Six years ago, I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. I learned some people were making a living writing online. It was a new and interesting concept to me. After speaking with a few other freelance writers, I believed I could figure this freelance thing out and eventually start a side gig.
So armed with only the fact that I could write and nothing else, I set off to establish myself as a freelance writer. I considered myself to be a pretty good writer and the feedback I had received from writing various pieces throughout my career supported that thought. According to my research, I just needed to set up a website and get going. How hard could that be? *cackles at my ignorance*
After what felt like months and many tears later, I finally pieced together a website. Looking back now, I can admit that my first website was terrible. I knew nothing about keyword optimization, copywriting, meta data, or writing for the web. After realizing the website was not very good, I took the time to research how I could make it better.
Those mistakes led me to learn a lot about writing for the web. I learned to craft copy that led my readers to take action—subscribing to a newsletter, engaging with a blog post, or making a purchase.
Let’s look at the six mistakes I made and what I learned from them.
Mistake #1 – Lack Of A Content Strategy
I had no clue what I was doing back then. I didn’t understand the necessity of having a strategy to guide the content I created for my audience. It’s so important to make sure your content is cohesive and engaging to attract your target audience.
I now write with the end goal in mind. As you create content ask yourself questions that will move you toward your end goals. What do I want my content to accomplish? How will this content help me increase my brand awareness? How will this content contribute to an increase in newsletter subscriptions? Will this information lead to purchase of my new product?
The answers to these questions will help you create content that is focused and purposeful.
Mistake #2 – No Buyer Persona
In the beginning, I was writing to anyone I thought would want to use my services. As you know, I didn’t have a clear content strategy, so my content (or lack thereof, I’ll get to that in a moment) was all over the place. I haphazardly posted to social media trying to get my voice out there, but not really having anything to say. It was a struggle. When I heard of buyer personas, I thought they were a little silly, if I’m being honest. I mean, come on … how was sitting down and writing out a list of attributes about someone supposed to make my writing better? But the more I saw everyone talking about it and swearing by it, I decided to create a few of my own.
Boy, did it change the way I created content. It changed the way I thought about my topics, the tone I wanted to use, and what I wanted to say. Knowing the struggles your target audience is experiencing will help you create useful content that provides solutions to their challenges.
Thinking of your audience and their needs will help you connect and build a community that trusts you and your authority.
Mistake #3 – Not Having A Blog
I still kick myself over this one — what a missed opportunity to grow a community of like-minded people. Not to mention, I’m a writer, so … yeah. I should showcase my writing, right?
A blog is a great way to build brand awareness, authority, and trust with your audience. It’s a chance to express your opinion and thoughts on certain topics and increase traffic to your website.
This is one mistake I’m still fighting to fix. If you’re reading this, thanks for reading my very first blog post. Hey … I’m still trying to right my wrongs!
If you’re just getting started, I encourage you to start and maintain a blog early on during the building of your business. You’ll thank me later — I hope.
Mistake #4 – No Lead Magnet
You’ve probably figured this one out already. I mean I didn’t have a blog or a detailed buyer persona so I certainly didn’t have a lead magnet. I didn’t realize the importance of creating in-depth useful and valuable content for your readers.
Lead magnets should solve a real-life problem for your readers by giving them a quick win and instant gratification.
They are also a great way to measure success with your marketing goals.
Create a lead magnet that is specific and demonstrates your authority and expertise.
Mistake #5 – No Solid Call To Actions
Now I did have call to actions (CTA) on my website, but let’s be real they were generic. I’m sure they mirrored CTAs I had seen on other websites as I performed my research. I wasn’t sharing my knowledge or experiences — because again, no blog — I was only interested in getting people to purchase my services.
You should certainly offer your readers valuable content that goes beyond you selling to them. You should share tips, knowledge, and your experiences to help them grow in whatever industry you’re in. The CTAs should lead them to take some action.
Do you want them to subscribe to something? Download something? Schedule a consult to learn more about a process? Let them know the exact action you want them to take.
Guide your readers through your website and make the experience pleasant.
Mistake #6 – No Prices Listed On Website
Listing my prices didn’t cross my mind when I created my first website. I didn’t think it was a big deal. I figured if anyone was interested in doing business with me they would simply fill out the contact form, call, or email me.
Turns out I was wrong again. Most people want pricing information. Listing your prices will help your potential client decide if they can afford your services. It’s also a great way to get quality leads. If someone knows your prices upfront and still reach out to you, you have most likely encountered someone serious about purchasing your product or service.
You also gain trust with your clients by being transparent with your prices. Pricing (money) can be a tricky subject just like in our personal lives. The majority of people do not talk about their personal finances and the same can be said about pricing especially in such a competitive market. So if you share your prices online for all to see, your clients feel they can trust you and your brand.
If you’ve recently caught the entrepreneurial bug and are in the beginning stages of creating an online presence, please learn from my mistakes and create strategies that will set you up for success.
Here’s a recap of useful steps to take when creating your website content:
- Create a content strategy that helps you plan, create, and deliver content that is useful and relevant to your readers.
- Create a buyer persona so you will know what topics and solutions to address.
- Establish and maintain a blog to communicate with your readers and showcase your expertise.
- Create a lead magnet that gives your readers a quick win and establishes your brand as a trustworthy expert.
- Develop strong call to actions. Guide your reader’s experience with your brand and content.
- List your prices on your website to help your readers decide if your product or service is right for them.
What mistakes have you made with your website content? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
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