Visit a shop or a market stall where the goods are old, stale and unappealing and it tells you one thing - the owner doesn’t care.

So what do you do? You leave and probably won’t go back.

It’s the same with your website.

If the content is old, stale and unappealing, new visitors won’t stay, and committed clients won’t bother looking. You’ve lost an opportunity.

But a good fresh site that’s up to date and attractive is a pleasure to visit and it tells you plenty about the company that owns it.

It’s your shop window - not just for your business, but for your attitude as well.

Your website

  • Tells your visitors who you are and what you do
  • Is where you showcase your successes and highlight your skills
  • Is a place where you can give your clients some profile

And it tells your visitors that you’re on the ball - that you’re taking an interest.

The key is well-written content - content that’s crisp, on message and captures the reader.

Yet too often, once the site’s been built, people cut corners by writing the content themselves.

Hey - we all know how to write. Yes? We know our business better than anyone. Right?  Writing our own content isn’t hard to do - is it?

Well look at it like this: You’re in business because you’ve got a skill, you’ve got services to promote or goods to sell. You’re doing this because you’re an expert.

So are professional writers. It’s what we do for a living.

Of course some people do a great job writing their own content, but too often poorly written copy misses the mark.

One of the most common mistakes is people write for themselves, not for the reader. They’re so close to the topic, they can’t see the wood for the trees. They drown the message with extraneous stuff that’s important to them but really doesn’t cut it for the reader. Or they write it like an essay and it’s dull.

Good writers approach your work with a fresh eye - the same eye your visitors bring. A good writer sees the strengths and weaknesses, the things to highlight and the things that need attention.

Another big trap is neglect. You get your website set up, the copy written, the visuals in place, the message screaming to the readers - and then you forget about it.

Neglect your site and it shows.

What was a new client, a new contract, a new award, a new success or innovation six months ago isn’t new now.

A good writer will give you that punch and excitement in the new announcements, but you can’t leave it like that.

Eventually that material must be made timeless, the news page must be updated, new staff need to be profiled, something fresh has to be found to tell you readers. You need that writer back.

A good sharp website provides the framework and mechanics - well written copy puts the flesh on the bones. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Think about it. You’ve got only seconds to lock in visitors to your site, so seize the moment.

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Chris Peters is a professional writer and copy editor who writes and updates website material, and provides communications and other writing services.

Visit his website - www.chrispeters.co.nz