I’ve been busy lately helping small businesses with their websites (content and direction only; I have several teams I turn to do the technical work). Some have been long-overdue updates (like mine!); some have launched new companies. While I do a variety of writing these for a wide variety of clients, I always enjoy websites because it gives me a chance to find the personality of a small business, and bring that to life on the page in a way that is both engaging and informative.
While I’ve done some big websites in my time, I’m typically working with smaller ones. Recently I got to know a wonderful woman here in town who launched Occhio, an executive search and recruiting company. Smart, funny, and a great writer herself, it was a pleasure of a gig.
Good content reveals the person behind the company, and that is the best branding a small business can do. The fact is whatever service or product you’re selling, the prospective new client or customer can likely get some version of it somewhere else. So at the end of the day, we end up choosing who we want to do business with. The website that relays a true sense of the person has the best shot of winning that business. With the Occhio website, you come away with a good sense of the owner’s creatively, ethics, skills, and ability to get companies their next dream hire. I’m proud of the site, and was grateful to work with the extremely talented team at Mio Creative, who made it all happen.
Here’s a few of the things you need to make your small business website zing:
- Headline and short subhead that makes it clear what you’re about. Make it personality-driven and conversational in nature.
- The first paragraph description of your business should be detailed, clear, and precise. It’s not uncommon to spend a lot of time on this getting it exactly right. Avoid the obvious, cliches, and hyperbole. Shoot straight on this and make the case for the visitor to continue exploring.
- If there is a way to do simply and clearly point to your success record, do it. On the Occhio site, under “Results Oriented Talent Acquisition,” there are impressive numbers revealed the story of her success (another brilliant move by Mio).
- Quotes and rave reviews of your products or services are always a strong selling point.
- The About Us section … first of all, you should have one. I’m always surprised when I’m on a website that neglects the chance to let people learn more of the person/people behind the company. When putting this together, don’t be afraid to use your own voice, even if someone else is writing it. I always do an “interview” with the business owner and then write it up in their voice, something I’m especially good at thanks to my experience writing plays. The tone should be conversational, and some personal information should be included (education, hobbies, brag about your kids or better yet your dogs, etc.).
- Keywords must be determined, and then spread throughout your website pages. Related, lots of subheads, with your keywords, are best.
- Blogs/Articles added monthly are extremely important in keeping your website current and maintaining a high SEO. Websites with content added get listed in searches higher. But warning: If you can’t commit to adding new content or hiring someone who can, don’t do this. If I go to website and click on the articles/blog page and see something from April 2018, I’m gone.
Finally, I’m a big fan of humor. I find it rare when a little humor or wit in the copy isn’t appropriate (then again, I’ve never done a funeral home website). I don’t advocate this just because it happens to be my specialty, or that I think it’s fun to be funny (though both are true); if you can get someone to smile or even giggle at copy on your site, you’ve made a valuable emotional connection.
A lot of work should go into your website’s content, but it should read like. It should read like Brand You.