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This post first appeared in The Write Stuff — the blog of Write Angle, Silicon Valley’s premiere content creation and writing agency for the I.T. industry.

Whenever we’re assigned to write clients’ web pages we follow best practices, same as we do for all content.  What “best practices” call for on websites is not so different from other forms but the web does force the writer and editor to become a little more brutal.  Actually, it’s the audience that’s the force at work.

Customers are not interested in your product (or service), they’re interested in their problem.  They don’t care about you so much as the need they’re trying to fill or the hard facts they’re trying to gather as the basis of filling that need.  And this tells you two things:

1.  To the extent that your product or service is too much in the face of the site visitor, you increase your chances of a quicker “bounce”, or departure of this visitor.

2.  Ditto above if your content is jargon-heavy with with acronyms or industry-speak.

Except for those pages or links that are specifically tailored for existing customers, or prospects who are well down the path to a decision, you want your web content to widen the top of the funnel.  So, you’re going to score points to the degree you show an interest and expertise in the problems they have, not the fixes you offer.  Not yet, anyway.  With this in mind, product-focused content should be avoided.  Your ‘welcoming lobby’ should be a pressure-free zone to introduce the visitor to your business, same as your social-media strategy should be at all times.  It’s where you start to build trust.

Use only those words and expressions that you are certain your prospects use.  Search engines use signals throughout social media for ranking search  results.  This means that your web site is only incidental to the wider territory your prospects cover every day and in which they interact with other prospects online.  Be sure to use the words and phrases they are looking for, not the flavor-of-the-month terminology you think is cool.

When he’s not ranting on this site, Stan DeVaughn holds forth along with comrade-in-communications Peter Davé on The Write Stuff.

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