Make Your Website Valuable
What NOT to do.
Let me start of by saying, when you are writing the content for your website, don't make outlandish claims (even if you think that they are true.) Don't say things like:
- "We are the best upholstery shop in town"
- "We have done work for the rich and famous"
These type of claims make you sound phony and desperate to get work. Immature people who want others to think better of them than they are say these types of things. Whenever I see any type of business making these types of claims I go somewhere else.
What to do
Simply stated, for your website to become valuable (both to yourself and to others) you have to put value into your website. The more value you put into your website, the more valuable it becomes and the more your potential clients will value it. Now what does that "value" look like.? What do I mean by "putting value" into the website?
Of Course, the first thing you need to do is to create a website. In this day and age it is relative easy to make your own website. But, just because you have a website that doesn't mean that anyone will actually see it (unless you give them the URL.) In order the the search engines to give your website importance and a higher rank, you need to value your website. If you don't value your website, neither will the search engines and neither will your visitors, if you ever have any. So, what does "valuing" a website look like? Simple: "Blood, Sweat, and Tears". Not what you were looking for? Then forget about making a website. OK, OK, now what does "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" look like? It simply means that you have to put a LOT of thought, planning, writing, and organization into the website. Here's where to start.
When your visitors land on your page, what is the first things that they see? You want to immediately grab their attention. When someone arrives at your website or web page,he usually won't read the whole page. The first thing they do is quickly scan the page to see if there is anything of value to them. Use pictures, drawings, headings...
- At or near the top of page you should have a picture or drawing that illustrates a feature of the page
- Headings are the larger bold text at the top of each paragraph or group of paragraphs. Each heading should summarize the paragraph(s) below it in just a few (3 to 5) words. By quickly scanning the paragraphs the visitor can easily spot the content he might want to read.
Add Content As You Need It
As part of the idea that your website is a living (almost) breathing organism, Always be open and willing to add content as you need it. For example, if you are preparing an estimate for a client, and you need to explain something in detail to that client, create a new web page or add a paragraph to an existing webpage. Write the information in detail. As well as writing the information for the current client, add any other addition information on the subject. Do you have any pictures about the subject? Add those pictures to the article. Did you have to do any research to find the information? If so, put a link to the page where you found the information.
Adding content to answer real questions by real clients will make your website valuable to other clients as well. When you are responding to a client's request it is much easier to write it out in detail than it is just trying to make up questions and answers.
Get into the habit (make yourself do it) of adding content to your website every time you need to explain something in an email to a client, The best time to create the page or add some intormation to the websit is immediately when it is fresh in your mind. Rather than writing it out twice, I've learned to just write it out once right on the website page. Then, when I'm done, I'd put a link to the new page in my email. This will take the client to the website.
Another benefit of putting the content on the website and sending the client a link is that I can add or change the content after I've sent the email to the client. In the past I have written out an explanation to the client in my email and sent it off to the client. Afterwards I'll remember some other things I should have said, or I may have said something incorrectly. The benefit of putting in on the web page rather than in the email is that I can make additions or corrections to what I said after I've sent the email to the client.
Write What You Know
As a professional you know a lot that would be useful to others. When you write articles about what you know it is a.) easier for you to write AND b.) it is valuable to your potential clients.
Before I proceed, let me talk about one thing. Some professionals may be afraid that if they put too much on their website, then they may lose business to people doing it themselves. There is some truth to that.However, you are the professional. Think, how many years did it take you to acquire your skills? In addition, there is a big difference between telling someone how something was done in contrast to telling someone how to do something. Just because some sees or reads how something was done doesn't mean that they could or will try to do it.
But, if you write quality content you will gain more clients that you will lose. In addition, your visitors will
Get Tough With Yourself.
This is number one: Throw away your excuses, "I can't write" or "I don't know how to write", "I don't know what to put on it", "I'm too busy", "I haven't got time" and every other excuse you use.
Take A Long Term View
Great websites don't put themselves together overnight. They take planning, effort and diligence. Realize that to make a valuable website will take your devoted effort over a period of weeks, months and years. Not what you wanted to hear? Get over it. This website (Upholstery Resource) has been in process for something like 6 or 8 years. It has been through several major revisions and rebuilding.
The Writing Process
Good writing is a process. It doesn't just happen. Here are some basic steps to writing a good article.
- Find Pictures
- Make Lists
- Write Rough Draft
- Revise and write content
- Proof read
Plan for Success
- Keep a pencil and notebook (or your computer) close by at all times. Write down any ideas as they come. At first it may be only a few words or a sentence at a time. Go ahead and keep writing it all down. The more you write, the more ideas come.
Find Your Voice
This basically means to write out your ideas in a way that makes sense to you. Use your own words, say it in plain English. Don't try to be fancy or clever. Number one goal, make it easily understandable.
Choose Your Audience
Who are the people that you want to attract to your website?
What are they intested in?
How to Generate Ideas
Unless you already know what you want to say it greatly helps to generate some ideas.
What are the main questions have your clients asked you over the years? Write out those questions.
Group questions into similar topics. Each group of similar questions can form the beginning of a web page.
Search the Internet for:
- upholstery shop websites
- upholstery information websites.
- upholstery blogs
Read through many other upholstery websites, write down any ideas that come to you.
Bookmark any interesting web pages. Also bookmark any websites that you like the appearance and layout. This will give you ideas of how to design your own website.
Make a regular time (perhaps every day) to read those upholstery websites, articles, and upholstery blogs.
User Headings to outline your content.
Make the headers descriptive
Make the first sentence of each paragraph simple and interesting (descriptive)
Keep a list of topics to write about
Write a Blog on your website
For more information, Read the web pages listed under References below.
Writing For The Web
How Users Read on the Web
How to Write Articles
How to Write an Article in 20 Minutes
Writing User Friendly Content
Learn How to Write an Article Correctly
How to Write a Web Site Creative Brief