When you’re hired to write content for a multi-page website, it’s not unusual to be asked to improve the sales copy and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on just certain pages within a larger number of pages.
For example, your client will probably have the standard pages most sites have, such as “About Us,” “Services Overview,” “History,” and others … and you’re brought in to improve the performance of specific product or service pages — the “money pages” that directly sell products or generate quality leads.
Or, you may be adding new pages to an existing site.
This can be tricky because you need to make sure your new content fits within the overall website. There’s nothing worse than a section of a site that’s not consistent with the rest of the site. But, it happens all the time.
Quite often, Customer Service is writing one section; the Marketing Department or Info Technology Department is writing another; and no one is looking at the whole site across the board.
Now you come along with the mission of improving traffic and sales conversions on specific pages, and you’d like to follow the best practices you’ve learned from AWAI and other resources.
Hmmm. How does this all work together?
You want to follow the best writing techniques to boost responses, but you also have to be mindful of the other site pages.
Your content has to live in harmony with pages you don’t control.
Here are two main tips to help you do a great job within the context of an entire site.
- Make sure you and the client understand how your pages will interact with other site pages.
When you first talk with the client, ask the following questions or state your assumptions along these lines:
- How will visitors arrive at the pages I’m optimizing? It’s likely that traffic could come from the home page, a category page or other internal page, as well as external sources such as paid online ads, social media, a direct mail campaign, and other off-site locations.
- What’s the sequence that my optimized pages will follow or fit into? For example, you may be optimizing a sequence of pages related to a specific product or service category. In many cases, you have the specific detail page, the order page with a brief recap of the product or service’s benefits and pricing, and a thank you page.
But, you will also need to consider the pages that may drive your site visitors to that detail page … such as an overview/category page or even the home page where there might be a link or promotion for the product or service you’re writing about.
The example below may help make this clear. Let’s say you’ve been hired to write a series of specific villa detail pages for the “LUXURY VILLAS” category featured on the right in this home page (indicated by the red arrow):
You may have been asked to optimize the specific property pages and the inquiry or booking sequence … but, you also need to look at this home page and the Luxury Villas category page so you have a sense of the web visitor’s experience in getting to your detail pages.
You’ll need to see exactly what leads up to the pages you’re writing, and even consider the “About Us” page content, if you feel the visitor will look at that, too, for credibility and comfort in dealing with this company.
- Strive for consistency the best you can.
Here are a few facts about the power of consistent web content.
- During a Marketing Sherpa annual B2B Marketing Summit, Kenric Van Wyk from Acoustics By Design described a successful SEO program that viewed the company’s entire website as a series of landing pages. He reported that, “Through smart keyword dispersal across the site, they achieved an 874% increase in search traffic.” (Wow.)
- In its report titled, B2C Success Stories: Conversion Strategies that Produced 30-300% Gains, MarketingExperiments.com featured a web content test in which underperforming pages were optimized via the following strategies:
- Revising headlines for continuity and clarity of value proposition
- Emphasizing product benefits
- Improving credibility indicators
This treatment outperformed the previous content “by a relative difference of 81.87%.” (Wow again.)
So, be sure to make your content as consistent as possible with the rest of the site, including the client’s brand voice, message style, unique position, etc., while also adding your recommended content flow for the pages you’re working on.
Here’s exactly what to consider:
- Ask if your client has “Customer Personas.” Check if they are using a profile of their Ideal Customer — exactly who you’re trying to attract and what they’re looking for on your site. If your client doesn’t have Personas, ask probing questions to understand the ideal prospect’s demographic profile and wishes. Or, offer to create Personas for an additional fee.
- Make sure you know your customer’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The unique solutions and benefits your client’s company offers, and how their solutions are better than anything else available.
- Get to know the client’s brand voice. Throughout the website, there should be a specific and appropriate tone and style in the content messaging … how the brand “speaks” to its customers and prospects about WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM. Most well-known brands have an authentic, customer-friendly voice that’s consistent across all experiences with that brand (offline and online). Consider Staples: Their “that was easy®” slogan is supported by the famous “easy” button and all messages on their website, in advertising, and in stores.
- Look at how the client is applying SEO keywords to the site. In some cases, the site will be properly and consistently blending benefit-focused copy and keywords to create persuasive, optimized sales copy. If not, here’s a chance to expand your role to fix those issues.
- Examine the current content structure and styles. You’ll want to write your content in a way that’s consistent with existing pages through headlines, subheads, sentence structure, bullets, charts, links, meta content, etc. If your client’s site is not set up with a scannable, user-friendly structure and style, you may want to offer a proposal to fix that across the site.
Statistics show that web visitors will scan a site for just three seconds or so — and then move on if they can’t find the information they need. The best websites have pages that consistently include:
- A strong headline and subhead that deliver a bold and unique promise or solution
- Short sentences, subheads, and bullets to break up copy and make it easier to read
- Brief, scannable product descriptions, skillfully written to build interest
- Charts, tables, and other graphics that help deliver credibility and support messages in a user-friendly, quick-scan way
- An inviting call-to-action with a strong offer (Free Trial Membership or Save 25% Now), with a clear and easy “click here” button that tells people how/where to take advantage of the offer
Bottom line? If you’re hired to write content within a larger site, make sure your content flows seamlessly within the user experience while driving responses.
If the current site pages are inconsistent or not following a good flow, this may be your opportunity to serve as a true consulting partner with your client — expanding your project and fixing these problems across the board!