Why you Need a Professional to Create Your Website Content

June 9, 2015 by Staff Writer
Why you Need a Professional to Create Your Website Content
I have had a number of careers in my working life including freelance Content Writer for company websites. I have seen countless websites created and what I have learned over the years is that on most occasions website development is a relatively commonsense process. First the customer's requirements are gathered, and these are conveyed to the website designer and the programming team (where necessary) who establish a draft design. This design is signed off before development begins and invariably, once the design takes shape, the customer comes back with tweaks which, to the extent possible under the terms, are accommodated. Very often, only when the last image has been added, and the final piece of code written, and the customer is glowing and excited about his/her new advertising tool, have I been called in the write the 'text'.

They're only words... right?

Websites are designed to convey a message to a company's potential clientele so I find it staggering how regularly the message is the last thing to be considered in the website development process. Proposals are written, storyboards are built, and mockups are designed, and they all have one thing in common - Lorem Ipsum. This is a mock Latin text which replicates the format of English quite nicely and it is used to fill in the space where the English will go in a website. Websites are presented to customers as 'finished' when not a word of actual English is contained on the site. More worrying still, websites go live with Lorem Ipsum still in place.




But we can do the text... We know what we need...

Do a search for the term "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet" and see how many live sites still carry Lorem Ipsum - it's quite staggering. To borrow from Marshall McLuhan, many companies believe "the medium is the message" - and that means a great website design is more important that the message itself. With that in mind, perhaps you need to step back and consider your content in the same way you consider code and design.

But surely we don't need a professional to write the text - why would we need one?

The fact that you feel that way might be the main reason you need one. Perhaps subconsciously, many see website 'text' as an unnecessary expense and something the company should do themselves. It is believed a company knows its products and services best so it is best a company writes about its own products and services. But there are a number of reasons why this might not be the case.

Perspective

Your company has a new product and it is revolutionary - not only does it leverage the new A4 Gangle pin, it has retractable side vipers that offer 2.54 amps of spare stable capacity. And of course, that's what your customers need to know, right? Unless your website is strictly B2B, and your target audience are the techies that understand your industry terms, then you need to speak to your audience in a language they understand, and that generally means explaining what your product can do for your customers. Your website should be explicit and suggest exactly how your product (or service) will benefit the people who use it.

Accuracy

You have spent your career in your industry and you are an expert in your field. Likewise, a professional writer is an expert in his or her field. As in your industry, there are things you need to know to be a good Content Writer. Do you know what a gerund is? What is the difference between 'effect' or 'affect'? Is it 'their', 'there' or 'they're' in the context of your particular sentence? Will your international audience of non-native English speakers understand the term "get down to brass tacks"? If your grammar and spelling are poor then your products and services might be considered in terms of your company's inability to establish a quality website. Bad writing on a website is unprofessional and because of it people might ultimately perceive your company as being unprofessional. Likewise, write your content in a style of English your audience will not understand and none of your audience will buy your products or services.

Time

As I said before, many websites go live containing Lorem Ipsum, or even worse, terms like 'blah, blah, blah' where meaningful content should be. Why? Because people just don't realize how long it takes to write good website content. It doesn't magically appear, it requires thought, revision, and effort beyond a simple spell check. Who in your team has the time to do all this? Do you? If you have the time right now, will you in the future? For instance, will you be able to keep the company blog current? If it gets out of date, how will this impact how customers and potential customers perceive your website, and then your company? If you aren't going to employ a professional, make sure you have the staff to first establish the site professionally and then manage it in a professional way.

SEO

There is more to writing these days than just writing. You need your website to be noticed by people, and that means getting your website high in the rankings of major search engines, especially Google. Using certain keywords and specific phrases in your website will encourage Google to place your website higher in its listing than your competitors. This type of writing is part of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, and it represents a set of skills that modern Content Writers are in tune with. A good Content Writer keeps abreast of changes in SEO and will be able to come back to your site to optimize its content and keep it high in rankings when search engine algorithms change and Google and the others require something new to keep your website noticeable.

Hmm... I still think they are only words...

If you still think you or others in your team can spare the expense of a professional Content Writer by managing website content yourself, then go ahead. But keep in mind everything I have said in this article. "Blah, blah, blah" does not miraculously turn into meaningful content and neither does a website with a section that is entirely filled with Lorem Ipsum instill confidence in people. So keep on top of this - writing website content is a very demanding task, and extremely time consuming when done well.



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