7 Reasons Why Your Website Content Sucks (And What To Do About It)!
People hate ads.
In fact, we hate them so much that we learned to successfully ignore anything that is ‘Me Me Me” related.
Well, unless it’s a really funny commercial – then maybe we’ll share it with our Facebook friends.
But we don’t buy from brands that bend over backward to showcase how cool they are; instead, we trust those that believe WE are cool and help us become even cooler.
This is why the content you put on your own website or distribute elsewhere on your behalf is so important: it gives people answers to their questions and provides an insight into who you are as a company.
But what if your efforts do not bring the desired results?
What if you try and try, but folks are still not in a hurry to like, share, or comment your content?
In this post, I’m going to tell you about reasons why your content doesn’t work. You’ll also learn what to do in order to fix it.
Why Your Website Content Sucks!
1. You & Your Readers Speak Different Languages
There’s nothing more disappointing for a writer than creating a piece of content that exhausts the readers. There’s nothing more disappointing for a reader than finding a good article and not being able to grab its meaning.
This happens when content creators do not do their homework and produce content for the sake of producing content. But did you study your audience beforehand?
Who are you writing for? Yes, you can operate all those fancy industry words, but are you sure they mean at least something for your readers?
Or, maybe your content is a little 101-level for CEOs, top managers, and other decision-makers you target?
This is probably the most trivial piece of advice that you’ll ever get, but it is worth being mentioned again: know your audience. And write for them, not for yourself.
Adopt your readers’ tone and voice. Literally.
Spend some time on thematic forums, blogs, Facebook groups, and other places where your potential readers hang out.
Study the way they communicate, note the exact words and phrases they use. Then try to embed those expressions in your writing.
For more details on how to do it, read this article on Kissmetrics.
2. Your Content Is Boring As Hell
“It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring” – Marilyn Monroe
Boy, was she right!
Boring content is like lean soup – nobody wants it. Tasteless and forgettable, it rarely stands the test of time and does a lousy job helping you to promote your brand.
Therefore, it sucks.
Website copy should not sound as an encyclopedia, your PhD dissertation, or a computer manual. Neither is it a textbook where you have to stick to the rules and do things right.
Therefore, give yourself some freedom to create and remember that content that works never ever leaves customers feeling neutral about it.
- Use parentheses (then your remarks that break the natural flow of the sentence will look natural, not tiring)
- Joke. Giving your readers a good laugh (or at least making them smile) is a surefire way to beat boredom.
- Tell stories. It just works, believe me.
- Write short sentences. They are easy to digest.
- 1-sentence paragraphs rock.
- Forget about commas (or try to use them only if necessary). Instead, break down your long sentence into a couple of short ones separated by full stops.
- Use “you”. A lot.
- Use power words
3. Your Copy Is Too Artsy
This is what happens when you discover your content puts people to sleep and decide to “spice it up” a little.
Before it was simply boring; now it’s a 5-page-long literary masterpiece good enough to be awarded the “Revelation of the year” prize.
Unfortunately, you’re doing yourself a disservice either way.
Why? Because writing for the web has very little to do with literary writing.
People visit your website to find answers to their questions, not to participate in a literary evening or stand-up comedy show. Therefore, it is better to keep flowery language for books, novels, and poems.
Please don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to imply that any kind of creativity is bad when it comes to content writing.
What I mean is that being too verbose or even creatively weird is not the best way to get your message across.
Your readers will definitely notice the style, the word choice, the characters, but will not remember what exactly it is you were trying to say.
Let your customers be lazy and make it easy to absorb the content.
Compelling writing is clear, concise, and to the point. Therefore, write as if you’re talking to a friend and do not try to complicate your story with the overabundance of adjectives and adverbs.
Lastly, remember what Jack Kerouac once said:
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
4. Your Content Is Not Personalized
According to the recent study by Infosys, 59% of shoppers admit that personalization influences their buying decisions.
So, if you’re still creating generic content that works “just for everybody”, it’s probably time to stop.
After all, your visitors are simply humans (just like you). And they want to be treated like ones.
Speaking to thousands of people at the same time will never be as effective as inviting a person to a one-on-one conversation and talking about his/her specific problems.
Content that is not personalized is characterless, dull, and expresses negligence towards readers. Just like millions of other pieces of content you can find online.
So why would your readers care?
- Don’t post under “Blog admin” name. Let your readers know there’s a real person behind this website/blog they’re reading.
- Don’t ignore comments. Engage in discussions, respond to comments even to say “Thank you”.
- Whenever possible, call the reader by name. Be it comments, emails, or welcome pages, show that you actually know who you’re talking to.
- Go mobile friendly for people who are constantly on the go and prefer smartphones over desktops.
5. Your Content Is Overly Promotional
Have you ever stood in front of the crowd shouting “That’s me! Look how cool I am!” No?
Right. That would be a really weird thing to do.
What about your content? Are you sure the self-promotion you were carefully trying to cloak is not peeking through?
Because if it is, you actually ARE that poor soul standing in front of the crowd crying out loud to get noticed.
People on the receiving end don’t like reading about how much you rock all the time.
What they like is relevant content that would help them solve their problems, preferably right now.
So make sure to give them what they want.
Telling about successful projects you’ve completed, new features you’ve released, and charity evenings you’ve organized is definitely great.
But if every piece of content on your website, blog, or Facebook page is about you, you’re heading nowhere.
See what people are curious about and produce actionable, engaging content that they actually expect to receive.
- Study comments under your posts and see if there are any unanswered questions.
- Create surveys or polls and invite your readers to talk about their problems and topics of interest
- Use Quora and Reddit to find fresh content ideas
6. Poor Formatting
Take a look at this:
How many sentences did you actually read? I stopped at “seven years ago”. And that’s what your readers will probably do too.
Andes and associates called this type of formatting “ugly”, and they were completely right.
You may be producing the most magnificent, the most engaging content ever, but who will read it if it is just an endless block of plain text?
- Break the text into paragraphs and keep them brief.
- Use bulleted lists, headings, and subheadings
- The more white space, the better
- Stay away from decorative fonts. Sans-serif is your friend.
- Large font size is better than tiny letters.
7. Your Content Is Not Optimized for Search Engines
Once upon a time, there was a nice little website with awesome content to offer the world. But nobody knew about it because its marketers ignored SEO.
Indeed, If you fail to follow certain rules and your website content sucks, you risk losing all the traffic that comes from search (and that can be thousands of people daily).
Do you want that?
If not, it is important to try to please not only your readers but Google as well.
- Select the right keyword. It would take me another article to properly explain how to do it, so please enjoy this epic Seo Nick’s guide on keyword research.
- When writing your copy, use this keyword in context several times (ideal keyword density is 1-3%). Include it in the first paragraph, one of the headings, the title of your content.
- Include a keyword in your page URL and remember to make it as short as possible.
- Include a keyword in your meta tags.
- Aim at no less than 500 words.
- Link to trustworthy sources and authoritative websites in your niche.
So, here you have your tips on how to create better content.
In fact, if I were to give you only one piece of advice, I’d say that great copy performs two basic functions:
- It stuns, delights, and astonishes
- It provides value, helps
Keeping those two things in mind will help you craft the most compelling piece that will gain the traction it deserves.
What else can you recommend? What mistakes have you been making? Let me know in the comments!
This article on why your website content sucks was provided by Jenna Brandon. Jenna is a blogger, content creator, and digital marketer at Writology.com. When she’s not busy writing or studying the latest marketing trends, she cooks pizza or goes hiking with her friends. Jenna is also an avid traveler, and she is secretly Italian at heart.