Recently at a class I was teaching at our local college, it became apparent to me that most of my students (all business owners), were struggling, not with the technical aspects of building their websites, but with coming up with content, especially for their homepage. This is a problem I often see with my clients as well. So I put together this quick guide to help you get started.
Start by identifying who your ideal customer is.
Describe that person. If it is a 40 year old soccer mom, spell that out right from the beginning. For example, “You are a busy soccer mom trying to juggle running a household, taking care of multiple kids, and still trying to work.”
Identify the problem.
Describe the issues they are facing so they know you understand what they are going through. For example, “Making dinner for your family is important to you, but you just don’t seem to have time to cook a great meal when you are running your kids around to all their activities.”
Describe your solution.
Ask a question and then answer it. For example, “What if someone prepared homemade meals and delivered them right to your door several times each week? You don’t have to worry about messing up your kitchen or cleaning it up because all the work is done for you. And every meal is both nutritious and delicious. Not only can this be your new reality, but the cost is incredibly affordable. Explore our website and let us show you how to get started.”
What would someone search on if they were looking for a solution like yours?
Do a Google search for that keyword phrase. Look at the top 3 websites that appear under that search term (not the ads). Read what they say. You are going to take the best ideas from those sites and write a page in your own words, using what they say, but talking about your solution.
The keyword phrase you identified should be used as your title text, and should be repeated in the description at least 3 times. In this example, we might use “Healthy meals when you don’t have time to cook.” That could be both a title and a phrase you work into the narrative throughout the page.
Avoid using the words “I, we, my, or your name” anywhere on this page if at all possible – it is about your customer and their problem, not about you.
Recap your benefits using bullet points
Despite the fact that humans don’t like reading a lot of copy, search engines prefer longer descriptions. Do not be afraid of writing a lot, just break it into “chunks.” Each paragraph can have its own heading. When you are describing features and benefits, recap what you are saying using bullet points. In the example above, you might say:
- Homemade meals
- Delivered right to your door
- No clean up
- Very affordable
Remember, the home page is not an “About Us” page, it is an “About the Customer and their problem” page. As such, I recommend adding customer testimonials somewhere on your home page. Don’t hide them all on a testimonials page, put them right where if reinforces the story you are telling above.Remember, the home page is not an About Us page, it is an About the Customer and their problem page. Click To Tweet
OK, now you’ve written the copy for your homepage, and it is talking directly to your ideal customer. The next question is,
How Many Links Do I Need to Get on Page 1 of Google?
The answer is that it depends. Getting links from other websites is one of the primary ways that Google decides who gets to appear on page 1. But not all links are created equal. 1 good link may be worth more than 10,000 bad links. I’ve talked numerous times in this blog about how a single link from YouTube can put you on page 1 for a certain keyword. But the truth is, you need links from a variety of websites. A great way of doing this is by using guest posts: you write an article about your topic, and include a backlink to the page on your website where you just happen to sell what you are talking about. And then of course you get that article published on someone else’s blog.You need links from a variety of websites. A great way of doing this is by using guest posts. Click To Tweet
The reverse is also true: getting other people to publish articles on your website can greatly increase your site’s popularity. Sometimes people will even pay you to get their articles posted on your website. This can be a win-win for your business. If you are interested in this, I suggest checking out qualityguestposts.com.
Landing Pages Still Work
My friend and colleague, Chris Brogan, recently wrote an article about how landing pages still work. You know, those long scrolling one-page sales letters that start with a heading, then go into a description, perhaps include a video, then expand upon all the product details, then include a bunch of testimonials, and finally end with a Call to Action (buy now option, often with a bunch of bonuses). These pages contain a ton of information and in many ways are much like an article. As I stated above, Google likes a lot of copy, so don’t be afraid of writing a lot, whether it be for a product description or a blog article.
Reviews versus Testimonials
People often lump reviews and testimonials together, but in fact they are very different. One definition that I’ve seen is that Testimonials are gathered, owned and managed by the business that provided the service/product, while Reviews are collected and managed by a third party, without the business being involved in the process. This is not entirely true, as LinkedIn gathers testimonials and Amazon gathers reviews, but it does help us start to make a distinction. What is important is that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, which is astounding considering that most online reviews are posted by total strangers. That is why you need testimonials on your home page and reviews on your product pages. Let your customers make the sale for you.
A testimonial is a customer talking about an experience they had with your business and letting others know why he or she thinks someone else would benefit from doing business with you. Basically, a testimonial is an endorsement. A review on the other hand is a factual description of how a product or service performed for an individual when using it, but it is not necessarily an endorsement as much as a reporting (even if it rates a 5-star review). I often write product reviews especially on Amazon. Certainly not everything deserves a 5-star review and some reviews are only 1-star. Here is an example of some of the 5-star reviews I’ve written – if you click through and read the reviews, you’ll notice how I go into detail describing the functionality of the product. I recommend that you encourage your customers to do the same when writing product reviews for you. The point is, you want customers to write reviews and share links from their reviews to your website, as I’m doing here. Take a look, you might even find something that appeals to you:
At the same time, I ask for Endorsements or Testimonials from people who have benefited from my work or my teachings, such as those found on LinkedIn. I prefer asking for testimonials on LinkedIn as this is a business network, as opposed to Facebook or Google reviews which are more commonly consumer reviews. Testimonials are important, not only for landing pages and your homepage as described above, but for helping to establish the trust factor with potential customers. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and then use them liberally on your website. You can view my LinkedIn testimonials at:
Of course if you’ve received some value from these weekly blog posts, I’d love to have you write a testimonial as well. You can do so using this form: