Guide to Developing Website Content

by Sarah Dopp

Your content is what your visitors and search engines see and read on your website. It determines your value, your purpose, your professionalism, and your ability to be found. Your written content is also known as your copy.


Varies significantly by needs

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In many situations, you can write the website copy yourself (provided you have excellent writing skills). You'll probably need an "About Us" page, some useful related information, and a good sales pitch. If you have existing public relations content on hand, pull it out and adapt it to your website.

You'll also do well to include some interesting articles for your visitors. Good, targeted information will increase your website's value and popularity.

Make sure to:

  • Keep your writing brief and to the point. Remember that people don't like to do a lot of reading on their computer screen.
  • Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Make the information easy to digest.
  • Treat every page as though it's your homepage. A visitor may arrive by a direct link to that page, and they'll need to know what else you have to offer.
  • Use professional, keyword-rich language so that search engines know how to list you. See 10 Ways to Optimize Your Site for Search Engines for more information.
  • Test your copy with potential clients to see that it addresses their needs.

If you don't have the skills or staff to produce effective copy for your website, you should hire a professional. There's a large market of marketing copywriters out there. They will work with you to develop your site's image. If your site is informational, hire some freelance article-writers on a regular basis. The hourly rates of professional writers vary from $20-$100 an hour, depending on experience. My favorite place to connect with these professionals is Craig's List.

Not all content is written, however. You may need to hire photographers and designers for your site's content images. You can also purchase stock photography from software packages or photography websites. Again, hourly rates and image prices will vary based on what you need. Talk to your website graphic designer first for your content images.