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Web Content Creation Course - Part 3 of 5

The third installment - focus on STRUCTURE
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Hi!

I hope you've been looking at the story surrounding your expertise and adding a few details, because now we're going to find a place for it all. And if you've been a little unsure about what kind of details to add, I've got you covered, so without further ado-

Today we'll nail down the basic structure for your website. This includes both pages you'd expect to find on any website and those that are specific to your story. As it's often said (and this couldn't possibly be truer) content is KING and the reason we've been delving into your unique talents is not only to tell your story but to find the gift you're going to give your visitors. Yep, even if what you know is your business.

The more common parts of the structure will be the content on your homepage, about page, contact page, and work/testimonials. With the expertise we've been working with in mind:

  • On the homepage address the viewer directly. You'll want a paragraph or two at most, dominated by a single sentence that distills how you can use your expertise to help them. Maybe it's a question like it is on my website and maybe it's a short statement about what problems you can help solve, but don't back off and get all general and fuzzy. We narrowed focus for a reason, so rather than:

    "Making your freshwater fishtank a joy, not a hassle," more like

    "Make your Tricolor Sharks the stars of a beautiful, low-maintenance freshwater tank!"

  • On the about page, tell your story in short, and with lots of focus on how you came to your expertise. No need to be exhaustive. What we're doing is adding color to the claim you make on the home page, and all of those other parts of your history you're dying to tell the world are great content to mete out in newsletters and other marketing materials
  • On the contact page, if appropriate, you may generally solicit questions about things related to your expertise. If you're concerned about 'niching down' too much, this would be a great place to encourage more broad questions and work
  • Add examples of your work, descriptions of the services you provide and/or testimonials as is appropriate for your field. Once again, include those work samples and customer quotes that support and illustrate that area of expertise

Beyond those, there'll be a few more sections where you divide up the information you're offering. These can be subdivided, but try to keep it to the most important elements you want to offer to keep from overwhelming our visitors with choices... that's half the reason we got so specific in the first place.

With that in mind, refer back to your notes on the smaller sections inside your specialty. You'll want to write some more introductory articles for those who aren't sure what they want yet as well as some more specific-case type of articles, especially if it's something you see regularly. The important thing to keep in mind is that you have a few goals here:

  • you're cementing your story - here's proof of the skill that every other area of your website is focused on
  • you're giving something of value for free - it's not as though you could completely replace the need for your specialty with a couple of articles, especially ones that deal with a single aspect of your expertise, so go ahead and make sure you load these up with valuable information. This is what makes all of your claims believable, and giving away extra creates an enormous amount of goodwill.
  • you're educating your future customers - This will make sales conversations more productive, help to keep expectations reasonable and customers aware of what goes into the work you perform for them. You're introducing your visitors to the richness of this subject and the real value of the work you do. In this way, you're giving yourself a little gift as well

In addition to the core articles that cover common areas of interest, plan to add new content on a regular basis. If your core articles are really useful, I'm sure you'll find people revisiting them from time to time, but you also want to create the expectation that there's more to come.

Ok, I realize that I stepped back and got a bit more general toward the end there, but that's because I don't know what's going to work best for your area of expertise without digging into it. You on the other hand not only know the subject inside out, you've been writing down all kinds of details related to it over the past couple of days! You might simply want to extrapolate on the core services you provide and add a blog for adding new content, but take a look at what you've got written down and see if there isn't an organizing principle that naturally arises from it.

Joel the Tricolor Shark Whisperer will probably add a section on creating a suitable home for them which includes articles on more general things like freshwater tank maintenance as well as specific information or case studies on different behaviors of Tricolor Sharks. Then he'll add a separate section for content he'll add later that may contain new case studies, but also equipment reviews, breaking Tricolor Shark news, etc.

It may take a few tries to settle on a structure you're satisfied with, but don't worry about getting it absolutely perfect. Most important is that the content supports the expertise we're focusing on and that your visitors aren't overwhelmed with choices. If it seems appropriate, you might even want to start them on a single track from that call-to-action statement on your homepage that ends at your contact page or some other lead magnet. Tinker with this a little, and next time we'll take a look at making this richer without making it more complicated.

Published on 6 April 2016

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