How to write website content

Capture and Keep Visitors’ Interest with Great Content

We’ve all done it when surfing the net: we click on a site that looks potentially interesting, then the heart sinks, we give a deep sigh and hastily hit the “back” button.  Obviously, every individual is different and what appeals to one person may not appeal to someone else.  After all, people have different tastes in art, music, literature and food, so why should internet surfing be any different?

If you have a business that relies on internet marketing, it is vital that, somehow, your website does more than just capture the interest of your visitors initially; it must also retain their interest for long enough for them to decide that they like the product or service you are offering.  Ideally, they will then become repeat visitors and loyal customers. This can only be achieved if you have great content throughout and a clear content marketing strategy.

The average session length for looking at a website is around 10 seconds.  When you consider that some sites, perhaps well-known online retailers, may have potential customers spending a few minutes finding the exact item of clothing or food that they wish to buy, it is obvious that visitors spend just a couple of seconds looking at other sites to reach this average.  The question then, is how to write content that captures and keeps visitors on your site.

First Impressions

The home, or landing page of your website is critical and determines whether your visitors will stay long enough to consider the rest of the site.  It is the flagship for your overall content marketing. It therefore has to achieve the following:

  • Have attractive, original images that grab the attention. These might include a short video or an intriguing sequence of images in a slideshow. A light touch of humour might also work well.
  • Have clear, well-written text that enables you to see what the site is about and encourages you to investigate further.
  • Provide easy navigation of the site, whether you have ten pages or a thousand.  Customers like to be able to find their way around the site easily, whether this is through drop-down menus under slider headings at the top, or links via a choice of buttons at the side.
  • Avoid anything that might potentially irritate your visitors, such as automatic music or a voice-over that starts as soon as the site opens; this may be ok once, but repeat visitors are likely to find it an annoying gimmick and simply go elsewhere.
  • Have a balance of informative text and interesting images.  Just enough information is needed on this first page, but it has to be well-written and grammatically correct.  Too much text looks boring unless it is broken up by eye-catching, relevant images or split into sections with sub-headings.

IN SUMMARY, YOUR LANDING PAGE MUST HAVE GREAT CONTENT!

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Maintaining interest

There are billions of internet users worldwide and many of these also shop online.  It’s worth carrying out a little research of your own the next time you are surfing the net for a particular item or service.  Instead of giving the deep sigh and hitting the “back” button, take a couple of minutes to decide WHY you don’t want to stay on that site.  This will help you decide how to plan your own content marketing strategy and what it should (and shouldn’t) include.

Factors that might influence your impression that you want to go elsewhere could include:

  • Writing that is poor quality or irrelevant.
  • A mix of colours that makes the text difficult to read.
  • Lack of images, or poor images.
  • Difficulty in navigating around the site.
  • The site just doesn’t have anything to grab your interest.

When you’ve covered a few poor sites, carry out the same exercise with some sites that do attract and hold your interest.  You will probably find that what makes the most difference can be summed up as “great content”.  Use your research to help visualise what you want your own website to be and do. A sound content marketing strategy will help you to both capture and keep those visitors (who are all potential customers) to your site.