If you want to create a successful website for your business — from start to finish — producing high-quality, lead-generating content is necessary. However, many company websites lack an essential element, hindering lead generation: Consistency. Without uniformity in copy, your website could confuse readers and dissuade prospects from converting into leads.
A study conducted and published by a content software company revealed some enlightening results. The study measured the consistency and quality of businesses’ website content — which includes style, tone and voice — across 170 companies’ individual content pages, analyzing “their blog, about us, news, product, and support content.”
The study reported 81 percent of companies needed to “either improve the quality of their content, ensure that their content is more consistent, or both!” This is not something to take lightly. Different departments, writers and editors producing one website means there can be discrepancy — and a lot of it.
Get Started With These Guidelines
Before beginning your website, consider establishing content guidelines so copywriters, editors, designers and developers have a set of content style rules to follow, helping your website copy look consistent — no matter who modifies it.
Below are some crucial grammatical items/style preferences (with examples) to identify:
- How do you want your company name to appear — in all content?
- If applicable, how should copyright and trademark symbols be handled?
- Should these symbols be used on first mention only, or included every time following the name?
- Does your company defer to a style guide, such as The Associated Press Stylebook or The Chicago Manual of Style? (If not, now is the time to implement one.)
The issues below are where inconsistencies can get really ugly:
- Are numbers written or spelled out?
- Are measurements spelled out or abbreviated?
- Are symbols used or spelled out?
- Are serial commas used?
- She had a pen, paper, and pencil
- She had a pen, paper and pencil
- Are acronyms spelled out on first reference followed by the acronym in parenthesis? Or do acronyms stand alone?
- Straight North specializes in search engine optimization (SEO).
- Straight North specializes in SEO.
- Should hyphens link compound adjectives?
- first-rate company
- first rate company
- Do long dashes receive a space before and after when used in a sentence?
- Straight North — a company specializing in SEO — is based near Chicago.
- Straight North—a company specializing in SEO—is based near Chicago.
- How are names and titles handled? (First and last name on first reference, then first or last name only?)
- Adam Smith is the CEO. Smith’s firm is based in California.
- Adam Smith is the CEO. Adam’s firm is based in California.
- Should bulleted lists have periods after every phrase/sentence?
- How should headlines be formatted?
- What words should be capitalized in main titles?
- What words should remain lowercase in main titles?
- What words should be capitalized in subheads?
- What words should remain lowercase in subheads?
- Tip: Straight North refers to this handy guide for standardizing which words to capitalize for subheads.
By clearly defining these rules and more from the start, you’ll likely save time and boost efficiency for everyone involved in the website creation process. Your team will be on the same page. As a result, your website will be that much more professional and attractive to prospects. By striving to successfully establish consistency with your website’s copy, you could gain a competitive advantage and hopefully attract and retain more leads.