There’s a lot of great stuff out there about what a website should look like and how to build one. Yet the most important element of any website is the words conveyed on it.
After all, the reason people go to a website is for information – about products, about services, about you as a person – to see if what you offer is the right match for them. Pictures make what you’ve written easier for readers to visualize and the website’s design makes navigating the pages easier for the audience, but in the end what matters are the words: The price of a product, the synopsis of a book being that can be ordered, the description of the services offered. A website with only pictures and a sexy design does little except to show you’re high on style but low on substance … and substantive products or service is what your customers want – and where the words come in.
Indeed, well-written websites also tend to drive more traffic, which means more business for you. Such websites contain the rights words that allow potential customers to more easily find your webpage via a search engine.
None of this is to denigrate a website’s design. Undoubtedly, it is the visual aspect of your website that first grabs the page visitor. And a poorly designed webpage – even with great information on it – will drive away potential customers.
Ultimately, a good web page consists of both great design and great text. All too often, though, we give the text little attention in favor of the design. While there’s much truth to the notion that “Content is king,” I prefer to think of a good webpage as “Text is king” and “Design is queen.” They’re partners in this endeavor, and for the kingdom (or your webpage) to succeed, they need to work in tandem, complementing one another’s strengths.
The challenge facing you when writing website text is to convey what needs to be said in as few words as possible. Many readers stay on a site for only a few seconds, and if the website writer doesn’t select the right one or two words that best appeal to your potential customer, you’re sunk. Once you do have webpage visitors hooked enough to stay longer, then you need to have set of words to convince them your product or service is worthy of their dollars. If you don’t, there are hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of other websites that they can click on to seek what they need.
In short, don’t favor design over text when constructing your website. If you do, you’ll just be wasting your money. In future entries, we’ll explore exactly how to write perfect text for your website.
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