Building Your Content
Your website has only seconds to capture interest. Think about articles you’ve read, speeches you’ve heard, books you’ve begun. The initial exposure helps people determine whether they want to spend more time reading, listening or viewing. There is simply too much competition for time to expect that people will invest too much of theirs in trying to overcome a tepid introduction. Here is a great guide that will help you in creating meaningful content for your website.
• This is the first page that visitors see when they arrive at your site – it’s where you make your first impression.
• Tell what your site is about, ideally in 50 words or less. Make sure anyone who visits your site will quickly understand what it’s about without having to do a lot of reading.
• Think about who will be visiting your site (e.g. customers, friends, family, potential employers, new prospects, etc.) and put yourself in their shoes. What will they want to know? Make sure they can quickly find that information from this page. Resist the urge to put everything on this page and let visitors explore other areas of your site from your navigation menu.
• Try to include a few relevant high quality photos to create a visually appealing design and make your site stand out – if you don’t have any available, see if you can tap a friend that’s into photography to help get you started.
• Typically one of the most visited pages on a site. People are curious and want to learn about you – don’t be shy.
• Tell your story, ideally in 300 words or less. Some questions to consider on this page: who are you, where are you, why are you are doing what you are doing, how did you get here and anything else you want people to know.
• Include a high quality photo of yourself or something relevant or meaningful to you and your site.
• A painter might make this a gallery page with lots of high quality photos of their work in a beautiful slideshow format.
• A dog walking service could provide information about their services and pricing with a clear way for visitors to schedule a walk such as a button linking to the contact page.
• Every site should have a way for visitors to quickly and easily get in touch with you. Consider including a contact form where you designate what information you want the visitor to provide so you can get back to them with a helpful response.
• Add a map if you have a physical location so people can find you.
• If you want to get creative with the navigation name for this page consider: ‘Talk to me’, ‘Say hello’, ‘Get in touch’ in addition to the more basic ‘Contact me’.
• A blog is a great way to share your knowledge, position yourself as an expert on a topic or provide an area on your site where you post new information regularly. Blogs give visitors a reason to come back and an easy way to see what’s new. You can start a site that is only a blog (in which case your homepage is your blog) or you can add a blog as a page on your site.
• If you are trying to grow the number of people visiting your site, a blog can be a great way to get more traffic from search engines. The more relevant information you have on a topic, the more likely search engines will be to show your site as a result for relevant keywords.
• So what should your blog be about? Some examples: A dog walking service could blog about tips for taking care of pets, a pottery maker could blog about upcoming art shows, projects they are working on and general musings on art, a real estate agent could position herself as an expert on a neighborhood by blogging about the area. Get creative based on your unique goals and expertise to think about how a blog could support your site.
Now that you have your website content, you’ll want to also think about how you want to display the content. Not so much the layout, your designer will find the best way to display the content. But think about colors: will your site have a light background or a dark background, fonts: will the content be in a clean font or a fun handwritten font, style: will the site be modern and minimalistic or colorful and full of images?
There are so many options. A good designer will consider all of this while reviewing your content. Because they have the design experience, but not so much information about your personal style, it’s best to kind of know what you want so that your designer can add to your ideas rather then completely run with it on their own. Even if you have no idea, you should take a look at your competitors and find things on their site that you like and don’t like for a reference.