When building a new website for your business – or optimising an existing site – there are three main elements to consider:
For many business owners, it can be tempting to tackle these elements separately, one at a time. Particularly, if time is limited or budgets are constrained. However, in reality, businesses are much better off tackling all three – together – in the beginning, as a cohesive strategy.
Doing so will actually save you time and money in the long run.
So firstly, we need to understand a little about SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Getting your website ranking well on Google will clearly bring you in more traffic – and hopefully customers or clients. And it’s well proven that businesses who do rank well end up scoring the sales. However, many business owners just don’t understand the fundamental principles of SEO.
It’s basically made up of:
- Keyword research
- Design & Technical Optimisation
- SEO Website Copywriting
- Ongoing Quality Content
Often, business owners tend to skip the SEO bit, until they are a little further down the track with their business. It’s more of an afterthought, rather than a foundational strategy. And yet, when we build a website and write copy for a website – we’re actually laying the foundations for SEO success.
Or, we’re not. And yet we should be.
In my mind, I’d much prefer to do something once.
So, it makes sense to me that you would build your website to be SEO-friendly and write SEO-friendly copy, from the very beginning. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time and effort designing a website – and a lot of time and effort writing copy – that will just need to be done again (or at least altered) somewhere down the track.
That can be really frustrating, right?
That’s why I always advise clients to think about SEO upfront, and to tackle the first three elements of SEO while building a website, refreshing a website – or even if they want to tackle their copywriting.
Which brings us to this next part.
A good website needs DESIGN + COPY
As a Copywriter, I find it really difficult to separate copy and design – because they truly work together. Which is why I tend to do things a little differently, by presenting the copy I write in a mocked-up website, with design and layout suggestions incorporated (via a drafting tool – not by building an actual site – although I do build websites too!).
I do believe too, that copywriting should come first – before design, because otherwise, you’re trying to fit words into existing page templates that may not work – and it can be too tempting to try and chop and change the copy to physically fit, and thereby potentially destroying or diluting the message.
Communicating your message and connecting with your customers is imperative to the success of your website – and therefore your business, so pretty much everything should centre around that. But it’s pretty tricky to lay out the pages on a website, without having the copy, and likewise, it’s fairly useless to write great copy – if it’s not displayed nicely on a professional-looking website.
A good website really does need both.
It’s also wise to note that many business owners neglect the need for quality copywriting on their website. Good copy is not about whacking up a mundane description of what you do. Good copy is written strategically and for the needs of your customers. And it’s the number one thing that will encourage conversions, sales or enquiries.
The high-converting, high-traffic website
Now, that we know that a website must have both a solid DESIGN plus solid COPY – it’s time to add in the SEO part.
Now, if you refer to our SEO elements list earlier in the article, you’ll know that two major ranking factors include:
- Your design
- Your copywriting
Therefore, when putting together a website, as we’ve mentioned, we might as well optimise our design and our copywriting in the beginning to take advantage of SEO best practice, because this can form the foundations of your subsequent longer-term SEO strategy.
Most good web developers these days will automatically build and design your website utilising SEO best practice anyway, and if you’re doing it yourself with a decent pre-built template on Shopify, BigCommerce or WordPress (using say Divi or Avada templates etc.) – there’s a great chance they too, will already be somewhat optimised from a technical perspective.
That’s a good start – although you may need further technical expertise later on to improve things further.
Then in terms of copywriting – you’ll be needing some SEO Website Copywriting. This is where you write your website copy to engage, connect with and convert your traffic into customers or clients AND help your website to be as SEO-friendly as possible. Again, if you’re going to the effort of hiring a copywriter to increase your conversions and keep your customers happy, you may as well make sure that they know how to make it SEO-friendly too.
But, we are still missing the crucial first step that will allow us to optimise our website for SEO…
This is basically where you use a keyword analytics tool to find the best keywords and phrases that you might want to rank for – based on the amount of traffic that keyword or phrase gets vs how difficult it is to rank for. It’s important to get this step done properly – as it forms the foundation of your SEO strategy, and it’s really pretty tricky to optimise a site if you don’t know what words or phrases you need to target.
Keyword research is the thing that determines certain technical elements within your website, such as your metadata, along with how you optimise your copywriting (and no – it’s not as simple as plugging in as many keywords as possible into your page content!). All good SEO strategies should start with professional keyword research.
As a general rule – when you’re starting out, you’ll want to be targeting keywords and phrases that are quite easy to rank for – while you build your websites authority, then, as you progress, you can aim for some of the more difficult, and higher-volume terms.
Keyword research is also a really inexpensive and easy thing to get a professional to do for you. Much of the time, it can be done for a service-based website, for between $300 – $500, and because there is so much riding on it – it’s such a worthwhile element to add in.
The ultimate approach to creating successful websites
Hopefully, you’re starting to see how SEO, design and copywriting are all interlinked.
In order to set your business up with the best possible website foundations you can – here is the process I suggest:
- Start with keyword research
- Move on to SEO copywriting
- End with a brilliant design.
That way – you’re setting yourself and your business up for success from the very beginning, or at least – from the beginning of any website review and refresh(!) without the need to do anything twice, and you’re literally crossing off the first three elements of your SEO strategy – so once your website is up and running, you can then think about tackling your ongoing content strategy and building reputable backlinks.
Now, clearly, ongoing SEO-strategies need a lot of monitoring, reviewing and adjusting over time, so yes, there is a good chance that at some point, you’ll be adjusting your copy or metadata to target different things – or updating your design. Nothing is ever quite set and forget when it comes to digital marketing. However, you’re always going to be in a stronger position tackling these elements holistically and as well as you can from the very beginning, rather than piece by piece.
So, if you’re thinking you need:
- a new website
- to update an older website
- new copy for your website
- or to tackle your SEO…
Or, if your website just doesn’t seem to be working…
Keyword Research + SEO Website Copywriting + Professional & Optimised Design
More Traffic, Customers and Cash.