Posts Tagged ‘Search Engine Optimization’

Tips for Editing Professional Website Content

June 21, 2021

Before you start editing website content, review the following:

  1. All the notes collected in the client interview process
  2. The client’s existing website(s)
  3. The client’s Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Yelp reviews and any other any information you have about them

If you’re editing a page on a topic you’re not fully conversant in, take the time to do your own research before you start. Remember: As editor, you’re the last line of defense. 

Style Tips

Use contractions and a friendly tone to make the content flow as smoothly as possible. As Joseph Sugarman notes in The Copywriter’s Handbook, reading copy out loud is a great way to discover the version that sounds best.

For example:

That’s the way we like it. 

Flows better than:

That is the way we like to do things around here.

Never scold the reader. And don’t begin sentences with the words “you should.”

For example:

Brushing and flossing every day will protect your smile from tooth decay and gum disease.

Sounds a lot friendlier and less ominous than:

If you don’t brush your teeth, they’re gonna fall out. 

Don’t use highfalutin words. You don’t impress potential customers when you use words they don’t understand. In fact, it leads them to conclude that you just aren’t smart enough to say what you mean in plain English. And words like utilize, therefore and however make you sound snooty, putting distance between you and the reader, so use them sparingly.

Phrases like our goal is or we aim to should be omitted because they imply an incomplete action.

That’s why:

We’ll give you a smile you’ll want to share with friends.

Is more direct and convincing than:

Our aim is to give you a smile that you’ll want to share with friends. 

When describing the client’s services, use the active voice as much as you can. 

Instead of saying:

Clear images of your teeth and the hard and soft structures that support them will be generated using advanced diagnostic equipment.

Put your client in command by saying:

Using our advanced diagnostic equipment, Dr. Gonzales will generate clear images of your teeth and the hard and soft structures that support them.

Control/F Is Your Friend

When editing website content, you can use the Control/F keyboard shortcut to avoid the repetition of catch phrases that your writers like to use such as our veneers will make your smile shine like new.

You’ll also want to be careful about overusing common words and phrases. For example, there’s a limited number of ways to express cause and effect, such as since, therefore, this leads to, due to, consequently, that’s why, so, for this reason and because. The Control/F keyboard shortcut can be really helpful for prevent using one of these constructions too many times.

Consider the Connotations of the Words You Choose

Connotations are the feelings that a word evokes in addition to its official dictionary definition.

For example, the words cheap and inexpensive mean roughly the same thing, but they have very different connotations.

It’s more effective to say that Dr. Smith provides outstanding care than it is to say Dr. Smith provides outstanding treatment because the word care has all sorts of warm and fuzzy connotations

And don’t use words with negative connotations to assert a positive value. Legendary copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis used to get really annoyed whenever he read copy that suggested a product would “drastically improve your life.”

Drastic is full of negative connotations — Instead, say This product will dramatically improve your life?

Two Quick SEO Tips

For SEO purposes, look for opportunities to add internal links whenever you feel it will enhance the User Experience (UX). This gives Google a better understanding about the structure of your website.

We know that the Google bots reward good grammar with higher rankings. That’s why you’ll want to follow the writing standards that your organization adheres to, such as AP format or your in-house writing guide(s). 

Using Headlines, Bullets and Bold Text

A solid wall of text is intimidating. Make your writing more inviting by using bullets and headlines to break it up into more palatable bites. This is especially important for improving mobile optimization. Research shows that the overwhelming majority of readers will read the headlines, bullets and bolded text first, so you want to make them stand out.

It’s essential to take your time when editing headlines. Use them to clearly explain how you’re going to solve the reader’s problem. In other words, sell the benefit in the headlinesas much as you can.

Weak Headline The Benefits of Veneers

Strong Headline — Veneers: Get a Beautiful New Smile in Just Two Visits

Remember to be specific. Tell the reader how you will make their life better by saving them time, saving them money, making them look better, making them feel better, or making other people want to be like them.

Bullet lists are extremely effective for highlighting the benefits that you’re trying to sell. But remember: the longer you make your bullets, the less effective they become.

You can also use bolding sparingly to highlight important points and for terms that will be new to the reader such as osseointegration.

Improving Workflow

If anything is unclear, or if you need additional information from the writer or the client, post a note in your Project Management Tool (i.e., Trello, ClickUp, Mondays). You’ll also want to @ the writer, the project manager and anyone else on your team who’s involved in the project.

Questions you might want to ask when editing content for a dentist’s website include:

  • When was the practice founded?
  • Is Dr. Yu the only dentist at the practice who performs implant surgery?
  • Is Dr. Swartz involved in any activities that benefit the local community?

Make Your Client the Star

The Meet Our Client page on websites that promote local professionals such as dentists, lawyers or contractors should be among the most highly ranked pages on the site.

When editing your client’s bio, put the most compelling or appealing information first. Don’t start off by writing about their credentials and educational background. You can save that for later. Begin with something more endearing, such as a personal story about why they chose their profession.

Effective CTAs

You don’t have to wait until the end of the document for your CTA. And it’s perfectly ok to have two or more CTAs on the same page. 

Always include a button with the CTA.

Put the client’s phone number in the CTA text, making it easier for mobile customers to call. 

If the client features any special offers such as a free consultation, make sure to mention it in the headline that introduces the CTA.

by Richard W. Bray