Everybody makes mistakes. "To err is human," after all.
But have you ever looked at a website and been surprised at some of the errors you see?
I've seen some terrible website failures on even the most top-level company websites.
If you open a website and see spelling errors, a bad layout, and a clunky old design that looks older than you are, you immediately form a negative picture of the business.
Don't let a lousy website spoil your image.
I’ll level with you. Although I can hold my own in a conversation about website design, my area of expertise lies in website content. And in my opinion your content says more about you than any other part of your website.
I'm going to run through the seven deadly website content sins, and what you can do to avoid them.
You don't understand the value of quality website content
I can't possibly highlight the importance of your web content enough. Great content is essential to your success.
Google bots need to be fed carefully crafted and informative content to shuttle your website to the top of the search results.
If you’re trying to improve your search engine optimization (SEO), your content should be a priority. Not only does great content keep Google happy, but it also helps you build a solid reputation as an expert in your field.
So how do you avoid content sins? These are absolute no-no’s:
Your website and your clients deserve better.
When your website boasts phenomenal content, it impresses your readers so that they want more. They want to work with you, try your services, and buy your products.
2. You play it safe
Not only is it in human nature to make mistakes, but we also feel safer when we follow the crowd.
Are you afraid of being different?
Think about how many healthcare companies there are that do exactly the same thing as you do.
How many doctors are competing for your patients? How many health services can people choose from? How many nutritional supplements are on the market?
You need to see the bigger picture. You need to think about what it is that makes you different.
Sure, you might be taking a risk by standing out, but by following the well-trodden path of those who went before you, you’re not likely to get you the outstanding results you want.
Take a look at even some of the most well-known healthcare provider websites. I can tell you now that no matter which ones you choose, they all look pretty similar. Yes, that’s safe, and you might think it’s a formula that’s working, but it's also rather run-of-the-mill.
You need to be memorable. To win loyal clientele, you need to be distinctive. Your brand needs to stick in people's minds, so they think of you first.
What makes you special? Bring your personality to your website. Why do people want to choose you? You tell me! And make it clear on your website.
3. You don’t think about your clients first
I’ve worked with some incredible doctors and specialists over the years. They are indisputable experts in their field This is, of course, fantastic news for their patients. However, it can be all too easy for people who are incredibly well-versed in a subject to forget that not everyone else is.
Think about your target audience and who your readers are. When you create your website, always keep them in mind. After all, they are the ones who need your services.
Try to avoid industry jargon and complicated medical terms, unless you are confident that your average reader can understand them.
Use “the grandma test.” As Albert Einstein said – if you can’t explain it simple enough for your grandmother to understand it, you don’t understand it well enough.
I’m confident that as healthcare professionals you certainly understand the subject matter but aim for clarity and simplicity when you write.
Talk to your readers on their level.
If in doubt, think of different terminology. You need to speak your clients' language. You might feel that it is impressive and displays your expertise, but complicated jargon can confuse and bore clients or even turn them off.
4. You forget to offer value
When you know your audience, you also understand what they're looking for and need.
What's valuable to them?
One of the number-one rules of copywriting is to demonstrate the benefits of your product or service, not the features.
Most people don't want to know crazy in-depth details about your services or be bored senseless listening to how great you think they are.
Another facet of human nature is that most of us want to know just one thing.
“What's in it for me”?
Of course, people want to know that you stand behind your services. What people really need to understand is how it benefits them.
For example, how do you feel if I tell you that
“I'm a freelance writer and I provide writing services for my clients”?
Okay, you think, that's interesting enough. And that’s probably the sum total of your thoughts, as your mind drifts off elsewhere.
Now. What about:
“Do you want to save time and work less? I'm a freelance medical writer. With my services, I can help you increase your revenue, gain your readers' trust, and help you excel as an expert in your field.”
Which of the above sparked your interest more?
Everyone likes to save time and earn more money, although not everyone thinks they need writing services.
Always highlight what's in it for your readers.
Avoid “I’m Doctor Jones. I’m a highly qualified physician. I offer healthcare services for patients in the Greenbury area”.
It’s Okay, but that’s about it. Unless you live somewhere pretty remote, there’s a ton of other doc’s that can do the same thing.
Instead think something along the lines of:
“Are you finding it difficult to get out of bed in the mornings? Is arthritis pain stopping you from living your best life? With my tailored supplement plan, I can help you put the pain behind you. I’m Doctor Jones, your highly qualified physician. I offer specialized healthcare services to people struggling with pain”.
The overarching message I want to get across to you is that when you highlight benefits, people can see HOW you can help them. And THIS is what building relationships is all about. When you make what you do about solving the clients problems and helping them, it makes them feel that they are important to you and they would genuinely benefit form your services.
5. You don't sound like a human being
People love to connect with others and feel they are understood. You need to think about making a connection as you create your web content.
An impersonal "About Us" page that drones on about company history or simply reiterates your four-page resume is not forming a connection in your readers' minds.
Of course, people need to know about your accomplishments, and what makes you the professional you are all, but you also want them to like you.
Have a conversation. Let people see the real you.
et your readers know that you love dogs or enjoy sailing. Be careful with too much information though remember that clarity is still key. Maybe skip the part about enjoying long moonlit walks on the beach.
A great way to inject some of your personality is to outline an appropriate (note the word appropriate!) anecdote about your life, that also combines information about your relevant qualifications.
For example, “My love of rock climbing began during my time at Oxford University, gaining my PhD.” Or “my passion for Indian food developed during my year of voluntary work with Doctors without Borders.”
Tell a good story. Facts tell, stories sell. Combine the two and sell yourself to your readers.
6. You overuse keywords
One of my first clients as a freelance medical writer was an agency in Florida that catered for cosmetic surgeons. This was a long time ago, so I didn’t know any better. And at the time this was fairly standard protocol.
For each assignment I was given a crib sheet to work from, that contained a list of keywords. As part of the assignment brief, I had to fit every keyword in the required article at the density required.
Now in case you don’t know, in basic terms, a keyword phrase or keyword are the words that people are typing into search engines to find what they are looking for.
You should aim to use keywords naturally and avoid what’s called “keyword stuffing.” This is one of the tactics that people used to employ, before it became a major no-no.
I can remember spending hours struggling to fit the words “Tampa plastic surgeon” 20 times into a 600-word article and still make it sound natural.
Let me tell you, it just isn’t possible!
Your content won’t sound natural. As soon as you notice the first rather awkwardly fitting keyword, the rest become blatantly obvious, scattered throughout the content.
At best this makes you look unprofessional and at worse this outdated practice can damage your hard-earned SEO efforts. Google penalizes keyword stuffing, so rather from helping your website it will push you further down the results.
Google is incredibly intelligent. It values high quality, original content that contains one or two choice keywords far above a jerky unnatural keyword stuffed disaster of an article.
If you are unsure how to find out what keywords you should use, and how many, I suggest paying a visit to Neil Patel’s website. This guy is an SEO genius and has some amazing resources that can help even the most SEO terrified beginner.
7. You don’t have a call to action
Your content should build a connection with your readers. If people are impressed with your content, and they feel a rapport, you’ll soon find that people want to take the next step. They’ll want to contact you.
There are so many healthcare businesses that seem to forget this part of the process. They become bogged down in the process of extolling their virtues and forget the all-important call to action or CTA.
You need to make it easy for your readers to engage with you. Every piece of content that you have on your website is an opportunity to connect.
Although you might not be fully engaged in social media, you still want to make sure that there are multiple ways that your prospective clients can contact you easily.
A call to action is simply that. It’s where you ask the client to take action and contact you.
There are many ways that you can do this, including:
The most important thing is that when your clients want to reach you they can!
The take-home message is this.
Make sure your website is the best reflection of you. You're a professional, but you're also a real person that cares about the readers.
Make a connection, bring value, and don't be afraid to outshine the competition.