One of the biggest problems faced by people setting up their first (or additional) website is what to write for their website.  This can be so over-whelming for some that they don’t end up writing anything at all.  To help reduce your stress and make sure you you don’t create an ineffective website by leaving out some piece of vital information,  I have broken it down to the basic "Must Have" content.  So basic that I’m taking you all the way back to grade school where, I’m sure, you learned about the Five W’s.

The Five W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why (and How)

Who: Who are you.  This can be your name or your Company name.  Its as simple as that.  Don’t forget to include this in your text– even if you have a logo graphic that displays your company name, always include it in your page text somewhere.  Do not overuse the word "we." "We" is not a very good search word, but "Your Company Name" is.

What: What your company does.  Describe your primary products and or services.  Write descriptions for each product in detail and then write up a summary of those descriptions.  Try writing it up in bullet list format as well.  You may need a different format of these for different pages on your site.  For instance, a bullet list on the home page and then the detailed descriptions on a "Services" or "Products" page.

Where: Where you are located or what areas you service.  This is especially important if you want LOCALIZED visitors.  Not only do you want your local target audience to easily recognize your location from your website, but including text that actually says a location, address, or service areas gives you more chance to be located by search engine users looking for your service in their town (or keeps unqualified prospects from calling you unnecessarily when you do NOT service their area).  Indicating an address also instills trust. Even if you service customers nationally or internationally, when visitors see a real address, they are put more at ease.  Without an address, some visitors may fear you are a fly-by-night operation.

When: When are your business hours, if you have a storefront or When are you available if you offer time-specific services like “Pet Sitting."  Web sites work 24 hours a day, but you may not.  Of course, anytime you can give them a 24 hour a day option of contacting you, like a contact form or email address, provide it.

Why: Why the visitor should choose you over your competitors or alternate options.  Provide some form of credential or social proof that will give your visitors a reason to take the next step (like call you).  Good examples are testimonials, case studies, examples of work you’ve done for past clients, educational articles which help show your expertise in your field, etc.  You do not have to include all of these examples, just pick one to start.

+How: How to contact you or enlist your services!!  This is a biggie.  You’d be surprised how often this information is forgotten or just plain hard to find.  Put this information in an excessively easy place to find.  Put it on every page if you can.  Make it easy for your visitors to take the next step to buying from you or hiring you.

Well, that’s the basics.  If you are running a business, you must cover these six areas somewhere on your website.  So just sit down with this list, make an outline, and write it up.  It does not have to be perfect the first time, but get a first draft down that includes JUST these basics.  Once you have the basics down on paper, you can decide where you are going to place the information on your site.  This may even help you decide the navigation you need.  After the first draft, you can decide where you might expand your site- but don’t get ahead of yourself yet. 

Start writing!