You only have one chance to make a strong first impression—and for businesses, most first impressions these days are made through websites. Chances are, those who are new to your company will start learning about the business by scoping out your company website; the content found on the site will form their opinion of what your company stands for, and ultimately whether it is a company worth doing business with.
A pertinent question for business owners to ask, then, is simply this: Just how good is your website content, anyway? This is something of a subjective assessment, yet there are some objective ways in which small business owners can assess the quality of their written website content and make some necessary tweaks.
See What Works
The best place to begin is by getting some stats. Which pages on your website seem to be performing fairly well, and which could use some improvement? To assess this, log into Google Analytics. (If you don’t already have an account, it’s free and easy to sign up for one.) From there, go through each page of your website and see what kind of traffic it’s getting.
Overall hits are important to note, as they’ll help you to determine which pages of your site are the most popular, and which are unpopular. If you’ve got a page that just doesn’t get much traction, you may want to scrap it and write whole new content to see if that makes it a better target for search engines as well as for human readers. Also note the bounce rates on each page; this shows how much time people actually spend reading the content on the page. If a lot of people go to a certain page and then immediately navigate away, it could be because the content is arranged or laid out in a way that appears daunting or cumbersome.
The Key Ingredients of Every Page
Checking the stats will give you some idea of where the strengths of your website are—as well as the weaknesses. From there, it’s time to take a more detailed approach. Go through the site page by page, and check to see that the following critical elements are in place:
- A compelling title. The headline of each page should immediately convey benefits to the reader; it should say exactly what the reader will learn by clicking on the link and checking out the page.
- A strong call to action. You need a call to action on every page of your website, likely at the bottom. The call to action should be just one to three sentences, inviting the reader to take a specific action—to call you for a consultation, to join your email list, or to connect with you on Facebook.
- Easy navigation and a clear layout. When a reader visits each page, he or she should be able to fairly quickly skim through the content and get an idea of what it’s about. If you’ve got big, blocky paragraphs, you’re scaring readers away. Instead, break up content with subheadings, bulleted lists, and paragraph breaks after every three or four sentences.
- Contact information. Your phone number and email address should be on every page of your content. This is partly to dovetail with your call to action, but also because Google uses your company contact information to promote your site to local search engine users!
Your Company Vision
More than anything else, though, make sure your content audit includes this final, all-important step: Read through each page and candidly assess whether or not the on-page content reflects your corporate vision. What is the identity of your company? Is your company defined through its quality products, its speed, its affordability, its thought leadership? Each page of your website should reflect this corporate identity—and if it isn’t telling the story of your brand, it may be time to revise and rewrite!