Six Questions You Need to Answer Before Launching Your New Website
It’s not something you really wanted to admit to others. In fact, it took you a couple of years to admit it to yourself.
You were hoping that, if you ignored the issue for long enough, it would go away.
But people have been making comments lately. It’s getting a little embarrassing even. So you really can’t avoid taking action any longer.
Yep, it’s time to update your website.
You know it’s looking outdated. In fact, compared to your competitors’ websites, it’s looking positively antiquated. Its search engine rankings suck, and you never did get around to adding pages for testimonials and frequently asked questions.
Okay, you’ve conceded defeat. It’s time to renew that website. Now what?
It’s time to hire someone who knows what they’re doing
Unless you’re a technophile and a talented writer and you have plenty of time on your hands, you’ll need professional help.
If you want a modern version of your website – one that has a fresh look and feel and that is easy for your customers to use – you’ll need a website designer.
If you want to drive traffic to your website (in other words, if you want more people to visit it), you’ll benefit from hiring a social media manager to manage your social media pages, posts and calendar on your behalf.
And if you want your website content rewritten so that it attracts the attention of your target audience and persuades them to call or buy, you’ll need a copywriter - preferably an SEO copywriter.
Each of these professionals will evaluate your current website and talk through the things you’d like to change before taking on your project. They’ll want to know where you are and where you want to go with your website and your business.
And this is where I’d like to give you some advice.
Before you sit down with a copywriter, web designer or social media manager, think carefully about what you want from your new and improved website.
Ways to attract and retain more website visitors
Okay, you’re probably thinking – but copywriters, web designers and social media managers are the professionals, right? Aren’t they meant to know what my website needs?
True, up to a point.
They’ll certainly give you sound advice on the latest technologies and templates, the most popular social media platforms and the most appropriate writing style.
But you also need to help them. The more you can tell them about your business and its goals, the more likely they are to produce the right product for you.
So here are six questions that I always ask clients before taking on any large projects. Since I’m a copywriter and not a website designer or social media manager, these questions focus on the website’s content rather than its design and functionality.
I highly recommend that you and your colleagues contemplate these questions before hiring a copywriter. Your answers will greatly help the copywriter produce the perfect website content for your business.
Ask yourself these six key questions about your website before hiring a copywriter
1. Does your current website content reflect your business image?
Does the style and tone of your website’s content express the personality of your business? Do you want to convey trustworthiness, dependability and continuity like PenFed Credit Union or do you want to appear cheerful, trendy and upbeat like Trader Joe’s?
In other words, does your website have the right voice to connect with your target audience? A good copywriter will use a voice chart to help you identify the exact qualities (characteristics) you want to convey in your website.
2. Does your website meet user goals?
Who are your users (visitors to your website) and what are their goals? Do you know what they want to do once they find your website? If you’re not sure about this, read my previous article on making your website visitors happy.
Have you created any customer personas to help identify and visualize your users? Web content is extremely task driven, so list those people who come to your website and why. Your copywriter can then write content that will engage them and get them to contact you.
3. Does your website reflect your company’s uniqueness?
What is your USP? What sets you apart from other similar businesses? If you want pages that will convert a visit into an action (e.g. place an order, make a phone call, download a brochure), you need to answer these key questions: Why would a potential customer want to buy from your company? What are you offering that others are not? How does your product or service differ from all the other similar products out there?
Make a list of your key offerings using this step-by-step guide.
4. Do you know your website priorities?
What is the primary purpose of your website? Is it to convert prospects into customers? To educate? Perhaps you want to enable customers to interact with your company (e.g. submit an RFI, obtain an online quote or track an order). Maybe you want to increase brand awareness or help build credibility.
Knowing your priorities will help your copywriter produce the right content for you.
5. Is your website user-friendly?
Can users easily find their way around your site? Can they find the info they want? Does it give them a satisfying experience? (If you don’t know, ask someone who doesn’t know your company to carry out a few simple tasks on your website and then give you feedback.)
Well-written text can help improve your website’s usability by giving users signposts (telling them which page they’re on and where they can go next), providing clear instructions (so they can do what they need to do) and encouraging users to perform tasks (giving them a ‘call to action’).
If you have a large website, work out your navigation structure with the help of your web designer. Put this and your calls to action in a spreadsheet for your copywriter.
6. Does your website appear on the first search page?
Do you have a search-engine friendly website? Do you want to improve the position of your site in the search engine rankings? If being discovered via a search engine is a priority for your company, you will want to consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
By offering original and useful content, embedding keywords and inserting relevant links, you can help get your site on the first search page. Consider hiring an SEO specialist to find the best keywords for your site, and make sure your copywriter is familiar with SEO copywriting (not all copywriters are).
| Admitting your website has seen better days is a great first step. To give it a complete overhaul, the next step is to get professional help, including a copywriter, a web designer and a social media manager. |
By taking the time to answer the questions above, you can be sure the copywriter that you end up hiring will have a clear understanding of your website goals. And that translates into great website content!