By: Alison R Bowyer Freelance Copywriter firstname.lastname@example.org
Bite-size writing tips for small business owners: how to write content for your start-up website
So you’ve had a great idea and you’ve decided to take the plunge and become self-employed.
One of your first priorities is to work out how best to market your business. Maybe you’re already networking like mad, dabbling with social media and eagerly awaiting your new business cards to arrive in the post. Exciting times ahead.
And now you’ve got your head round that website builder and you’re having loads of fun designing a cool website to promote your service. Everyone needs a website, right?
It’s easy at this stage to get carried away with the look and design of your website. But don’t underestimate the power of words.
When a reader visits your site, there’s a very small window of opportunity to grab their attention and keep them interested.
Design is important, but ultimately it’s the words that have the power to engage your reader and persuade them to choose you over your competitors.
Your Home page will need to grab attention and compel your reader to keep reading. The About page is an opportunity to tell the reader more about you and your business, while your Services page should go into more detail about what you offer and crucially, the benefits of your service to your reader.
It’s important that your writing is accurate and grammatically correct. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it needs to read like an essay for A Level English. Grammar rules can be broken to create more of an impact (such as starting a sentence with ‘And’).
It’s okay to inject your own personality into your writing and write as you would speak to your clients. Whether you’re writing B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), it shouldn’t really matter.
The point is you’re writing for your fellow human beings, so write in a clear, concise style that’s easy to read and understand.
It might help you to thing about it as talking rather than writing. Think about the words and language you use in everyday conversation and go with that.
There’s no need to pull out the Thesaurus and find a posher word for the one you want to use (notice I said ‘use’ not ‘utilise’). Use everyday language that the reader can relate to.
Show a clear call to action on every page, so your reader knows exactly how to contact you. Make it easy for them!
I’m no expert on design and my own website and blog are deliberately simple in design, so that the focus is on my words.
But here are a few basic tips (for more advanced advice, look out for blogs by website designers):
- Black print on white background is easier for most people to read.
- If you have a background image, make sure the writing isn’t obscured by it (one of my clients had their contact number in dark blue text on a lighter blue background, but it was almost impossible to read).
- Break your copy up into short paragraphs. Too much block text is off-putting to some readers.
- Check links work properly and that your website is easy to navigate. Again, if it’s a DIY website, ask a friend or family member to check it and give feedback.
- Images can support your writing and make the page more attractive to the reader, but make sure they work well with the words. And if you don’t do your own photography, be careful of copyright (don’t steal images from other websites or Google).I use Pixabay, which is an excellent resource for restriction free images. There’s no charge either, though there is an option to make a donation via Paypal.
Be original. It’s okay to get ideas from other websites, but don’t pinch the content. Think about what you want to say and put it in your own words. If it’s an old idea, try to approach it from a different angle.
Finally: proofread, proofread, proofread. There’s evidence to suggest that errors on your website can lose you business. So take the time to read it carefully. If you know someone who spots spelling errors a mile away, ask them to read it for you. A second pair of eyes is invaluable; it’s always easier to spot other people’s mistakes.
Taking the time to write clear, persuasive content for your web pages will give your site the best chance of turning readers into customers. And once your site’s gone live, remember to keep adding fresh content to build your following and get found on search engines.
This is your opportunity to show the world that you’re a professional at what you do. Grab it!
Until next time.
Alison is a Freelance Copywriter in Milton Keynes specialising in web content and blogging for business.