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Website Content Writing Guide for Small Businesses
We've all heard it - less is more. Not every business needs a complex website. Not every business needs to use every possible social media platform to market themselves. What every business needs, however, is a strong foundation. Build around your product/service and don't overcomplicate things.
The best that you can do for your business is make it accessible to existing and prospective clients. Cover the basics and you're good to go. The rest will come.
Cover the Basics
At the very least, you should have a basic website with simple, clean design that covers the key points.
- Who are you and what it is that you do?
- Where and how can people find you? If you have a physical location like a shop, restaurant, pop-up or anything like that, include your location, a phone number, and an email address (or a contact form). Make sure all of those are up-to-date. Don't expect customers to go chasing after you!
- Include at least a few high quality images of your product/service/location.
- If you are active on social media, include where people can find you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
- Don't include a blog unless you are willing to update it regularly. As a customer, if I visit your website, click on the blog, and see that the last entry was three years ago, I may question whether your business is still active.
- If your business is affected by seasonal changes (B&Bs, anything relating to tourism, hospitality, or even selling seasonal produce like heirloom plants), showcase that in your web presence and update according to seasons.
Key Things to Include in Your Web Copy
- Tell your story. I'll say that again. Tell YOUR story. Explain how what you do helps your customers. And when you are telling your story, keep it short and sweet. Don't be generic. There is too much generic content as it is. Especially now, when every other person claims to be a life coach and a mentor yet everyone's web copy tells the same story, which might be fine, but the problem is that it is told in the same exact way, often using the same exact words. Don't do that! This is a fantastic example of an effective, simple, and oh so sweet about us page.
- Let customers know you. Sometimes it is a good idea to include a picture of yourself or your team on your website. It is much easier for customers to trust a company that they can put a human face to. In writing, you don't have to go into too much detail, but it's nice to have a short introduction to the founders or the people who are running day-to-day operations.
- What is your product/service? It's one thing to write about your product or service, but it should always be clear what story you are telling. On top of selling a product/service, you are selling an idea. That idea is usually about a certain lifestyle or a set of values your customers have. For example, a dining table is more than a piece of furniture. It represents an idea of family meals, of connection and togetherness. It represents the idea of a home that's whole. A piece of outdoor equipment sells the idea of an active lifestyle.
- Back up your claims. If you claim your product is durable, affordable, outstanding or anything like that, back it up with proof. As a prospective buyer, as a reader, I want to know - why? Are your dining tables better because of the materials? Do they showcase excellent craftsmanship because woodworking has been in the family for generations? Backing up claims is very important when you are either trying to establish your authority in the niche you work or when there are slightly contradicting claims in your web copy. For example, if you say your product is bespoke, high-quality yet affordable, then tell me how it is possible because more often than not, bespoke products have a higher retail price than mass-produced items.
- Explain. Your web copy should guide the customer through the whole process from making orders to using your product/service. There is nothing more frustrating than having to spend time scrolling through FAQ's and jumping through hoops to figure out simple things. Explain like you would to a child - in simple terms and easy-to-follow steps. Figure out the questions your customers might have and prepare answers before they reach out to you.