website content is different

Why website content is different from other content

website content is differentI’m a big fan of accountants writing their own content.

I want you to learn this skill. Because content marketing is what your buyers want, it’s more effective than any other marketing you could invest time or money in. That includes writing.

Writing blog posts. Writing social media posts. Writing content for ebooks and guides and emails and surveys and presentations.

But website content is a little different. This is why at PF we are far more likely to suggest that we write at least the first draft of your website copy. We welcome your submissions and edits and ideas, of course: but here are three reasons you may want to get a little help with the copy for your website.

Websites are a visual way to get across a very simple message.

“Accounting for dentists.”

“Xero training for bookkeepers.”

“Freelancer and contractor taxes.”

Those are simple messages. A few words and it’s clear who you serve and what you do for them. 

One of the reasons we don’t encourage accountants to write content for your website is that you really don’t need very much. It’s not about quantity: it’s about quality. A succinct message that gets to the heart of what your target market needs.

Don’t mix this up in your mind with equating the number of words to the value. You’ve heard the story of the massive company who calls out a technician to deal with a particularly rare, expensive piece of equipment that they need in order to produce their product. The technician looks around, touches a few things, looks at a pipe, and then pulls out a tiny hammer and taps the pipe. Equipment fixed. The bill: $10,000. When a protest is raised that this is far too much for such a small thing that he did, the technician says, “You’re not paying me $10k to tap a pipe. You’re paying me for knowing where to tap.”

It’s far easier to write thousands of words than to come up with a three-word tag line. The same is true for video. Last week I spent a full day recording videos, and some of the thirty second ones took well over a half hour to do. You had to get the message spot on. Clear. Concise.

We welcome your ideas of key messages for your website: but most of the time it’s a team effort (our team and yours) to come up with the right combination that will get the message across quickly.

On a website, content and design go hand in hand.

It doesn’t work to pick a nice WordPress template and then fill in some words. Or to write content for a site and then fit that into what your designers have created.

A website (well, a good one anyway) is built on strategy. The customer journey. Who is your target audience? What issues do they face? What is the one issue that troubles them more than any other? What are the key messages your website must get across? All of these questions must be answered first before you start looking at pretty layouts and stock imagery.

Years ago, we talked about separating these tasks within our agency. Have the web designer do the layouts, and the content writer fill in the words, and the developer build it all.

But it didn’t work. The copywriter kept asking where the words were going to go, and how many words were needed for this section or that one. And the designer wanted to know what the words were, so that they could choose imagery or design graphics that conveyed that message.

When you look at content and design in isolation, your website has no coherence.

It’s not built to draw your customer through a journey: it’s a random compilation of words about who you are. That’s not a website. It’s a brochure, and not an effective one either.

It’s difficult to succinctly summarise your own brand.

Every business owner finds it challenging to put into words what the customer most appreciates. It’s why we ask for testimonials and quotes, and why getting an email from a client raving about our service is far more powerful than anything we could come up with.

There’s also the fact that accountants in particular are loathe to sound their own horn. You don’t want to be seen as arrogant, pushy, a salesperson. It’s hard to say things like “we’ll help you change your business and life” because at the back of your mind is the fear that what if there is one person whose business and life wasn’t changed? What if you promised and didn’t deliver?

Getting help with your website copy means that you’re not sounding your own horn: someone else is pointing out the horn sounds for you. And once they do that, you’re surprised to discover that it’s quite a sweet sound actually. Maybe you really are that good. (Of course you are!)

So off you go to write your next blog post – which will fit nicely on your well-worded website!