Writing your own website content? Preparation part 3 - build a solid structure
In recent blogs, we've been looking at writing your own web content. We've already covered
- what your website is for - What do you want it to achieve?
- who it's to - Who’s your reader?
In this and the next couple of blogs, let's look at the final pieces in your preparation jigsaw. Your web pages - their structure and how to organise them.
Fancy yourself as a website content writer?
Good! In which case, you'll need to be thinking about your website structure.
- What pages will you include?
- What order will they go in across the menu bar?
- Which ones will be main pages and which ones sub-pages?
- How will you name your pages?
- What content should your pages contain?
I know what you’re thinking -
‘This is no business of a copywriter. These questions should be left to my web designer.'
But web design and content writing are clearly two skills which overlap. To deliver cyber-success, each needs the other. Certainly, you should be discussing these points with your web designer, but you’ll have a far more fruitful discussion if you bring your own ideas along to the meeting.
And what if you’re designing your website by yourself? Then you’ll definitely need to be thinking about these points.
What pages should I include?
‘That’s obvious isn’t it?’ you reply - ‘I need a Home Page, About Us, My Services, Testimonials, Client Portfolio, Contact Us and … er… that’s about it. Well, something along those lines anyway.’
Are you sure? Think again. We talked in an earlier article about the importance of first impressions. One crucial first impression is how easy your website is to explore. You not only have to attract people to your website, but you must also keep them there. Just like in the physical world. If you’re a visiting a venue, be it Disney World or your local Sainsbury’s store, the signage really matters and makes a huge difference to the visitor experience.
‘You can check out any time you like but you can never leave’
The Eagles, Hotel California
How do you feel about IKEA stores? You know what you want, but there’s only one way to find it. Mr Ikea unceremoniously frogmarches you through the entire length of the store from start to finish, leaving you to be sufficiently alert to spot the item you’re looking for. A clever plan, of course, as you’re forced to endure every single department before you’re allowed to exit. For me, the experience is reminiscent of a Stephen King horror, a funfair ghost trail or a certain Eagles lyric.
Imagine your website followed the Ikea structure. To find what they’re looking for, your visitors have to lumber through every page before arriving at their chosen destination. How many clients would follow up their visit with an enquiry? I’d guess, somewhat fewer than zero.
Make navigation easy
So, the answer is - make your website as navigable as possible. Make - it - easy. These three words should be at the top of your mind when considering any and every aspect of your website. Everything you do should be governed by this simple mantra. You’ll give yourself the greatest possible chance of keeping the visitors to your website engaged, happy and likely to get in touch. What else could possibly matter?