Web Site Content, What to Include
It surprises me how often I hear it. Someone has decided to get themselves a web site, whether its for business or personal, and they say but what should I put on it? Put on it whatever you want to, I think to myself outwardly I try to be a little more helpful! It is an interesting thing, though, because the moment you try to reply you find yourself fumbling: Umm, I dunno.. maybe you could I thought Id try a semi-formal approach that can help to define content for starting a site.
Information is the key. A website is to inform. When it comes to effectively informing somebody about something there is a tried and true formula: Who? What? When? Where? Why? The five Ws. This old formula will work just as well for a website as it does for anything else. Lets take a closer look as we compare the application of this thought process thats really what this formula is all about to the website for a small business and to a family website.
Who? When it comes to the family site theres not much doubt as to the answer! We do need some clarification though. For example, in my case I might need to explain that my site is about the family of Vince Barnes of Central Florida, not the Vince Barnes of Oshkosh Wisconsin (even though he has a really cool name and lives in a town with one of the coolest names in the US!) For a small business this is a very important matter. Jacks Bits, inc. may be clear enough to somebody in the horse business but could be confusing to a tool and die person or even a computer memory manufacturer. Who we are talking about on this website needs to be explained very clearly, right away. We now have start of the content for the first page.
What? A small business offers products, services or both. We need to tell our visitor what we have. From Goldfish and other snacks to rocket fuel to accounting, what we have to offer must be clearly explained next. If our visitor is looking for bar snacks, they dont need to hang around if our goldfish are the kind you put in water. On the family page, what do we have to offer? Do we have a family tree that goes back to Adam? Are there photos of that episode up at the lake? (I do hope so!) Can we take a look at Ted and Alices new baby? You get the idea. Our business site will likely involve more What? than everything else combined. It is critically important that our potential customers fully understand our products and services. For our family site, dont forget what are our plans? Some form of calendar of events can be very useful in deterring Aunt Mabel from one of her surprise visits.
When? When can we deliver your rocket fuel? When is our new book coming out? When are we open? When will we see the results? Business runs by the clock and calendar. Explaining all timing options lets our customers know that we can provide that what they need within their schedule.
Where? Geography is important too. If our site is to offer well drilling services our service area is likely to be fairly small if our wells supply houses with water but may be much larger if we drill oil wells. For a retail store or a restaurant its important that potential customers know where the store is and how to get there. Maps are great try using a link to mapquest.com or a similar mapping site. I explained earlier the importance of location in defining which family we are talking about on our family site. There can also be a down side. It is probably not a good idea to have your website say that you live at 123 4th street and youll be on vacation in Aruba for the first two weeks in September. You may not have much furniture on your return!
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