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by Stephen Logan on 9th August 2011
They may only be words, but the way in which you put them together will have a massive bearing on how your site performs. Leaving aside optimisation duties, on-page content is there to engage with visitors. It sells your products and services, whilst convincing cynical observers that your business can be trusted.
When you fail to meet expectations with your words, you undermine your site and customer confidence in one fell swoop. So here are 5 potential reasons why your site’s content is failing (and a little guidance on what you can do to solve the problem).
1) Poor spelling and grammar
It’s been said hundreds of times, but there really is no excuse for typos within your site content. A couple of minor errors probably won’t see your sales plunge, but if each page is blighted with noticeable issues you’re inviting visitors to head for the hills.
Just a few basic checks and maybe even getting a second opinion from someone you trust could help eradicate this problem. It’s basic language, so don’t allow your professionalism to be called into question for something so simple. For more information, make sure you read The True Cost of Typos for Online Businesses.
2) Failure to engage
If you’re in the business of selling products, make sure your language reflects this. You need to reach out to your audience, let them know why they need this in their life and why they should buy from you. Direct address is often the best way to achieve this. So rather than blandly describing a product, tell visitors why they need it – “You will love the Product X, it offers great value and will make your life easier.”
It’s all about “you” and by “you”, I mean your customer.
3) Too much/not enough Content
You have to find the right balance in your content. Nobody wants to scroll through pages of laborious text, although equally, they want enough information to make a decision. So a small stub or a short novel really won’t meet the needs of most pages.
If you’re extending it for the sake of SEO, don’t. 200 words is usually absolutely fine; 300 may be better, but if you’re endlessly padding and adding nothing, keep it to the essential information to avoid detracting from your core message.
4) It’s duplicated elsewhere
Each page deserves its own content. If you’re endlessly copying it from other pages on your site or even competitors, your visitors are likely to notice. Even if they don’t, the search engines will. There really is no benefit in plagiarising. It shows a lack of imagination and suggests that you don’t care enough about your own site or product enough to invest a little time in writing up a decent page of copy.
5) Use of improper language or unnecessary jargon
The choice of words that you use can be extremely important in helping the customer get a feel for your business and what you offer. Therefore if you start using slang, unnecessarily complex words or industry jargon, you could end up alienating a large swathe of your audience. Being too clever or overly relaxed with your wording can come back to bite you, so make sure all content is accessible and isn’t written for you, but for your customers.
If you can think of any more examples or perhaps disagree with anything mentioned above, make sure you leave a comment below. Writing, as with language as a whole, can be subjective so unanimous approval is certainly unlikely.