Writing good web content is a distinct skill. The style of web content is very different from that of traditional articles, and it is not something with which most attorneys have a lot of practice. Website copy must be written for a target audience of both clients and search engines. It must be informative and engaging. It must connect with visitors. At the same time, it must contain targeted keywords in appropriate proportions. Too many or too few can negatively affect SEO.
One of the biggest sticking points in the development of a new website is content. It is content more than any other item that holds up web development and keeps websites from launching. Content often either falls prey to a lack of time or a cycle of endless and frustrating revisions. Coming up with a pragmatic plan for content writing can help get your website up, running and working for you more quickly and efficiently.
The first step in content planning is to evaluate – realistically – whether writing pages of website prose fits into your schedule. It may be in your best interest to have hired help. Most marketing companies and copywriters will offer packages, from a few pages to help you get through the load to a complete website if that is what best fits your needs. After the workload has been distributed, you can turn your attention to the mechanics of writing good web content.
The mechanics of website content
The nature of web pages drives the structure of web content. It is good practice to:
- Break pages up into short bits of content
- Use engaging headlines to generate interest and allow for easy scanning
- Use bulleted lists to help give visitors’ eyes a rest
- Develop a message that addresses clients’ needs
People do not read websites like they read books or pamphlets. They scan. Pages must be broken up into smaller segments of digestible content. Visitors to your website may skip from section to section looking for relevant information, and it is likely that the pages will not be read in the order they are written.
Eye tracking studies show that people are drawn to headlines more than they are drawn to pictures or other content. This makes well-written, interesting headlines a critical part of effective web content. Headlines can be used to help define the message you want to convey to users and then draw them into your site.
Attorneys, like most professionals, have an instinct to talk about themselves. But prospects are self-motivated. Place the focus on them, not on yourself. You message should give a clear reason how you can address their concerns, it should not be a treatise on the law or an exhaustive list from your resume.
Remember, content can always be revised as needed. Once you have written or received approved copy for your website, let it go live. Making revision after revision and over thinking the process just prevents your site from getting to work for your firm faster.
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