Table Of Contents

A Website Designer’s Client Content Guide

Category: Agency Life

If you build websites for clients, content has to be one of the biggest challenges to finish the build. Most business owners have never read backlinko, AH Refs, or SEM Rush to learn the ins and outs of creating content that is compelling, builds trust, and ranks on the Search Engine.

It is your job to educate the client that the content generation is a long and labor intensive task. On top of that, the content has to be structured properly and SEO optimized! In this post, I will share parts of my client content guide that I give to clients to help try and make the content creation process as smooth and easy for them as possible.

What makes website content and copy compelling and high converting

Content on your website is defined as all of the informational material the user interacts with. Content on a website includes the following:

  • text (copy)
  • images
  • videos
  • infographics
  • charts
  • tables
  • visuals and artwork
  • pod casts
  • audio
  • vendor iframes

Most businesses looking to build a new website will most likely stick to adding text, images, and video to their webpages.

That means it is your job to explain how many words, images, and videos the client should provide to you for each page.

My Client Wants To Write Their Own Copy

I have worked with clients who want to write their own website content and client who prefer that work be done by someone else. If your client wants to write their own copy, you have to help guide them on what to write about and how to word it.

Most of the time, clients will write overly “salesy” copy for their service pages. I tell my clients to leave the sales copy for the homepage, call to action sections, and contact us form sections.

The copy on service pages should tell prospective clients:

  1. Why they need the service
  2. What the service is
  3. How the process works
  4. And touch on frequently asked questions about the service

I think content that explains why the buyer should purchase the service is more important than trying to sale the service using overly sales oriented copy any wording.

How much work is it to write website copy?

If you are building a 5 page brochure style website, you should probably target between 5,000 and 10,000 words of copy and around 25-35 images to build the website.

If your client is going to write 5,000 words of content, you have just assigned them a 15 page research paper. Most business owners are not expecting to have to sit down and write that much content when they decide to build a new website. It’s your job to educate them about how much work its going to be.

Skilled SEO content writers can crank out 1,500 words in three or four hours. So Your client is probably going to take a bit more time that that.

You will not avoid rewriting and adding to the content. Remember, you still have a website project to finish and you may have to spend some time editing the client’s copy and doing your on-page SEO checks and updates.

Why does educating your clients about website copy matter?

If you just landed a new web design client, congratulations! Now, where is the website copy? 99 times out of 100, it does not exist.

When you are on your discovery calls with the client, you need to always touch on website content and explain how much work it really is. They should not be surprised when you come calling for the content.

In my experience building websites for service based businesses, content is always the one part of the project that seems to take longer to finish that any other part of the website build.

Even when the client contracts me to write content for them, there are always revisions that cause the project to run longer than I anticipated. Remember, no one knows the client’s business better than they do, and they don’t want to see half truths on their website.

So, always be discussing content with the client and at least try to get them to understand the amount of work it takes to complete the content creation part of the project.

Set your client up for success when they write their own content

Your client will not know what a hero section, call to action section, or product/service description sections are.

What I do is create a content guide that I give to my clients that detail what each section is. In the content guide, I step through each section of a website to show them what should and should not be included in each general section.

Below are examples for each of the content sections I like to include on my single product or service pages. Of course you can fancy these blocks up with sliders, carousels, or any other cool design. The point here is that each one of these sections serves a purpose and you need to educate the client on how best to write the copy for each section.

The Hero Section

The hero section is the very first section you see on any webpage. The hero section is the main focal point of the webpage and is used to showcase what the web page is all about.

A good hero section will:

  1. highlight key content about the page
  2. create a lasting first impression with the visitor
  3. create a strong impact on the visitor, compelling them to continue reading down the page
  4. include a call to action like a contact form, buy now, or click to call button

The hero section should include an eye-catching image, or even better, a short video talking about the product or service the page is promoting. It should also say exactly what the page is about so that there is not doubt it the reader’s mind what the page is about. As mentioned above, its a good practice to include a call to action.

You do want to avoid overly wordy text in the hero section. Most readers skim the website anyways and only pay attention to bits an pieces they feel compelled to read.

You also want to avoid light colored text on light colored background. so don’t use white text over a yellow background. Not only is it hard for users to read, but it also fails accessibility guidelines for color contrast.

Product and service description sections

When building the home page or archive pages, I like to start my product and service sections off with a list of cards that link to each an every service the business offers. This gives the user the option to continue reading down the page, or dive down deeping into a more specific single product or service.

For example, if you are building a site for a roofing and siding contractor, the reader may be interested in a specific service like vinyl siding. Having the service cards available will help direct the user to the proper landing page where they will read on about your client’s specific service offerings.

After the product cards, I like to build longer form sections for each product or service. So for every service/product card, there will be a corresponding longer form block that provides more detail about that service. This block will link to the same landing page as the card.

These longer form sections will typically include:

  • an image that represents the service
  • a block of text usually around 30-50 words talking about the service
  • a link to the service page
  • a link to a contact form or some other call to action button

When it comes to the client and filling in these sections, your goal is to provide an easy framework where the client can input relevant information about the service. If they have a nice canvas to write about their services, they will usually create pretty good copy that you can SEO optimize for their target keyword.

Call to action sections

Most call to action sections will include an image, some text prompting the user to do what you consider a conversion, and a button to complete that conversion.

Call to action sections should be short and sweet. If your conversion goal is a newsletter signup, tell the reader why they should sign up. Briefly talk about all the great info that comes in your newsletter.

If you want the reader to click to call the client’s office, make the button large and include the business phone number. Maybe have some text talking about how the staff will be available to immediately answer the call.

Long form content sections

I always like to include one section that can store a lot of text. Maybe around 300 or 400 words. Some clients are passionate about their service offerings and can hammer out a lot of great content that will help the readers better understand whey they are selling.

In this section, I usually don’t include an image because the goal is to provide helpful content to the reader.

Make sure to review any content your client created and try to add the appropriate H2 and H3 (and maybe even H4) heading levels. This is your opportunity to tweak the keywords for the H2 and H3 headings to target specific keywords.

Afterall, every client I have every worked with is interested in leads and sales. It’s your job to set up the page for success on the search engine.

Gallery Section

Every business will have plenty of photos of their work or product. I always build some sort of gallery or showcase section to highlight what the business does best. Almost all major website building tools have some sort of gallery widget. Or if you want to only highlight a few services, a nice three or four image block will help show the client what they can expect in terms of quality and design.

Frequently asked question or FAQs section

Every client will have a good memory of typical questions their customers will ask when on a sales call or consultation. You should have a quick 5 minute meeting or email thread that goes over typical questions and answers for the client’s particular service or product.

Bonus points if you use a technology like Meta Box to create dynamic custom fields for this information. That way you can set up an easy way for client’s to add to the FAQs without letting them touch the the website itself.

Conclusion section

Conclusion sections are not just for blog posts. You can include a conclusion to a service page too. I think this section is optional, but if you have a visitor that is really doing their homework, why not wrap up the page with a conclusion that really prompts them to fill out a contact form, schedule an estimate, or call the client’s office.

Final Thoughts

Publishing the website’s content is always the hardest part of every new site build. Designing templates, writing some CSS, and creating new sections is the fun part for us web devs. Optimizing images, reviewing content, and publishing the content is the labor intensive part. But, its the most important part to the client. They care about the photos/artwork on their site and what the words say. They don’t care about this cool JavaScript snippet you wrote or how seamless some animation is.

So, prioritize educating your clients about the website’s content early in your discovery calls and throughout the build process. Start working on your own content writing guide that you can hand off to client’s that want to write their own content. When the time comes, that guide will really help speed up the content publishing process.

Content is King and content creation is demanding work.