These 3 Mistakes Are Killing Your Website Content


“We don’t know what to do. Our SEO is attracting website traffic, but it’s just not translating into new business.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from savvy marketers who are at the end of their rope. For the key to this mystery, let’s turn the tables for just a sec.

I’d be willing to bet that at some point in your life, you’ve gone to the Web looking for a specific product or service, right? You type in your search, hit the Enter key, and review the options that popped up. Then …

Website Content

  • You click on the first link, and the page is crammed with jargon and acronyms you’ve never heard of. Next!
  • You click on the second link to find five dense paragraphs of text. Who has time for that? Next!
  • You click on the third link to find a page that was clearly written by someone who understands who you are, what you need, and how they can help. Bingo!

So, what was it that turned you off to Contestants Number 1 and 2? Their content.

And you wouldn’t be alone. The biggest reason why people click away from websites has nothing to do with the design, the colors, or the font. It’s the content.

How did we get here? Why is the Web crammed with sites whose content amounts to industrial-grade visitor repellant?

The full list of reasons could fill a book, but here are the three biggies:

They dumped their brochure content into their websites.

I honestly think an angel dies every time a marketer says “Website content? Nah, we’re good. We’ll just copy-paste what we’ve got in the brochure.”

But here’s the deal: Your website is NOT an online brochure. It’s a customer experience, and if you don’t treat it like one, users will bounce away as soon as they arrive.

Believe it or not, reading online content is a different experience from reading print content. Online audiences scan before they read, and the same dense paragraphs that work just fine in your brochure will amount to reader kryptonite online.

How to avoid this pitfall:

  • If you must use your brochure as a guide, break the content up into bite-size pieces, and condense, condense, condense.
  • Break up longer content by including subheads after every two paragraphs.
  • Incorporate bullet lists wherever possible.

They overload visitors with information.

Website Content

“Well, we do a lot of things, and we need to make sure visitors know about everything we do.” When this is the marketer’s battle cry, the result is usually a bloated, unwieldy site that makes you look like the proverbial jack-of-all-trades … and master of none.

The goal here is not to make sure every visitor knows about everything you do. The goal is to make each visitor knows you can solve his or her specific problem.

How to avoid this pitfall:

  • Instead of organizing and writing your site around the products or services you offer, start by thinking about the problems you solve for your audiences — then you can build in lists of products and/or services (for SEO purposes) as a secondary point.
  • Believe it or not, every conceivable service you provide does not have to be included on your website. Focus on your core deliverables. Once customers trust you to deliver those, inquiries about related services will naturally emerge.

They wrote it for themselves.

I find this issue comes up often in the healthcare industry. Doctors and other healthcare providers are quite passionate about their techniques, and understandably so. When they try to translate that passion into website content, the result can be a cacophony of terminology that only a med school student could understand. You can also apply this to the construction industry, which tends to be very exclusive in that only the well-educated really understand things like how to do a construction takeoff or how to read blueprints.

Of course, this problem isn’t limited to chiropractors and hospitals. The more specialized expertise your industry requires, the greater the danger of alienating your audience.

How to avoid this pitfall:

  • Speak your customers’ language. For example, many doctors speak in terms of “presentation,” while patients think in terms of “symptoms.”
  • If your site needs to contain content for peers as well as for potential customers, give each audience its own section of the site and create your content accordingly.
  • Before you launch your new content, ask for feedback from friends and acquaintances who represent your target audience. I’ll never forget the marketer who once said, “If my mama can’t understand it, it doesn’t belong on my website.”