UX Writing and Effective Website Content

Writing Content
Sep 22

UX Writing and Effective Website Content

Conversion reigns as the supreme ROI of SEO. It’s the biggest goal we have as content strategists and SEO gurus: present relevant content to a collection of users, who are looking for a specific answer, and convince them that they’ve found the product or service that will solve their problem.

See the problem. Show the solution. Make the sale.

Converting internet users from mere audience members to your potential customers is difficult to say the least. Not only are there multiple websites and companies targeting your users, but there’s also a time limit.

Attention fades. And quickly.

Because of this, your content must do more than just look pretty.  It must inform. It must engage. It must strike a balance between the two authorities of content: who is speaking and who is reading. With the short amount of time we, as writers, have to maintain a complete connection with our audience, we can’t afford to waste a moment on information that misrepresents our intent.

Creating a profitable website is all about the way you frame your content. And the best way to frame your content is by reassessing its effectiveness from a UX (user experience) perspective.

So let’s get started. “What makes some content more effective and engaging than others?”

In other words…how do we answer that question we’ve all asked Google (I know you have, this is a safe space, don’t worry, I won’t tell): “What is effective content, and how do I write it?”

As content marketers, SEO gurus and website ninjas, even the best of us have fallen to the generic pitfalls of writing content ineffectively. So, how do we get over the hurdles of vague headlines, lackluster calls to action, overused marketing jargon, keyword stuffing, and missed opportunities to educate our audience? We must reassess the intent of our content.

Assessing Your Content

Content can be read from every angle. We read as the companies we write for. We read as ourselves, the experts. We read as our audience, the target market we want to reach. So in the grand scheme of things, there is more than one way to write your website content.

This is why “the best ways of writing website copy” is a hot topic that won’t fade out. When your website’s success depends on the perception of your audience, there are hundreds of ways your content can fail.

“So, what’s the difference between good content and bad content?”

Good content (of any variety) has the following 5 characteristics:

  1. Reflects the Company/Brand Values
  2. Describes the Intent of Page/Post
  3. Provides Resources/Information
    1. Answers a Question
    2. Provides Solution
    3. Begins a Conversation
  4. Presents a Unique Point of View
  5. Communicates with Purpose

At the end of the day, good website content relies solely on the creation and maintenance of trust. And that trust results from establishing a good user experience.

Let’s explore these 5 characteristics of good content in more depth, shall we?

1. Reflect Company/Brand Values

If you were to take a look at your website in its current state, how clear do you define your company’s values throughout the pages? Where do you specifically let your audience know your company’s goals and specialties? Do you make your audience feel welcome? Do you treat your website as your office?

Rule number one to good website content is to define your brand. Everything about your website should be a reflection of your company: from the design to the very last punctuation mark. In order to establish a cohesive brand for your website, you must be sure that every element of your content depicts your company values and gives your audience a feel for what your company stands for and believes in.

Focus Points

  • Define your core brand values
  • Create a hierarchy of products and services
  • Create categories for posts to be sure users can easily find your hottest topics

2. Describe Page/Post Intent

In order to make a clear connection with your audience, it’s imperative to strategize what content you want to highlight and where. Does every page of your website serve a specific purpose? If so, does their organization make sense?

This is where you get creative. What do you want your audience to read first? Where do you want them to end up? What do they need to know before they get to that point?

Focus Points

  • Decide which pages are most important in your main navigation
  • Create links to encourage users to visit important pages
  • Set aside featured pages you want users to see 24/7

3. Provides Resources/Information

Your audience is searching for specific answers to questions and solutions to a problem. When you consider your content, providing specific resources and articles is crucial to your overall success in the SEO world. Period.

While there are specific keywords that you’ll need to target, it is the success of your content to answer those keywords (and their queries) that determines your Google rank for those keywords.

Focus Points

  • List out pages that will help support your most important pages
  • Create specific content that focuses on answering your top searched questions
  • Add multiple ways for users to contact you
  • List all of your applicable locations and addresses

4. Present a Unique Point of View

Everyone says it: you must make unique content. But, that’s not the full story. Creating a lasting presence online is about more than creating content that is shareable and interesting and “unique.” It’s about taking your company and creating a unique conversation with your audience—taking topics that relate to your specific company goals and creating content that explores that idea from your perspective.

Focus Points

  • List out specific ways users can benefit from your content
  • Create content that you alone can provide to your audience

5. Communicate with Purpose

This is where your SEO skills come in handy. Assess the tone of your website content: does it explain topics fully, clearly and in a helpful way? How clear is the writing? Is the page well organized? Do the headers entice readers to continue? Are there clear calls to action and areas to explore further pages?

Just as each page has a focus keyword, each page must have a specific purpose. In order for a website to function in the most effective way possible, you must create the necessary content that will result in an informed user conversion.

Focus Points

  • Create a content flow chart: decide your ideal funnel to conversion
  • Ensure that every page on the way to your conversion point is organized to lead the user to the end of the funnel
  • Provide necessary information along the way
  • Create ways for users to return to the funnel if they stray away

Finding the Right Balance

No matter how many ways you slice it, effective content is content that inspires your audience. We spend hours researching precisely who we need to write to and how we need to phrase things in order to win trust. The key to winning the trust of your audience is not a formula. It’s not a step by step process. It’s not a list of ways you can write content that wins the Google game.

The key to winning trust is to read your content from all of the possible perspectives:

  1. Your Company
  2. Your Audience
  3. Your Experience

When you consistently look a brand’s services, products and values from the user’s experience, you’ll be able to create ways to frame your website’s content in a way that will not only describe what your company does well, but how potential customers can benefit from your company’s experience.

Knowing your audience is the heart of SEO. There are so many ways we can say it. But, at the end of the day, we are all writing to an audience: other gurus, potential friends, prospective clients, future customers, and even our biggest competition. The only way to write effective content is to continue the conversation. To answer questions that need to be answered. To provide the best service we can to the digital world.

An article you may also enjoy: 25 tips to Creating Great Content in 2018 from Caseo

About The Author

Hanna is a Digital Media Designer who loves to blend SEO content strategy with UX design. It's her duty to ensure that your company is represented in a way that your audience will understand. When she's not restructuring and creating website worlds, she loves to paint, write poetry, and dance in the kitchen.

3 Comments

  1. Bob Scheier
    September 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm · Reply

    Hello, Hanna. I can’t argue with much of what you’ve written, but am curious about why you refer to it as “UX writing.” I think of the UX as the “look and feel” of a page rather than the written content. In other words, how is “UX writing” different than any other form of content marketing, in terms of its needs?

    • Hanna Roberts-Williams
      September 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm · Reply

      Hello, Bob! Content marketing, at least from my experience and research, has a tendency to place an emphasis on strategy, which can sometimes cause our content to lose tone or substance. Strategy is crucial, there’s no doubt to that. However, as we continue to learn what SEO is and how our words play with search engines and how we try to engage with our target market, there is a growing trend of using content formulas and “best practice strategies” that are diluting what content is supposed to do: communicate intent.

      UX design places the emphasis on how users perceive our website designs, in turn UX writing, in my opinion, is the emphasis on how the visual representaion of content, and the words we use to create that “visual” are just as crucial to the overall tone and message of the design itself.

      Visual design is nothing without good words to give it life. And, good words are easily overlooked when there is no visual compliment.

      UX writing is taking content marketing a step further. We can create honest strategies and good content and hit the correct milestones, but we must take into account the visual and timing of what we say, how we say it, and where we say it.

      In gist, we must take the tone and idea of UX design and apply it to our writing process: how will my target market read this, what will it make them feel, what will it make them think about my products or brand, and the list goes on. In order to effectively reach our target audience, and make the sales we need to make, we must effectively communicate.

  2. Erik Deckers
    September 26, 2017 at 5:29 am · Reply

    As I was reading this, my brain kept popping back to Item #1, that the written work should reflect the company brand/values. That’s more than just the language that’s used — with every business’ expected talk of “quality” and “leadership” and “best of blah blah blah.”

    It’s also about the quality of the writing. Plenty of content marketers will publish work that’s good enough, but not great. They’re less interested in producing high-quality work, and more interested in just getting stuff published. But does that truly reflect a company’s brand and values? If a company values quality, how much can/should I trust them if their written content is filled with errors or was not written with a lot of care?

    It’s also in the things they talk about. Are their blog posts about intelligent, thoughtful subjects? Or are they relying on the tired “5 Things You Should Know About _______” clichés? Companies that truly want to be thought leaders and seen as the experts in their field should produce original pieces based on their own research and new ideas, especially if they want to portray themselves as leaders in their industry.

    Nicely done! This gave me some important ideas to think about.

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