Whilst it’s very important that the design of your website looks professional, it’s what you say that will get people to convert via your website.
Design is often the primary focus of many clients we work with.
It’s easy to obsess over header images being ‘not quite there’ or padding and spacing needing ‘a few more pixels‘.
The truth is that visitors to your website decide in fractions of a second if they think you look the part (source).
So design is important as it prevents them from bouncing back to the search results, but this decision is made before they read anything.
So why is web copy so important?
We’re not going to go into the length of blog posts, keyword density and so on here, there’s plenty about that already, but something people often don’t realise is how people read website pages.
It’s generally accepted through significant research that people scan pages in an ‘F’ type shape.
They scan across the top of the page (where your title is), and as they scan their eyes further down the page, their eyes read less.
Your content needs to be structured to take advantage of how people read content online.
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Most visitors will notice your cross-heads, so tell the article’s story using these.
As visitors scan the page, cross-heads are typically H3 or H4 tags, so these text sections should be larger where you want to grab people.
Make it easy to read.
Keep paragraphs short and use bold text to emphasise sections of the copy where you want the viewer to connect.
Ever notice your eye jumps to bold text in a long blog post? You can use this to assist the reader and find the important parts of the content.
Change up the types of content to pause the scan.
Bullet point lists make a great way of creating a focal point in larger sections of text:
- They can be used as a summary to cover important points
- Bullets create a visual change in long-form content, so they are a reason to pause
- They can deliver the takeaway content or act as a conversion tool
Don’t use overly long line lengths.
Line length is the length of a single line of copy. The longer this is, the harder it is for the eye to return to the correct start of the next line.
On a website, this is usually controlled by column width and overall site width, but it can be calculated using the number of letters, which is called Measure.
If your website has long lines, it will make it harder to read which means people will read less.
Use sensible fonts.
Papyrus does not make for easy reading.
NEITHER DOES HAVING ENTIRE PARAGRAPHS IN FULL CAPS.
You want people to stay on your page as long as possible, so using a sensible font will make your content easier to read and keep people on your site longer.
Buttons can be used to draw clicks.
You want visitors to read your content and click calls to action.
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Always make sure links have anchor texts that make sense.
If you have empty anchors, these will be flagged in website technical audit reports and you don’t want this.
Meaningful anchor texts will get better click rates.
Use images, or not.
Images can add visual clues to your visitor that help to inform them about the details in your article if they skim it.
If you do use images, use them sparingly and not just for the sake of it.
He is a cute cat, but he knows nothing about SEO.
If you use images in your content, make sure they are relevant and not simply there to get an image in the post.
Images that link through to other pages are also a good example of where sites end up with a lot of empty anchor texts.
So do posts even need images? After all, are your readers seven-year-olds that find content without pictures boring?
Other types of content.
Some other types of content can easily be added to your site to create a pause or a focus point for the reader.
Block quotes are a good example of where you can stop scanners in their tracks.
Video content is considered more engaging than text and images, 1200% more according to this source.
One of the main reasons for this is that a one-minute long video can explain the same stuff that a long blog post does.
Different types of videos, such as explainer videos and product or service videos can often do a much better job explaining what you want the visitor to take away from the site.
One of the keys to a video is the length – keep them short.
A well planned and designed infographic can also do the job of a lengthy bit of copy.
Infographics are also easy to share and for people to embed on their sites, so you get a piece of content that can go viral.
Make sure they are branded and unique.
It’s still all about what you have to say.
No matter the medium, what you are saying is still the most important thing.
Things that look nice, but have nothing interesting to say rarely get shared or keep readers engaged for long.
To this end, we always urge our clients to invest in copywriting.
Whether this is an investment of enough time to research, plan and write articles properly or an investment in an experienced and content-focused WordPress SEO agency to do this for you.
HubSpot has some interesting data on how long it takes to write a blog post.
The general rule of thumb seems to be anywhere between 2–4 hours, and 50% of bloggers report the best results for articles over 2000 words (so that’s four hours at least.
Image credit: https://www.contentpowered.com/blog/how-long-write-blog/
We can never overstress the importance of great content.
HubSpot stated that designing, building and getting your website live is just 25% of what you should be doing online.
Yet, most people see the launch of their website as the end of the project, not the start of a more important one.
All you need to do to win new business online is write great content.
This is simple and true, but what is often missed is the amount of time you will need to invest in producing this content.
- Ideally, you need to be producing at least two articles per week that are both over 1500 words in length and well researched.
- You should add an extra couple of shorter blogs – these can be opinion pieces or documentary pieces.
And for each of these blog posts, you will need to do the following:
- Keyword research for the main focus keyword and other associated phrases
- LSI research to see the types of words and phrases similar to top-ranking content is using
- Image or illustration sourcing, if you want images (even better would be to commission a custom image or illustration)
- Put the content together in WordPress
- Do on-page SEO (word count, keyword density, paragraph length, internal link, external links, readability and so on)
- Publish the post
- Check the page scores and technical SEO
- Do the off-page SEO
- Add the keywords to your keyword tracking software
- Promote the content on social media
- Change your PPC ads, if you use them
- And so on…
Potentially that’s anywhere between 4–16 hours of work per article.
What also adds complexity here is that you need more than one skill set to create awesome content:
- SEO skills (planning, research, on-page, off-page etc.)
- Copywriting experience
- Design and Creative
- Branding and Corporate identity
- Social Media
- App and Tool experience
- Email marketing experience
That’s a lot of skills for simply writing a blog post, but they are all needed to get the job done correctly.
This is why it makes sense for most companies to outsource WordPress SEO.
So what next?
If you want your website to be anything more than simply look pretty it’s best to bring in a team experienced in providing all the WordPress SEO services you need to get the job done.
What about the budget?
One of the great things about WordPress SEO is that in reality, you don’t want to do all of it too quickly, otherwise it can look unnatural.
This means that even companies with the smallest budgets for SEO can still get it done over a longer period.
We specialise in working with SMEs to provide affordable WordPress SEO that is still just as effective.
Get in touch for a free SEO consultation call.