Laying Out Your New Site
Hopefully, you have the copy for your website fully written by now. Or at least a very large chunk of it is completed. I’m not talking a few random ideas, and half-finished sentences, I’m talking the DNA of what is about to become your website! With the DNA in hand, we can begin to form the shape of your new website. From your content, we can form an outline including how many pages we need and what headlines to use.
It’s time to go back to school!
Content is King
What’s that you say? You don’t have it written? Well, go back and please read our first post in this series! Without content, not only will your website be incredibly difficult to design and launch, but it will also drive customers away and score badly on search engine scores.
It is worth saying as many times as necessary: “Content is King”. The quality of your content is the single largest determining factor in how well your website will do what it is intended to do!
Content is truly king… and design flows from content. It is pointless to design call to actions, layout web pages, and produce lots of space for the potential copy if nothing is ever going to fill those blank pages.
Do you remember having to write “outlines” in school? The exercise where teachers had us arrange our ideas in order to see the flow and logic of the paper?
Typically it would start with a thesis statement (here that may be your Unique Selling Point or USP), then listing the supporting evidence, culminating in a summary.
That is exactly what we’re doing here.
Now that you have written your copy down, look it over again and start to notice the natural groupings.
You will probably see stuff describing your products and services in detail. That will form the bulk of your website, the part that customers will typically interact with.
These most likely will all have the following elements:
- And even price
You may also notice:
- Things about you and your company
- What you are hoping to accomplish
- How people will benefit from your company
- And more…
And without even trying too hard, we have the outline for our website.
Look at those groupings. We now have what will become the pages of our website.
You will most likely have a “landing page” that draws people in. Borrowing our example from above, this is your thesis.
Next, you will most likely have an about section, a contact section, and a services and products section. Each of these may or may not have sub-sections, depending on how much you are offering. Each product page may have subpages for the types of products and below that, you will likely have individual details & descriptions for each one.
Now may be a good idea to give each of these pages a name. Frankly, don’t try to be too creative with this, unless it already flows from the way you do marketing.
Why call your products, something unique like “trinkets” unless it actually relates to what you are selling and your overall marketing strategy. It will just serve to confuse your customers.
Don’t get me wrong, creativity in your page names can be a good thing, but don’t over think it. Home, About, Products, Services, and other standard ways of naming pages continue as industry standards because it helps your customers quickly find what they are looking for.
And finding things fast is a big part of keeping people on your website and engaged. After all, that is the goal of having a website.
Did you know that more people skim websites than actually read them?
With this in mind, it is extremely important to help the visitors to your website find what they are looking for and quickly. We accomplish this through the use of headlines.
What are your headlines? Think newspapers! “Read all about it!”
Revolutionary Breakthrough in Websites!
As you created your copy, there were words and phrases about your company, your USP, your products and services that stood out as important. More so than the rest of the copy. Go back and find them. It is good to either highlight them or copy and place them in a new section on your paper.
Then rewrite these sections of copy into short phrases that will help grab the reader’s attention. Be sure that they focus specifically on what you are doing or selling, otherwise, it will not actually be beneficial.
For example, “Keeping Cool” would not be a good headline as it doesn’t tell us enough. Instead, consider, “Shirts to Keep You Cool”. The second would be directly related to a product and points your viewer in the right direction.
Do you still need help? It may be time to enlist the help of a professional copywriter!
Ready for more? Read our next post to bring it all home!