5 Web Content Musts That Never Change — But Many Sites Miss Them
Here’s a fun little trivia question to run by your friends: When was the very first web page launched?
According to Business Insider, “The first web page went live on August 6, 1991. It was dedicated to information on the World Wide Web project and was made by Tim Berners-Lee. It ran on a NeXT computer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN.”
There you go. Fun fact.
Now, here’s a fact that’s not so fun.
When I’m out and about on the World Wide Web, auditing business websites for fundamental content “musts” that make sites work … the majority of sites are missing those fundamentals.
This shocks me, because five of those musts have never, ever changed in the 30 years since that first website.
People have always been people, looking online to solve a problem or need, hoping to find the very best solution or answer very quickly.
That main truth has never shifted in all these years, but so many companies still don’t get this.
If you’re a web content writer, you should give it a try yourself, with any website other than the big, sophisticated e-commerce giants such as Amazon.
The reason is, you can use this short checklist with any company, to instantly see what’s missing and what needs help.
So go ahead … pick any business website right now — it can be for a local dentist, a national restaurant-supply company, a global software company for managing your money, anything. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but I have a feeling you’ll find that one or more of the following content musts are missing.
There are just two rules for this game.
- Only look at the content “above the fold” on your laptop or tablet … or on the first screen of your smartphone. That’s the website's first-impression area for most visitors.
- Give yourself no more than 10 seconds to answer. That’s more time than most people give websites. Usually, they leave within 8 seconds if the content isn’t instantly clear and useful.
Okay, got a website in mind? Ready to find those five content musts?
Here we go — answer these questions in 10 seconds:
1. INSTANT IDENTIFICATION: Who is the company? Can you spot the company name, or is there just a logo that may or may not be clear?
2. OBVIOUS PROMISE/SOLUTION: What does the company sell? Better yet, what does it solve? Is it clear within seconds? Is there copy that explains in a very succinct way? (Or is there just a slogan that’s kinda vague … or a giant image with no words, explaining nothing?)
3. CUSTOMER-FOCUSED MESSAGE: Is the content speaking to the individual visitor, or is it talking to a crowd? Is it mainly using “We” language vs. what’s there for “YOU” … the visitor?
4. BEST CHOICE: What makes THIS company (website) the best resource among others? Does the content promise a unique benefit, outcome, or other reason to choose them?
5. ENTICING OFFER: Can you see any kind of offer that’s relevant to the visitor? Such as, “Watch a free demo,” “Download our free report,” “Try a free account,” or “Get a big discount when you sign up for our newsletter.” And, is there a clear call-to-action (CTA) telling you what to DO to get that nice offer? (Or is there a vague “learn more” button instead?)
How did you do? Missing anything? I’m going to take a wild guess and imagine you didn’t find ALL five musts. If you did, please let me know so I can celebrate with you.
If you didn’t … you can use this experience to launch a stellar web content writing career. Why? Because these questions alone give you clues into the massive opportunity to help companies with their web content.
Yes, with this simple test, you have a major opportunity as a web content writer.
Many, many, many business websites are missing those basic musts and then some. They struggle to understand why they’re not getting more traffic or converting visitors into buyers.
They’re just not sure what’s missing.
It can’t be the fault of the fancy graphic design or the swanky new web platform they’re using. After all, their site is following the latest-greatest recommended web design guidelines.
Nope. It often comes down to basic human conversation.
In the case of business websites, that translates to instant content clarity that answers those questions above. Its messaging must immediately let visitors know they’ve come to the right place for their needs.
Your mission? Go out there and find those business website owners who could use your help. Turn their sites into clear, helpful, customer-focused paradises offering the very best solutions in just 10 seconds or less.
When you help your clients address those musts, everyone wins, and you get paid handsomely.
And, based on the thousands and thousands of websites missing these musts … you’ll have endless opportunities.
Do you have any questions about how Site Audits can help you get your foot in the door with prospective clients? Please share with us in the comments.
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Very good advice in this article. I liked it. I have taken your 21 Point Website Audit course. I'm trying to set started. Getting there slowly.