So, you have a new website which is in development as we speak. If you’ve made the decision to switch to a CMS website from a static site, or you’ve never had a website before, it can be daunting process. What are you going to put up there? How do you ‘optimise’ pages? What is SEO anyway? If you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve put together some tips on good, accessible, searchable content writing here to get you started.
Point of contact – give people what they want first.
Obviously, you want to include essential information like your contact details, opening times, services or products. Make sure this content is easy to find from anywhere on your website. Making it easy for users to navigate around your site is also key – so think about where pages will go keep them in a logical order.
Tell us something about yourself.
You’ll also want to write about your business or organisation. Think of the unique product you offer as opposed to your competitors, or the specialist knowledge or experience you have that is of value to your customers. What makes your business different, better? Use the kind language you would when speaking face to face with a potential customer.
Give something away for free.
Website users looking for information on a product or service will value good free advice or in-depth knowledge. Let them know about an upcoming event they might be interested in, or give them a tool tip, a maintenance guide, a users manual, a recipe. Share something related to your business that costs very little [or nothing] to produce but is really useful to your customers, and you’re building trust and encouraging customers to return.
Make sure your content will make sense to your website users.
It sounds obvious, but we’ll include it anyway. Separate your info into logical chunks and write your page or post around one main topic. Write well, using correct, natural sounding grammar and spelling.
Make your content accessible and search engine friendly.
It’s not rocket science – really! Getting into some good ‘best practices’ habits now will help your customers find you on the web. The points below are a guide to SEO, and help make your site accessible for users who may be visually or otherwise impaired using screen readers or browsers that don’t display images.
Use heading tags to emphasize important text.
- Your new website CMS will let you style text with Heading 1 to Heading 6, [H1 being most important, H6 the least] which will be set up for you
- Headings are indexed by search engines so make them relevant [include a keyword or two] and style them according to importance on the page. A well-organised page is easier for a search engine and a person to read
- Use them only where it makes sense
- Don’t dump a whole lot of text content on a page without any kind of structure
Use brief, but descriptive filenames and alt text
- Filenames for images, PDF’s and other media are best short, but descriptive
- Try not to use generic names like ‘image1.jpg’
- Always fill out the Alt text so that if the image doesn’t display for any reason, it is still descriptive [and searchable for SEO]
Link names [anchor text] in text should mean something
- Use a meaningful term if you’re linking to another page or website e.g. “Find out more about SEO” website, not “Click Here“
- Use the Alt tag for links, and give that a meaningful description e.g. ‘link to more info about SEO’
Use title tags for posts or pages
- Create unique, accurate page or post titles for each page
- Use brief, but descriptive titles
- This title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of the particular page is
- Page title contents are displayed in search results
Use the description option
- A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about
- A page’s title might only be a few words or a phrase, but a page’s description tag might be a sentence or a short paragraph.
- Use unique descriptions for each page
- This is the blurb that appears under the link in a search result – write it for a person to read i.e. it should make sense and be appealing to a human being
- Include one or two keywords
Use keywords, but sparingly
- Add one or two keywords for every page or post
- Don’t try to pack in everything, choose the most relevant to this particular page
- One main keyword per page is often enough
- You could include a couple of secondary keywords to expand on the main keyword
- Too many keywords scatters the results
- Put your keywords in content where they’ll be recognized by the search engines. These locations include:
- Your headline
- Any headings or subheadings in your content
- The first and last paragraphs of your content
Woah! It may seem like a lot, but now that you are going to enter and update content yourself, keeping these tips in mind, to begin with, will save you a lot of time, rather than going back through pages and pages to optimise them after the fact. Making a habit of these few simple SEO tasks will mean that every page and post you add is readable, accessible and search engine friendly and give your clients or customers more chance of finding you [and choosing you over the competition] on the web.