Building a Website from Scratch: Content Edition

Content Goodies

Building a new website from scratch requires laser focus, superhuman levels of organisation, and lots of snacks.

But did you know you’ll also need a good website content strategy? Your website’s content should focus on 1 or 2 distinct goals and speak to a specific audience. Without clear objectives, your content won’t attract and retain readers, and all those delicious snacks will have been consumed in vain.

In this blog, we’ll show you how we build a content strategy for a new website. Even if you’ve never written a website copy before, you’ll learn how to structure your website’s content so that it’s easy to navigate, and how to write it so that it’s fun for your audience to read.

So grab those pretzel chips and turkey sticks, and start deep diving into building a web content strategy that supports your website goals.

Why does website content matter, anyway?

If there’s one element that decides the success or failure of your new website, it’s your content. That might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true! No other single element is responsible for critical factors like:

  • Generating website traffic
  • Driving content marketing
  • Catching (and keeping) the attention of search engines
  • Engaging in a long-term relationship with your target audience


Good content serves your business goals by communicating with customers in clear, professional language (that also happens to rank well with search engine algorithms).

Excellent web content is an ongoing, positive conversation with your most important asset: your target audience. Your website should be the ultimate authority on your brand, products, and industry. It’s a place where consumers can find reliable information and level-headed, expert advice.

When your website content is engaging and trustworthy, you can grow your email marketing list. You don’t have to depend on the vagaries of the social media algorithm. Instead, you can engage with a home-grown marketplace that cares about your products and wants to be a part of your conversation.

A content strategy is like a “secret sauce”

If we’re still talking about snacks (and let’s be honest, we’re ALWAYS talking about snacks), then a web content strategy is like your “secret sauce”. 

Your content strategy should flavour every part of your website design and navigation, from your basic website structure to the placement of each call to action (CTA) button.

The key to creating a successful content marketing strategy lies almost entirely in two things:

  • Understanding your target audience
  • Being consistent in your communication

     

Your overarching goal should be creating a content strategy for the web that fosters steady communication with a target audience you know well. If you keep returning to that “secret sauce” strategy, your web content will be reassuringly familiar and consistently engaging for your audience.

Get to know your target audience

Before you start adding content to your website, you need to understand who that content is for. A common way to dive deeper into the mind of your target audience is to create a profile of your ideal customer. In content marketing, we call this a “buyer persona”. 

A buyer persona tells you everything you need to know about your customer. Your buyer persona should include elements like:

  • Demographics like age, income, location, and gender. Only some of these will be relevant for some products, but specific demographics can play a big part in encouraging customers to buy a product. For instance, customers aged 25-40 and living within a 60-mile radius of Boston are probably the most likely to purchase Boston Celtics baby apparel.
  • Valuegraphics that tell you the values and beliefs that help drive a purchase. These might be values like family, sustainability, or a commitment to buying locally. To understand your customers at the deepest level, you need to know the shared values that unite buyers from different demographic groups

Conduct customer research

You’ll have to conduct research to gather this information. You can do that by studying the data you already have about your customers (past purchases should help you understand how much disposable income a customer is likely to have, where they live, what times of the year or holidays drive their purchases, etc.).

You can also conduct customer research by asking the customers for data. Facebook polls or Survey Monkey surveys are a great way to collect information about your ideal customer. Polls and surveys let you ask questions about valuegraphics and demographics, giving you an all-around picture of what drives your customer to purchase your products or services.

Create buyer personas

When you’ve gathered data about your buyer, use it to create a detailed buyer persona. Give your buyer a name, and talk about their family, their income, the type of work they do, and the area they live in. Then, write down the values that make them want to buy your product.

Remember that you’re writing to your buyer persona every time you write (every time!). Your web content should speak directly and unmistakably to them. It should feel compelling and relevant to their life, needs, and values.

Whether crafting your website headline or the top navigation headers, every element should be written with your target audience in mind.

Dreams and goals: Setting your content objectives

The best content strategies for websites are written for a specific audience (as detailed above) AND driven by business goals.

Following our snack analogy, you can’t magically arrive at nachos if you don’t know you’re supposed to be making nachos. Likewise, you won’t achieve amazing website traffic if you haven’t defined what “amazing” looks like to you.



Set web content goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable. That might look something like:

  • 4 new blogs per month, at 1,000 words per blog
  • 1 website content audit per quarter
  • 4 new website images per month
  • 600 words per product page, with a keyword density of 0.5%
  • 200 unique visits per week
  • 15 email newsletter signups
  • 2 conversions per week


Every industry will have different achievable metrics. If you’re a small business, don’t worry about getting as many weekly conversions as the big guys. Instead, focus on metrics that show your website contains relevant content for your audience. 

You’ll know you’re creating relevant content if it encourages customer interaction. Metrics like email signups and blog shares or comments will help you see whether your content marketing efforts are helping you meet your goals.

Your website content should be focused on engagement. If you consistently speak to your buyer persona and try to reach the actual humans behind the website visits, you’ll see a steady increase in engaged customers who are loyal to your brand.

Content creation: Start with a content audit

Creating a website content strategy from scratch doesn’t mean you need to toss all of your old content. Start by conducting a content audit to find usable content on your old website that can be repurposed on the new website.

Here’s how professional copywriters approach decisions about whether to keep older content:

Homepage content

In general, it’s best to write fresh homepage content. Your homepage is your first impression on your website visitors, so you want it to be as eye-catching and straightforward as possible. 

Use your old homepage content to guide the topics you want to cover, or to ensure you include all critical, industry-specific language. But if you’re moving your content marketing in a new direction, feel free to trash your old homepage content entirely and start fresh.

Product pages

Much of your product page information will remain the same unless you update your inventory or services along with the new website. If your products or services remain unchanged, keeping the specs data, like materials, sizing, etc., is okay.

But, you’ll still want to write new product descriptions because, this time, you’ll write them based on specific keywords. We’ll cover keyword research below, but your product pages should include the keywords that will help your target audience (and search engines) find your products.

Blogs

Blogs are one of the easiest content formats to repurpose. You can probably reuse most of your existing content, but you should read each blog post to find where information needs to be updated, links need to be relinked, and fresh sources need to be found.

While assessing your blogs, you should also find ways to include more relevant keywords. You should increase the overall word count, too. Blogs need more and more words to rank high in search engine results, so a 500-word blog from 6 years ago probably needs to be a 2,000-word blog to rank today.

FAQs

FAQs are often overlooked by business owners undergoing a website self-build. But professional copywriters always include them. Why? Because FAQs are a brilliant way to add keywords to a page without dragging down the pace and punch of the primary copy. Read your old FAQs to ensure the information is current, and add new ones as needed.

Contact

If your contact information has changed, you’ll need to include the new details. But updating a Contact page also involves deciding how you want to be contacted. You may use a contact form, provide a customer service email address, or offer a phone number. Some small businesses have seen positive results by asking customers to chat with them on WhatsApp.

Once again, refer to your buyer persona. How would your customer want to contact you? Use what you know about your ideal customer to decide what information to include on your Contact page.

About

The facts about your company’s inception will remain the same, so you can reuse those on your new About page. But you should rewrite your About page with your buyers in mind to share a story that resonates with them.

The About page is a golden opportunity to connect with your customers. You can use your About page to share some unique, little-known details about how you started your company. 

You can introduce your team members and share a bit of their personalities. Or, you can talk about how your company is different, whether through your commitment to sustainability or your engagement with local charitable organisations.

The About page is a chance to talk about you rather than the customer, so use it to share details that will forge a deeper connection with your audience.

Perform a content audit of competitors, too

When you’ve decided what content you’re keeping from your old website, it’s time to fill in the blanks with new content.

We always like to review 3 to 4 competitor websites to understand how others in the industry discuss products and services. Of course, this content shouldn’t be copied verbatim; plagiarism is never cool! But, looking at competitors’ websites is a great way to get a feel for the tone of voice, general word count, and overall page layout that others in the industry use.

If you need to beef up your blog content, competitor websites are excellent places to get ideas for new blog posts or find sources for stats you can use in your blog posts.

Customer reviews and questions for the inside track

One of the best-kept secrets in writing ultra-relevant content that resonates loudly with your audience is to read customer reviews and questions.

Your customers tell you exactly what they care about in their reviews and questions. They’re telling you their pain points and their concerns. They share their values, hopes, and beliefs that have brought them to your product or service.

Always consult customer reviews and questions when writing your website content.

Organise content creation with a content calendar 

A content calendar is essential to any content strategy. In a content calendar, you’ll write the titles for the blogs, ebooks, newsletters, and other content you intend to create throughout the year. Then, you’ll schedule who will write them, where they’ll be posted, and how they’ll be promoted.

It’s helpful to use a content calendar to keep your regularly updated content (like blogs) organised. That way, you’ll know you have new content planned for the entire year and can quickly find links to every piece of content.

We recommend creating a content calendar for at least 12 months in advance. That way, you have a clear picture of your content’s direction over the next year, and you can ensure that it aligns with your brand voice and buyer persona.

SEO magic: Make the search engines love you

If you’re new to it, search engine optimisation (SEO) can feel utterly cryptic. But with the right tools, it’s pretty intuitive, and we might say…fun? Yes, it can definitely be fun! We’ll show you how – but first, a quick explanation of SEO.

Search engines like websites that are user-friendly. That means they’ll reward websites with a higher rank in search engine results if they make the browsing experience better for the user in ways like:

  • Loading quickly
  • Offering easy-to-follow navigation
  • Using lots of relevant images
  • Sharing links to valuable information from well-respected websites
  • Being accessible to users of all abilities
  • Offering relevant, useful content


All of these components (
and more) contribute to a higher search engine ranking.

SEO-friendly content

Because search engines want to find the best content on the internet for consumers, search engine algorithms read and index your website to see what kind of content it contains, how relevant it is to consumer searches, and whether the content is high-quality.

When planning your content strategy, you should keep search engines in mind. Yes, your content strategy should first and foremost speak to your human audience. But by meeting the needs of the search engines, you’ll automatically provide a better website experience for your customers.

That means that your website’s content should be helpful, informative, and well-written. Google can suss out lousy grammar and punctuation, broken links, images that load slowly, and other factors that make for a poor customer experience. 

There’s no room for error when it comes to website content, so your content strategy must include useful blogs, clear and catchy homepage copy, and practical product information.

Keywords to support your SEO efforts

When you know the content formats you need to include for a brilliant content strategy, you can start to plan precisely what you’ll write about.

Every page on your website should focus on strategic keywords. A keyword is a word or phrase customers use to search for your products or services online. If you’re in the landscaping business, your customers might search phrases like “landscapers” or “landscapers near me”.

Often, the most popular keywords – the ones with the highest monthly search volume (MSV) – aren’t the best ones to use on your website. Their popularity makes them a target for big companies with massive marketing budgets. The big guys can afford to throw thousands at paid advertising for those keywords every month. Maybe you can’t. But that doesn’t mean all is lost.

The best strategy is to find less popular but still relevant keywords. Think of them as the store-brand keywords. So, instead of focusing on the keyword “landscapers”, which in the UK has an MSV of over 12k and is extremely competitive to rank for, we might suggest that you focus on including the keyword “garden landscaping”, which still has an impressive MSV (8.1k!) but is far easier to rank for in search engine results.

SEO tools can make it easier

Search engine optimisation isn’t guesswork. “Hunches” are part of the equation. But, you need to back up those hunches with cold, hard facts about the number of monthly searches your keyword inspires, the competitiveness of each keyword, and the number of times your keyword will need to appear on the page to achieve a higher search ranking.

Part of your content strategy will likely include a budget for content creation. Your content strategy budget should also have a line item for SEO tools.

There are brilliant free SEO tools like MozBar, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. A quick search for “best free SEO tools” will lead you to more.

But in our experience, the paid ones are easier to use, especially for those new to the SEO game. We have had great results with SurferSEO and SERanking.

Crafting content like a pro

Use your keywords wisely! While it’s true that search engines reward websites that contain the right keywords, they’ll demote websites that engage in “keyword stuffing”. 

That means, if you dump a load of keywords into your copy in a way that doesn’t make sense or read like natural language, the search engine will notice and place your website even lower in search rankings.

The trick is to write helpful content that naturally includes the right blend of keywords and informative copy. Often, your content should consist of more than one keyword per page. 

Achieving keyword harmony is like finding just the right balance of refried beans, cheese, guac, and pico de gallo to make the perfect nachos. It’s trickier than it looks. But so worth it!

Attention-grabbing headlines

Your web content strategy will probably start with a homepage, and every homepage hinges on a striking hero image and headline.

Make your headlines short and precise, packing as much punch as possible in the smallest number of words. Headlines should tell the reader exactly what you do or how you can solve their problem.

  • This headline is okay: “Professional landscaping services for gardens in greater London”.
  • But this headline is better: “Landscaping magic for busy Londoners”.


The first headline clarifies what the company does and who they do it for. But the second one is more concise. It tells the same story in fewer words, and the words are more exciting. 

Words like “magic” and “busy” carry emotional weight. A customer seeking landscaping services is probably too busy to tend their own gardens and feels slightly crushed by the weight of their busyness. They want a landscaper who’ll make their garden look nice as if by magic. 

Content that’s smooth, not slick

Even if you work in a buttoned-up industry like legal or finance, your customers still want to feel connected to your company. Salesy marketing lingo that sounds vaguely like a scam will definitely not attract more customers.

When you create content, the most important goal is to be genuine. Seek a genuine connection with your audience, and strive to be genuinely helpful and informative in your content strategy.

Using an AI tool like ChatGPT is a great way to develop blog titles or outlines for an ebook. But, AI copywriting isn’t advanced enough to create a sincere connection with your audience.

Write human-centric copy that tells a genuine story. Pepper it with honesty. Offer insights, personality, and fun. Customers can choose to buy products and services from almost any company in the world. They’ll decide to buy from you when they can sense the real people behind the brand.

Content distribution: A crucial part of your content marketing strategy

We’ll only touch on content distribution briefly, as this blog’s primary focus is creating content for your new website. But, a solid content strategy for websites large and small should include a plan for distributing that content.

Your content marketing strategy outlines where and when you’ll talk about your blog posts, new products, ebooks, videos, and other website content. 

Your target audience should drive the social media channels you choose. If your audience is middle-aged moms, you’ll probably want to be on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. If you’re a B2B company, you should focus on LinkedIn and X (Twitter).

Posting times and frequency will depend on your audience and the social media channels you’re using. There’s a lot of guidance about posting times and frequency online, but you can boost your content strategy by conducting tests on the times and frequency that resonate best with your audience.

Measuring success: How to know if your content’s killing it

You’ve set goals for your website content strategy and created brilliant content for your website. Now we reach the moment of truth: is your content driving website traffic and converting to sales?

You’ll want to revisit the metrics for success you defined at the beginning of your content creation. If you’ve met your goals, fantastic! Your content has struck a chord with your audience, and they’re interested in your website and your products.

But realistically, you probably haven’t quite met your goals. And it’s not because your content is terrible; it’s because content marketing is a long game, and to play it successfully, you have to deliver high-quality content that matters to your audience for many months. Sometimes years.

Shoot for engagement, not traffic volume

For starters, revisit your goals and make sure you’re measuring the things that matter. In the early days of search engine optimisation, we focused on getting high volumes of website traffic, assuming that was enough to convert every viewer to a sale.

Today, online shopping is old hat, and customers aren’t amazed at every online shopping experience. They’re often fatigued by poor online shopping experiences and wary of untrustworthy retailers.

To catch your audience’s attention, you’ll need to be trustworthy. Approachable. Inspiring. You have to make a real connection with your audience through the values and beliefs they hold dear. And they can spot “fake” pretty quickly, so your efforts need to be sincere.

Don’t worry if your website traffic volume isn’t the highest. The most important metrics explore whether your audience interacts with your website and finds value in your content.

Low bounce rates and high amounts of time spent on each page show your audience is reading your content. Conversions to a “Contact” form or newsletter subscription can be as important as conversions to a sale, as this shows that customers want to become more involved with your website.

Those metrics show that your audience finds your content useful, and search engines reward websites that display high engagement rates with viewers.

It takes time

The reality is that content marketing can take years to deliver results. And in those years, you need to commit to relentlessly producing informative content your audience can trust. 

Those years of dependable content build a bond between the customer and the brand. As you learn more about your customers, you can connect with them in ways that they prefer to deepen the customer/brand bond.

Never stop optimising your content

Content marketing is an ongoing task. It’s not a once-off banquet of frilly words and snazzy Insta updates. It’s more like the day-in, day-out drudgery of making nutritional school lunches your kids will actually eat. There are small wins along the way, but the ultimate payoff comes after years of tweaking and improving as you go.

As you view your overall website success metrics, keep an eye on the data for your pages, too. Notice which pages hold viewers’ attention longer and which have high bounce rates. Pages with high bounce rates are turning viewers off, so you’ll need to explore which parts of the page (content, design, functionality, etc.) aren’t working for your customers.

Play “what if” with A/B testing

Creating two versions of the same page is a great way to find out what your target audience likes about your content and what they don’t. This works exceptionally well for landing pages for specific content marketing campaigns. 

Design two landing page versions based on the content theory you want to test. For example, in one version (A), keep the content lighter and punchier. In the other (B), you might try heavier, more in-depth content.

Send A to half of your email list and B to the other. You can also set up your Google ads to send half of your clicks to A and the other half to B. Then, follow the metrics to discover the content that encourages more viewers to convert to sales or signups.

Keep your content fresh

Don’t let your content go stale! You should conduct a content audit regularly (once a quarter would be ideal) to see which pieces of content are performing well and which need a bit of spice to perform better.

Always ensure your links are working and the data in your content is current. And remember: your popular content is an excellent source of inspiration for future content. So feel free to repurpose or repackage content that’s performing well and is popular with your audience.

A shortcut to fabulous website content

Website content is much more than the words on the website. Your content strategy defines the success of your website and the level of connection you make with your audience. 

Writing website content from scratch can sometimes feel overwhelming and frustratingly slow. But Content Goodies can help you speed up the process with our Website Copywriting Accelerator Pack.

In this bundle, you’ll get the actual templates used by our professional copywriters at The Content Lab. Each template includes detailed descriptions of the content you should have on each web page and in every section of that page. The descriptions are specific and clear, inspiring you to write your way to copywriting magic in no time.

Download the Website Copywriting Accelerator Pack for a leaner, smarter way to create fantastic content in a snap.

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