Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
The prospect of website content writing may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re starting a website from scratch or overhauling a current one.
What may be confusing you is not so much writing individual pages themselves, but how to figure out what pages to include and how to organize all the material.
Use this simple P-L-A-N.
Determine the purpose of your website. What is the reason you are building it? Answer that question and you’ll know what kinds of content pages to write. Among the most typical kinds of websites you might create are a:
Your website can have more than one purpose. But of those, one must be primary and override the others. Decide what your site’s purpose is. Keep that purpose in mind as you create your site outline (see #4 Navigation, below.) Then begin to drill down the language you will use as you write it.
Writing Tip: Know why you’re writing the site.
As you consider what pages to include on your site, research your topic’s anchor language. “Anchor language” – or keywords – are terms and phrases specific to your content.
Readers use keywords to search for information online. Keywords help drive readers to your website, blog, or social media platform.
When you identify your anchor language (your keywords) for your site, you will have a starting point to create the content about your topics – content that readers need. Keywords also help you organize your content in an outline for your site (see #4, Navigation.)
For instance, one of the main keyword phrases for Nonprofit Copywriter is “writing tips.” You’ll see that I sprinkle that phrase and its variations in page titles and in page content across this site.
To start a list of relevant keywords for your site topic, you can use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner. My favorite approach, especially for larger sites: I use Solo Build It (SBI) as my website host and website builder. SBI is not only affordable, but also does all the keyword research for me in its Brainstorm function.
Writing Tip: Gather your keywords.
For this website content writing plan, let’s talk about the contents of a page – in other words, the actual appearance of the words themselves. (The look and feel of your template contribute to the site, too, but that’s a design issue you can address in your website builder.)
Web writing has three distinct attributes: it’s easy to skim, easy to read, and easy to re-use (read more about each of these in detail.) And these days, your website content writing plan should include images and video, too.
Writing Tip: Write simply and clearly. Appearance matters.
I compare navigation to an outline. Know how to write an outline and you know how to plan your website’s navigation. That’s incredibly helpful when planning your website content, isn’t it?
A navigation menu appears as a collection of links horizontally across the top of a website, vertically as a column, or even as clickable boxes.
Use your keyword list to create your navigation menu! By this I mean choose names for navigation links purposefully from your keyword list. And choose page names, also, from your keyword list.
Writing Tip: Make an outline to use as the site’s navigation.
Make a P-L-A-N.
Then start by adding just a few pages (even just your home page) and add more, one at a time, to your website. Each page needn’t be that long – just 400 words.
Add a little at a time, consistently over time.
Soon you’ll look back and see how your plan helped you build a quality website.
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