Good website content

sam hollis

Sam Hollis is a Web Designer, Business Owner, Dad,  Digital Marketing Expert and Podcaster

‘I’m always happy to chat and advice is always free’

In this video Sam talks to Jamie McAnsh from See No Bounds about what should I think about when creating content for my website.


Jamie: Hello. Hello and welcome back. And we’re joined back on Live at Five with, of course, the wonderful Sam Hollis. And today we’re going to be talking about website content. So, in a recent show, we talked about the power of a website, but a website is just a place to go. It’s what’s on the website that draws people in, sells to people, connects people, engages people, speaks to people. So let’s talk a little bit about that. So, Sam, welcome back to the show. This is a big subject. Okay? Now, I’m hoping we get this in a ten minutes. If we go over, I don’t really care because it is such a big subject and people get this wrong, very wrong, and sometimes catastrophically. So let’s talk a little bit about the home page. So this is the first place people go. This is like the eyes of the site. This is where if you haven’t captured them on the home page, you’re not going to capture them at all.

Sam:  So what sort of things need to go onto a home page? So, for me, there’s a few things for the home page. The first is, yeah, you need something about your business, but it needs to be really quick and snappy. Can you encapsulate what you do in a sentence or two? Not a 14 paragraph thing? Yeah, literally, the whole for me, the whole of the home page needs to be little bits about different things you do. Very short, very snappy, getting people’s attention. And actually, for me, the home page is about getting people’s attention and getting them to the right page, almost. So, yeah, you need at that top your business name and a little bit about a sentence or two that really lets people know what you do so they know they’re in the right place. And then, yeah, my thing is, where do you want them to go, which page you want them? And so little bits, a header, a sentence or two and a button and a picture that’s really attracting them, if that area of the business is for them, or a different one over here, and just trying to just get them to the right place. Because eventually the key is, like we said in the last program, you want them to do something to buy, to make a call, to get the free download, whatever it is. And it’s about finding something that tempts them. Is that tempting them now or don’t we? Because there’s something else here that might that’s a bit different, that’s talking about different areas of my business, different things you’re offering, that you’re trying to tempt them to that place, to eventually get them to the end goal.

Jamie: Yeah. That’s incredible, because I was thinking whilst you were talking then, I was actually thinking about seeing a band, and that’s what we got. So as you land on it, we got a big circle to tell everyone that we’re award winner and that’s a little bit of vanity. And our award is up there, by the way, so I’m quite proud of that. But then we have get connected, get support, get exposure. That’s what we’re about. And then it says, Come join us to network. So it’s like, join the network, join the network, get connected, get exposure, get support. So we have that. And then as you go down, there’s a couple of video testimonials, which I think is always good when people are definitely networking. And then as you go down a bit further, you’ve got our blogs, our blogs, but three of them, not like a whole that’s it.

Sam: So you’re showing them little key things, getting them to the right.

Jamie: Okay. They’ve got this I think that the home page needs what you’re saying, if I’ve got this right, the home page needs to be more of a flyer rather than an essay. So then we get them off then. So in theory, then, what about services contact? So obviously you’ve got ecommerce. So we’ll talk a little bit about ecommerce. I said this in the last show as well. Right. Ecommerce websites are complicated, and I think their build structure is very different.

Sam: They’re kind of different because you’re aiming for a different endpoint.

Jamie:  Like on Amazon, there’s no about yeah, because no one cares about it. They just want to go on there, buy what they’ve got to go. And like, we’ve got this recording studio setup here, and everything I bought is off Amazon because it’s what I need. But I didn’t go on there. I don’t care about the history. So I think that’s really important and I think it’s an important thing to say. But for services, however, whole different ballgame, right?

Sam: Yeah. Yes. And whole your whole company history probably is going to board them. They’re going to leave. It’s still got to be about them and what they want, which Amazon is very much about you and what they want, which is the product. And in a similar way, whatever website it is, needs to be about the visitor and what they want. And you are getting them to the quickest place for you to help them with what they want.

Jamie: let’s say , for example. I’m just trying to think the type of audience that we have. So we’ve got a lot of coaches within the Cena Bands Network, right? A lot of coaches well being, individual, solopreneurs that are putting their product out there. All right.  I’ve moved a lot away from the we, and I think you’ve mentioned it in the last show as well.

Sam: It needs to be more about the how it needs to be about what they’re going to get out of it, what are they going to gain. You’re talking to them about their problems and yeah, you need to come in because you need to show how you’re going to solve them. But it needs to be from their point of view. So a lot of time when people write their own content, they’re like, we provide this and we provide that, and we provide the other. And yes, you need to have that, but you need to turn on its head and you need to talk about the person who’s visiting. It needs to be, from their point of view, what are they going to gain, what’s beneficial for them, and then what you’re offering to solve it.

Jamie:  So would you recommend, and this isn’t a big one, would you recommend getting someone else to write that content?

Sam: Yes. So on all our websites now, we have a professional writer who’s in house and works with us. I used to get businesses to write their own content, and it’s a bit of a disaster, to be honest. There’s a couple of reasons. Even we’ve worked with a few professional writers, and if they don’t not used to writing for websites, it doesn’t work that well. It’s an odd way of writing. So, yeah, there’s two sides. One is writing for website is OD. There’s a vast amount of repetition. You need to know a bit about SEO, you need to know about website structure and things. So it takes quite a lot of work to know that. And for a lot of business owners, they know too much. So a writer, you can tell about their business and they can really do well at condensing it down and getting across the key point.

Jamie: That is a massive top tip. And I’ll tell you who’s worst for that, is engineers. My goodness. Have a conversation with an engineer about their business and they would make a glass. I sleep. Go to sleep. Right. But they’re incredible what they do, and that’s the point. But they’re not about the whole you need somebody else to come in, listen to that and then encapsulate it in a sentence.

Jamie: Yeah. And copywriters and PR writers as well are very good at that. Journalists, journalists are actually they’re not so good about writing for themselves, but they’re really good about writing for other people because they’re very good at because they’re used to it.

Sam:  Yeah. Great. Website in some way works like that news bread article. You’re trying to catch people’s attention at the top and you got the whole story very quickly, but then more detail as it goes down, which is a similar structure to your structure.

Jamie: Okay, so the next thing now I’m going to talk about is Photos, right. I’m not against stock images. All right. To a degree, I think that’s their place. All right. Certainly if you are looking to do like, I use stock images sometimes for blog stuff, right. But website content, I don’t like stock photos because you want the image to be searchable. What’s your view on this?

Sam:  It depends, obviously, on your budget. It depends on what you’re doing. A website that is pure stock stands out like a sore thumb. It’s really obvious. if you’re doing something like accounting, and you’ve got a few of the team, and there are a few stock images of people with a spreadsheet or something. That’s fine. That mix, I think, can work, but definitely you need some good pictures of you for most people, if you’re a service. I think a lot of people on Cenabands are a service, aren’t they? Yeah. And you need to know who that person is. So some good professional shots, I think, is really important and

Jamie: Continual as well. Me and Charlotte got loads of professional photos them and we’re always accepting that photo opportunity or accepting that opportunity to have a picture taken. Or if our photo is in something like, do you mind if we use that? Because it’s giving you different angles.

Sam:  Definitely

Jamie:  what about it’s very popular at the moment is artistic pictures, like cartoons and stuff like that. That’s very popular now, isn’t it,

Sam:  in terms of what, personalized ones?

Jamie:  No, a lot of websites, a lot of big sites are using it now where it’s almost like cartoon illustrations rather than graphical illustrations.

Sam: Yeah, I think they’re quite cool. Yeah, no, they can work really well. And it sort of gives the website a nice look if they all match and it goes through and it’s relevant to the business. Yeah, no, that can work really well.

Jamie: Okay, so let’s talk about something else. So we’ll talk a little bit about styling now, right? Because styling is a bit of a tricky one for me, all right? Because our website, if you go on our website, our website is all white, all right? It’s clean, it’s fresh, it’s white. Right. With our branding colors, however, I actually read better in black and white as someone who’s dyslexic. Sam: Okay,

Jamie:  now you want your website to look fresh and you want your website to look clean and you want your website to look nice, but there are apps that you can plug into the website to make it.

Sam:  Yeah, there’s a whole and there’s a whole we’ve had this discussion with a lot of customers. It’s the sort of the balance often between how much budgeting you got, how much diversity you want to include. So I think to start with, you can think about it whenever you’re making a site and just think about things like good contrast, not sort of light blue on dark blue font being a good size so that you don’t have to squint to read know basic stuff so that it makes it clear as much as possible to as many people as possible. And then you’re right, you can then make it much more adaptable to different people, have built in readers habits so people can change the colors.

Jamie: Yeah. I think that is just so important. We’re looking now to develop that on Sasina bands, but I think people need to be looking and thinking about neuro diversity now when they’re building the website and they’re getting their contact in place.

Sam: Yeah. And also with that, it’s the different stuff. So you were saying it’s not just the writing, you got the photos, but also the video. So some people will really want to read the text, while other people would be hopeless for them. And it’s much better having a video and awesome audio and there’s all those different people. So having mixed and match on your site can really work for different people to have video.

Jamie:  Really? Because we’ve got videos on our site, we’ve got five of them on the front page. We got loads of videos on our side. But even on my own personal brand, the first thing that comes up is my video of me displaying who I am as an individual. I wanted to touch on this. I know we spoke about this in the last page as well, is about the about page. Some sites need to have it, some sites don’t. Now, as a personal brand, it is my story. If I don’t have an about page yeah.

Sam: Then there’s nothing left in yeah, that’s it.

Jamie:  But if I was selling tires, no one cares about who I am. It’s very much about that, isn’t it? Yeah, definitely. So you’ve got quite a good team now, haven’t you? So within your team, you’ve got all the bases covered, right? Yeah. Content writers.

Sam: Yeah, got a couple of content writers, got some website designers and then VAS who do bits and busy.

Jamie:  So you’re like a one stop shop now when it comes to website development, what’s the benefit of that?

Sam:  The benefit is we’ve got different people with different skills. So you were saying, oh, if you’re doing an ecommerce site, you need to go to the right person. So I’ve got now a range of designers on board, so I go, Right, we need to do some SEO stuff so I know who to send that to. Somebody else comes along and goes, right; we need this site to be really designed. The look is really key, and then I know who to give it to them. So we got different people with different skills. I can balance different businesses with different writers, with different designers. So the team then works for them rather than it being me and my skill.

Jamie:  And obviously you’ve got that communication thing going on as well

Sam: Because you got like that project tactic platform where you can then utilize it. Okay, so I’m going to ask you, we got to end the show,

Jamie: but I’m going to ask you one final question, right? If someone was watching this show and they’re going, well, I want a website, but I don’t really know what to put on it, what would be your top tip?

Sam: The top tip is think about what the endpoint is. So what do you actually want people to do? And then think about their journey through the website and work from there. So how are you going to get them to the home page, to the relevant page? What are you going to talk about? There that’s going to talk about solving their problems and getting them to click that button, do whatever it is you want them to do.

Jamie: Fantastic. Actually, that’s a great tip to end the show on. I think that’s brilliant. And that is Sam will be joining us again shortly, talking around SEO, which is, again, another massive subject when it comes to websites. But, Sam, thank you so much for giving us quite a few little golden nuggets in there. And so until till next time, take care.

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