Over 70% of small businesses have their own website. As more and more follow suit, it’s important for business owners to consider how their website comes across to customers. Everyone knows that an attractive design is a major asset when it comes to enticing audiences. Content tends to get lost in the conversation—even though it’s what really does the selling. Think about it. Maybe you’ve sat through a sales pitch that, for all intents and purposes, looked aesthetically pleasing and perfectly professional. But the substance wasn’t that impressive. Did you buy whatever it is they were selling? We doubt it.
Good web content is key to sharing your business’s identity and benefits. Your website often serves as a first impression and maybe even be the deciding factor that convinces a visitor to become a patron. That doesn’t happen by simply putting words on the page. It takes a blend of marketing strategy, creative storytelling and time commitment to develop content that truly connects with your target audience. Most businesses lack at least one of those critical components. That’s where an agency can come in handy.
Find a Partner, Not a Provider
The right agency won’t just accept payment, churn out content and call it a day. Look for an agency that will be a partner. They’ll be eager for your success and have a detailed yet flexible method to help you obtain it. Their processes should require your involvement, not only to better understand your business but also to build trust. Consider a partner who takes steps like these when it comes to creating website content:
Building a Sitemap
This step is important whether you already have a website or not. If this is your first website, this serves as the starting point for content and navigation. If you have a website, the process involves reviewing every page and piece of content on your site. Depending on how much information you have on your website, a full content review and site audit may be necessary to build an effective sitemap.
Your agency team should make a list of pages they think you should keep and those that should be updated, combined or discarded, and the rationale for those decisions. They’ll seek your input and approval while still looking out for what’s best for you and your customers. By the end of this stage, you should have a confirmed site navigation that provides visitors with an optimal customer journey experience.
Conducting an Interview
Following a site audit, a good agency should sit down with you before starting any writing. This is an opportunity to speak openly about your business and your vision for it. It’s also where marketers should challenge you to think about your business from new perspectives. One of the biggest benefits of working with an agency is their outside viewpoint and unbiased assessment of how your business fits within its industry.
A good agency will ask about your products or services and what makes them great, but they’ll also dig below the surface. They’ll want to know who your target audience and competitors are, what goals you have, where you draw inspiration from and how you want to come across in your content. In-depth questions help marketers align written content and calls to action with your business objectives.
Writing With Strategy and Creativity
Effective web content should weave strategy and creativity into a cohesive message. That message should emphasize the benefits your offerings provide to customers before highlighting the actions you want site visitors to take. Agency writers know how to consistently apply your unique value proposition (UVP) throughout all site content. They integrate SEO and user experience (UX) best practices to help drive traffic, engagement and conversions. A good agency will want your feedback throughout this process until everyone is satisfied with the end product.
Many businesses make the mistake of “setting and forgetting” content. What we mean is they’ll complete a new site or major content refresh and not really take a look at it again. While you don’t need to be constantly updating content, a good agency will let you know that content should be revisited on a regular basis. This process ensures that your content is still meeting best digital practices like Google’s content standards, and aligning with customer wants and needs. And those do tend to change more frequently than you might think!