched, watch your Google Analytics, online quotes, and total sales data over the next three-to-six months to analyze how the change has helped or hurt your overall customer experience and the bottom line, sales.
Best part about modern website technology, you make improvements as you see fit. Make sure your web company gives you the ability to update minor design and content functions of your product/service pages.
Next Up in the 5-Part Series:
Google is now penalizing companies who have websites that are not mobile friendly. Thus, this means that companies who ignore the needs of mobile website visitors, will now start to see their search engine performance on Google negatively affected by having websites that are not mobile friendly. Mobile friendly means that your website adapts to and functions appropriately on mobile devices. Mobile can mean phone or tablet.