The Importance of Product Descriptions for Online Retailers

The prospect of writing multiple product descriptions for your e-commerce website can seem a daunting task. Can you get away with a few bullet points or is it worth allocating time to showcase each item in your range?

Product Descriptions that Convince Customers to Make a Purchase

When a customer enters a physical store, all senses are employed to hunt down their purchases. They can be attracted by shop displays and fabulous packaging design. They can lift, handle and feel the product. They might be able to try it out, watch a demonstration or try it on.

The shop can control the ambience with carefully positioned lighting, background music and pleasant aromas. These all contribute to an environment that entices buyers.

Online shops have to rely on visual impact. Shoppers are deciding on the purchases based on written product descriptions, small images and customer reviews. Skip on this content and you’ve nothing to convince them to buy. Would you part with your money when all you had seen was a vague image, a product name and price?

Preparing Product Descriptions

Use High -definition Images

A quick snapshot on your phone is not going to cut it. You need a professional photographer with the equipment and aesthetic understanding to showcase your products in the best light. Yes, this comes at a cost, but it will greatly improve your chances of boosting sales, so you’ll get a return on this investment.

Ideally, photograph each product from various angles and if possible, provide a sense of scale. Multiple images help the shopper to understand if the product fits their requirements.

Write Descriptive Copy

When writing product descriptions, put yourself in the customers’ shoes. What would help them to make an informed decision? You need to include features, however, extend this to share the benefits of these features.

Use the terms shoppers are likely to search for in the product title. This helps customers to find what they are looking for. It also helps the search engines to match the page with relevant searches, which will drive more traffic to your pages.

Whilst you want to include keywords, ensure that they occur in the natural flow of the text; the descriptions need to be readable. On this point, use plain English and keep sentences and paragraphs short.

Finally, consider your audience and ensure that the tone of the product descriptions fit the reader and are consistent with your brand.

Include Customer Reviews

Providing reviews from customers who have purchased the product is an asset. Shoppers trust customer reviews and they provide valuable information that influences their decision.

You might sign up to a review platform, such as Feefo or Trustpilot to help keep the reviews on your website current. This does mean that unfavourable reviews will be shown. If you are quick to respond in a polite, problem-solving manner, this need not be detrimental. Many customers will value this transparency and it could help to build trust.

Writing Product Descriptions

I’ve recently started writing product descriptions for a new client. Like most e-commerce businesses, their range evolves, so although they prepared product descriptions when the website was launched, there are inconsistencies. Some items have full descriptions, whilst others have little more than an image. It was time to update their web page content!

As someone new to the product range, they invited me to the office to see a selection of items before I wrote about them. This was a great opportunity to ask questions, look in detail and consider what customers might want to know. You may find that telling someone from outside your industry about your products proves an insightful exercise.

In Summary

High-definition imagery and detailed written descriptions convince customers to make a purchase and also support search engine optimisation. These are essential factors for e-commerce success, so it is worth the time spent on creating them.

Try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and give them the information that convinces them to ‘add to cart’.


Words & Images in Harmony: Interior Design Website Copy

This article explores why website copy is essential if you want your business to be found online. I also share two interior design websites that I have worked on this year.

Interior designers create beautiful spaces that present aspirational lifestyles to homeowners, visitors and employees. They know how to deliver a vision, with impact. They understand how to balance colour, shape, light, space and texture. As such, they can create stunning websites.

The challenge for such a visual profession is that they often want a portfolio website. Full of professional photography, images showcase their talents and distinct style. Words are secondary and, in many cases, designers would love to keep written website content to a minimum.

Website Copy & Search Engine Optimisation

A visual website, with just a few lines of text, is very unlikely to get noticed. If lead generation comes from other marketing strategies, this may not be an issue. However, if you want to be found online, then the web page content has to include text.

When preparing website copy, I see it as a triangle. You have to approach it from three distinct perspectives:

  • Grabbing the interest of your target customers
  • Using words and phrases the search engines will be seeking (keywords and related terms)
  • Effectively communicating your message

When an internet search is made, the search engine bots scan millions of web pages to find a match. This does include tags on images, but the best chance of delivering relevant results comes from the page copy.

With billions of web pages to choose between, competition is high. If the written content on web pages is sparse, it is unlikely to be ranked in the listings. For this reason, 300 words are the absolute minimum that should be included. In SEO terms, that is thin content.

How to Make Website Copy Less like an Essay

If you prefer images to words, this sounds like a lot of text to fit on each page. The trick is to break it up in the following ways:

  • Design the layout of the website to separate chunks of text
  • Include sub-headings through the text
  • Use bullets when listing key points
  • Incorporate testimonials or a mission statement part way through the page

This approach makes it easier for visitors to skim read and navigate quickly to the information that they are seeking.

Examples of Interior Design Website Copy

I have been fortunate to provide website content writing services for two interior designers this year. One is a recently launched business, the other is more established.

Amberley Studio

Amberley Studio is a business in its infancy, but already working on creating interiors for homes, student accommodation and a newly-built apartment block. Owner Alix took on the challenge of building her website, employing a professional photographer to produce the images and asked me to write the copy.

I’ve seen Alix’s home and was excited to play a small part in getting this new enterprise up and running.

Alix was hesitant about including a lot of text, so we built it up by detailing her portfolio case studies. This information outlines her response to a brief. The large images still dominate the page but combined with the written copy, it helps visitors to understand her approach and style.

“I absolutely love it. It amazes me that I can write you some notes and then you spin that into a comprehensive piece of text. You have managed to make the content professional but still sound like me, which is exactly what I was after and I love how you have organised my services.”

– Alix Stoney

Alix plans to add a blog to her website. This will provide another way to add text that ticks the SEO box, whilst providing information of interest to site visitors.

Petina Julius Interiors

As part of a rebranding project, Petina Julius Interiors wanted to upgrade its website. Petina had a strong partnership with a professional photographer, had selected a web designer and asked me to prepare the website copy. I had collaborated with Petina in the past and understood her unique style and focus on biophilic interior design.

“‘It was important for me to get good content together as well as to fit in with the overall look and feel of my new website.  Content writing is not my strong point and enlisting Catherine’s services has certainly taken a load off my shoulders. She captured the essence and natural tone of my personality and interpreted that brilliantly into what I needed. I would highly recommend Catherine’s friendly, helpful service.”

– Petina Julius

Petina recognised the need for pages brimming with imagery and text, yet wanted to retain a sense of harmony and calm. Each page contains a lot of information, yet due to the way the web designer has divided up the page, it is beautiful rather than cluttered or wordy.

Getting the Balance Right

Even with impressive photography, video and graphics, a website still relies on a match between search criteria and page copy to be found and ranked by the search engines. By breaking up the text and getting the balance right, it is possible to include plenty of words without compromising visual impact.


Readability: Writing Accessible Content

Do potential customers understand your business offer?

The first port of call for many prospects is your company website and they are looking for solutions. Your website content plays a vital role in giving prospects insight and answers. This is important, because it enables them to make informed choices.

In this article, I will explain why accessibility is important. I will also help you to assess whether your website content is accessible.

Website Accessibility

We will begin with the word ‘accessibility’. It is widely associated with being able to get into, and move around, physical premises. So, what has this got to do with website content?

To answer that question, here is the dictionary definition of accessibility:

“The quality of being able to be reached and entered, easy to obtain or use and easily understood and appreciated”

In summary, accessibility is about empowering others to get what they need.

A website is more accessible when the content is easy to read and understand. In contrast, complex words, industry terms and acronyms, compromise readability. Rather than enlightening the reader, this  confuses and frustrates them. As a result, they will look elsewhere.

What are the Three Barriers to Readability?

Three reasons why website visitors may struggle to understand your written content are:

  1. Legibility – physically seeing the words on the page

Legibility can be compromised if:

  • The text on the page is too small
  • The contrast between the colour of the text and the background is not strong
  • Text is presented on top of an image
  1. Readability – reducing the complexity of words and sentence structure

Readability can be challenging if:

  • The text includes industry jargon
  • A dictionary is required to understand the meaning of words
  • Sentences are long
  1. Comprehension – understanding what is being said

Comprehension is difficult if:

  • There are no clear answers to common questions
  • Data and features are not supported by applications, case studies or customer reviews
  • Readability is poor

Improving Readability

Are you ready to take action? If so, the following 5 steps will help to improve website content readability:

  • Firstly, explain all technical terms, abbreviations or acronyms
  • Secondly, divide written content into sections with subheadings. (Breaking up the text allows readers to skim to sections of relevance to them)
  • Then, split long sentences
  • Next, replace complex words familiar words
  • Finally, use bullet points to summarise key points

Tools including Readable are another option for checking your company website.

Turning Prospects into Customers

Being ranked on the top page of Google is an aspiration for most business owners. To this end, it is recommended that webpage content exceeds 400 words. This can look like an essay, so how can readability be improved? The answer is in the presentation.

These tips will help you to get the presentation right:

Introduce your Offer

Use the Main Heading and Introduction to summarise your offer. Your prospects need to immediately see something relevant to their search.

Use Subheadings and Visual Content

Divide the bulk of the text into sections. Then use white space, images and infographics to aid presentation.

Drop Down Sections are Effective

A short paragraph is sufficient for some readers, but others want more. Use drop-down buttons, such as ‘Read More’ to expand the content and address both needs.

Include Internal Links

Include links to other relevant pages on your website for further information. This could include Frequently Asked Questions, case studies or shipping information.

Share your Customer Testimonials

Do you have a customer testimonial for the specific product or service on each page? If so, share it, as this adds value to the visitor and content to the page.

Interesting and well-presented content will encourage visitors to read more. As a result, they gain a better understanding of your offer and your company becomes more approachable. This increases the likelihood of prospects becoming customers.

I can assist with web page copy, simply email to discuss your requirements. I will prepare written content that delivers your message and appeals to customers.



A Celebration of Storytelling

As a content writer, I use words to share marketing messages and to help businesses tell their story. This storytelling enables them to differentiate their brand, products and services from the competition. I also enjoy reading for pleasure and sharing stories, which is why I am a fan of World Book Day.

World Book Day

World Book Day is an annual event promoting the benefits of reading and writing. It is a day to celebrate words and the power of language.

For young children, stories can help them spot patterns, learn sounds and rhythms and see familiar things. As reading develops, books open up new worlds and characters. Sharing stories from a young age encourages children to see reading as a pleasure, not a chore.

Books allow readers to safely explore new situations and worlds, see things from a fresh perspective and fire up their imagination. The great thing about reading is that you stay in control of the pace and the images that are created. No two readers will absorb and respond to a book in quite the same way.

Through lockdown, books have provided me with a means to escape the four walls of the home. I have read several travel adventures and stories set in foreign lands. It offers transportation to other cultures, even when you have to stay home. What books have you favoured?

Share a Story

World Book Day encourages us to share a story. This could be giving someone a book that you have read and enjoyed or reading a story to someone. Alternatively, you could listen together to a story being read online or an audiobook. No matter what your age, sharing a story can bring delight.

I believe that early interaction with books offers a great start in life. I read stories to my daughter from birth. We were regular visitors to the Aylesbury library and enjoyed the ‘Bounce and Rhyme’ sessions. She is now in secondary school, still loves reading and has embarked on writing an adventure story.

Community Storytelling

A few years ago, I was working on a community project. The need for more story groups for babies, tots and parents was identified. With a shelf of books at home, I decided to volunteer. ‘Storytime and Song’ was set up as a weekly session held at the Healthy Living Centre in Aylesbury.

When lockdown hit last year, we wanted to find a way to keep sharing stories. I started posting a weekly story on Facebook, which was shared with some of the parents and the in-house nursery staff. It has proved popular with other contacts too. This small local group has expanded to friends in Lancashire, Suffolk, Holland, Luxembourg and Portugal!

Lockdown has encouraged many stories to be shared online. If you have younger children, or even older relatives that might enjoy listening, check out Story Corner and Coles Books Facebook Page.

I am hopeful that it will soon be safe for the group to meet again.

Donate and Borrow Books

A great thing about books is that they offer affordable entertainment. When libraries reopen, you can become a member for free and borrow titles that appeal. Charity shops and second-hand bookshops are also great places to find the work of great authors at affordable prices. Then swap with friends and family.

My daughter and I also set up a street library during the first lockdown. Many books were donated and borrowed and people of all ages thanked us.

If you have novels going spare, you could donate them to a community library or charity shop when they reopen. If you have textbooks and resources that support study, Build on Books is a great charity that donates resources to schools in Africa.

Share a Story Today

If you have children in primary school, you may feel relief in not having to make or buy a costume this year. Dressing up outfits can be a challenge, but the real purpose of the day is a celebration of stories, reading and writing. Why not take the time to share a story today?


How to Approach Marketing in Lockdown

Over the past 12 months, many marketing strategies have been abandoned. Every business has had to rethink. Adjustments have been made to what’s offered and how this is effectively communicated to customers. With change the only constant, how can you approach marketing in lockdown?

Local Marketing; Be Part of the Community

One of the major shifts has been in favour of local businesses. ‘Shop Local’ initiatives are familiar, but in lockdown, this has grown in strength. Quick to respond in the first lockdown, local businesses have shown their value in the community. Whilst based at home, consumers are discovering what is on their doorstep, so make the most of this opportunity.

Google My Business

If you haven’t already, now is the time to ensure that your local listings are up-to-date. The first thing to check is whether Google My Business show your current location, opening times and contact information? If you feature in other local directory listings, take a look to see if changes are needed.

Local Groups on Social Media

It can also be useful to join and contribute to local groups on social media. This will help your business to become more visible in the community. If you offer valuable advice and recommendations, it builds trust and showcases your knowledge. (A comment on a community post has resulted in my latest enquiry.)

Print Media Marketing

Featuring in local publications and door-to-door leaflet delivery may not have been on your radar a year ago, but these are different times. People have more time to read what comes through their letterbox. Personalise your message so it resonates with residents.

Geographically-specific Paid Advertising

If your marketing strategy includes paid advertising, focus on your local geographical area. It is possible to specify individual postcodes. The benefits of a local focus are highly targeted marketing, less competition and, therefore, lower per-click costs.

Customer-focused Content

Whether B2B or B2C, every one of your customers has experienced change. As a result, what they want from you has altered. Has your written content been adjusted?

The keywords that you were promoting for search engine optimisation may need to shift. Metaphorically speaking, are you still promoting smart suits and party dresses whilst your target audience are browsing casual clothes? Beyond products and services, check that the outcomes you were promoting are in line with current desires.

When preparing your marketing message, Google Trends and other online tools offer data on what people are searching for. This can provide generic awareness to inform your blog content or social media posts.

The best approach is to get in touch with your customers. Give them a call, send them an email, even write them a letter! Gather feedback on what you offer and what they want; then use this to inform your marketing strategy. With customer feedback in mind, does your web page content need a freshen up? What would be helpful information to include in your next blog?

Keep it Relevant

These are strange times and we can’t simply carry on as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Any marketing message should reflect the current situation. It might suit your brand to approach this with humour, empathy, distraction or practical information, but tailor a relevant message.

Improve Home Life and you are on to a Winner!

In lockdown, those four walls can feel restrictive. Working, schooling and living in the same space is something we are still adapting to. Through the winter months, even getting out for exercise is less tempting. If your business can offer anything to make home life more tolerable and enjoyable, you could be onto a winner.

This approach isn’t limited to those selling craft kits, DIY products or office furniture. Our TV Licence letter included instructions for a paper-folding trick – perfect!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Use the back of that flyer that you are designing for doorstep delivery for a fun activity
  • Post a monthly challenge on social media
  • Include a printed template on your shipping boxes
  • Create a resource or competition that supports the curriculum – Pod Point and Fresh Air Fitness were two companies who have taken this approach.

With a little creativity, you can make things a little easier; that will put your brand in a good light.

Content Writing Services

As an Aylesbury-based, freelance content writer, I support local businesses to keep their message fresh and relevant. If you need content writing services, please get in touch:


Seasonal Messages for 2020

With just a month until Christmas Eve, your company may be considering an appropriate seasonal message. In 2020, the usual ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’ doesn’t feel right. With many people unable to enjoy the usual festivities, the challenge is finding meaningful words.

Whether we are considering sending cards, email greetings or festive blog writing, is it possible to hit the right tone? Would it be better to skip the sentiments this year?

Let’s Look at the Big Brands for Inspiration

Every year, marketing teams pull out all of the stops to create Christmas Adverts for the big brands. Considerable market research and creative thinking go into producing a message that resonates with the public. What can we learn from them?

John Lewis & Waitrose; Acts of Kindness

The John Lewis and Waitrose Ad is one of the most eagerly anticipated, yet this year they nearly opted against the idea. The company were persuaded that it was the right thing to do by the two charities that set to benefit. As the chosen charities, Fare-Share and Home-Start will gain publicity and funds from the campaign.

With both companies aiming to be a ‘force for good’, the theme for 2020 is random acts of kindness. This meaningful approach focuses on being generous in spirit, rather than giving in a materialistic sense.

This ad could inspire a festive gesture for employees. An office party might be out of the question, but an act of kindness could be a wonderful way to reward members of your team. This could take the form of an extra day of leave or a development opportunity that supports a personal goal.

This could be an accompanying greeting:

‘What would we do without you? We appreciate your motivation and determination to always do an exceptional job. You have helped us survive the most challenging of years, thank you.’

Google; Support for Small Businesses

The Google Ad recognises the role that small businesses have played in helping their community through the challenges of 2020. Their seasonal advert encourages people to support local, independent companies by writing a Google review. It is simple to do, costs nothing and is a gift that adds value.

This approach could inform your message to suppliers, freelancers and partner organisations. Take the time to write them a testimonial, LinkedIn recommendation or Google review.

‘As a small token of thanks for the support you have given us, we have written a Google review/LinkedIn recommendation/testimonial. May it help you generate new business in 2021.’

Tesco; Treat Yourself

Tesco has brought light-hearted humour to their Christmas message. The ‘no naughty list’ advert forgives the sins of stockpiling toilet roll, less than perfect home-schooling and dodgy home haircuts. It encourages us to treat ourselves because, at the end of a year like this, we all need a treat.

The treat yourself message might fit the bill for your loyal customers. Without them, your business would struggle. Could you show gratitude for their patronage by offering them a gift or a substantial discount?

‘To show our gratitude for your loyal custom, we believe you deserve a treat. Your next … will be on us/We’ll include a free … with your next order/Use this code for a 50% discount on your next booking.’

Amazon; Making Dreams Come True

The Amazon Ad shows how creative thinking helps a talented ballerina to fulfil her ambition of performing to an audience. It draws on the fact that we’ve all had to adapt and do things a little differently this year, but can still help each other to achieve our dreams.

If you are aware of the ambition of a colleague, supplier, freelancer, customer or associate, who, in your network, has the contacts, resources or knowledge to assist? Can you make connections and referrals that could help someone to take the next step towards their dream? Imagine receiving this message and the impact it could make:

‘I’d like to help you get 2021 off to a great start. Here are the details of … I believe they could offer exactly what you need to transform your vision into a reality. I’ve let them know to expect your call. Season’s Greetings.’

Your Seasonal Message

Attempting to craft a message of the right tone can result in lots of staring at a blank screen. If inspiration has yet to strike, I hope that these suggestions will inspire original words this Christmas.


Finding the Small Business Voice

As a small business, have you found your voice? Does your marketing message reflect your offer or are you trying to emulate the big brands?

Many small business owners are concerned that potential clients will be put off by a small team. They fear that it will be assumed that they lack the capacity or resources for larger projects and orders. As a result, they are tempted to create a marketing message that implies that they are a larger entity.

Is this a great marketing strategy or is honesty the best policy?

Are you Attracting the Right Clients?

Some customers favour the big names, the known brands and the long-established agencies. The familiarity of the process or the product is reassuring. They trust the label of a quality brand.

You can chase these customers, trying to attract their attention and working tirelessly to prove that you are worthy of their business. The difficulty is that bigger brands will inevitably have more marketing resources, so competing at this level is tough.

Is it worth risking a façade that doesn’t quite match reality when it can crumble? Can you build strong client relationships when you aren’t being genuine?

Celebrating the Small Business Offer

Rather than trying to emulate big business, why not celebrate the advantages of being a small company? Many potential customers prefer the experience of working with local, independent companies and here are three reasons why:

Small Businesses are Led by Owners, not Managers

As a business owner, you have a vested interest in delivering the best customer experience. Your livelihood depends on listening to customers and providing what they need. As the decision-maker, you can adapt services, policies or processes in an instant if it is advantageous. This approach makes the service responsive in a way which isn’t possible in large firms.

The type of customer that favours small businesses is looking for someone who cares. They know that owners are willing to do what it takes to build trust and complete the project to a high standard. This commitment is seldom matched by a paid manager.

Does your marketing message celebrate the dedication of the team? Do communications and case studies showcase your approachable and receptive nature?

Small Businesses offer Something Unique

Where large organisations are tough to beat on standard products and services, small independent businesses are the champions of personalisation. If consumers are looking for bespoke products and tailored solutions, they need specialists.

Let big brands engage with the masses, for small businesses it is more important to celebrate niche products and services. If your webpage content and social media is simply a micro version of the market leader, you are missing a trick.

Small Businesses are Part of the Local community

There are several advantages to being part of the local community. In the digital world, we can be in communication with anyone, but it is reassuring to be able to meet in person. Having your business on their doorstep makes you approachable and provides a sense of accountability.

As a small business owner, you likely have established contacts in the local area. If clients need something beyond the scope of your offer, you can make recommendations. Outsourcing and collaboration bring the best skills to the table and this can make you far more dynamic than larger firms.

Many customers prefer independent companies because they contribute to the local economy in ways that have a direct impact on them. From support school programmes such as Young Enterprise, sponsoring a sports team or engaging in community activities, this makes a difference.

Does your marketing message showcase your community involvement?

Be Proud of your Small Business Status

As a small business owner, you have lots to be proud of. Make sure that you have an original voice that promotes your strengths. With an honest marketing message, you are more likely to entice customers with natural synergy.


If writing is not your thing and you would like some help with finding your small business voice, I offer a range of affordable copywriting services. Please email for further information.


Does your Marketing Message Still Hit the Mark?

Through this challenging year, every business has had to adapt. Have changes been reflected in your marketing?

If your business has experienced change, it is fair to assume that the same applies to your customers. Priorities have shifted, along with where and how we work. Plans may have been put on hold as we focus on what’s needed to keep afloat.

Whether you serve other businesses or consumers, what they need and expect from you now is probably different from a year ago. Does your marketing message still hit the mark?

Is your Website Content Current?

If you have adapted processes, changed your product range or have new ways of accessing services, has your web page content been updated to reflect the changes?

Beyond your website, take a look at your business profile on social media platforms, directories and other marketing tools; are the details accurate? As uncertainty continues, it is worth reviewing this content regularly.

Responsive Marketing

During times of rapid change, communication with customers is essential. Keeping in touch and encouraging open conversations provides valuable insight. This enables your business to tailor services and marketing in ways which address customer and organisational needs.

In many cases, those quickest to respond to the Covid-19 lockdown were small businesses. Knowing their customers and community, they were responsive. As they shifted their offer and message to meet needs, they attracted new business.

As you welcome customers back through the door, have you communicated the steps you’ve taken to keep them safe? Do they even know that your company is still operational? Email marketing and newsletters are an effective way to reassure customers, retain their trust and keep everyone on your database informed.

Retain Customers with Direct Marketing

Direct communication with existing customers can pay dividends. We know that it takes a lot more effort to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. As many companies and individuals are facing difficulties, what will it take to keep those loyal customers?

A change in financial situation could mean that previously regular buyers can no longer afford your services. Rather than lose this business, do you have an alternative option or can you agree on new payment terms?

Bring your Content up to Speed

As a small business, there is always plenty to keep us busy. I encourage you to find 30 minutes in this week’s calendar to review your communications and marketing messages. Is your content relevant or does it need bringing up to speed?


Any Advice on Website Content?

Furlough has provided many with the time to realise long-held ambitions. Online forums are filled with questions about the different aspects of starting a business. From business bank accounts and e-commerce platforms to marketing tips and website content, shared advice is helping many to feel positive about the future.

A good friend has been studying Interior Design, building a portfolio and gaining practical experience in a construction company. She has been preparing to launch her own business for years. Weeks without work have been used productively and she got in touch.

Her initial thoughts were to create a simple website. As she responds better to images than text, she planned to keep wording to a minimum. She asked if I have any advice on what should be included in the text and if writing a blog was necessary.

Below is my advice. I thought it could be useful information for anyone setting up a business and considering website content.

Website Planning

Before you start work on the website, it is advisable to undertake some serious research.

Customer Focused Content

Setting up a business means that you need to plan everything from the perspective of your ideal customer. The reality is, it isn’t about what you want, it is all about what they want! So, you need to get in their head and work out what will sell your services to them.

I would suggest you start by answering these questions:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What do they read?
  • Why do they want the (goods or) services you will offer?
  • Why don’t they (make it or) do it themselves?
  • What would convince them to make you a contender?
  • What barriers might prevent them from placing an order?
  • Are there barriers which might prevent them from employing you specifically?
  • What are their expectations?

I know it is especially tricky at the moment, but it is insightful if you can find ways to get into their world (the places they visit) and their heads (the online groups they join, articles they read…). What is influencing their decisions?

If you want to take this further, this article on Neil Patel’s site provides more insight in how to understand your customers.

It might be that you have more than one ideal customer, so this activity should be repeated.

What is the Competition Offering?

You also need to suss out the competition. Who are your online competitors? (in her case Interior Designers in her geographical location, but also kitchen fitters/home furnishing stores who offer a design service).

  • What does their website look like?
  • Which pages have they got on their website?
  • What information are they sharing?

You do not want to replicate their websites, but it is useful to see who you are up against and what they offer. You can learn from their mistakes and improve on the bits that they have got right!

The Purpose of the Website

The next step is to seriously consider what you want your website to do.

  • Is it simply a stylish catalogue of your work?
  • Do you want people to find it online?
  • Do you want it to operate as a sales tool?
  • Would it be helpful if it enabled you to create a list of interested contacts?
  • Will it provide useful information to customers?

Website Content

Every business offer and every target market is different. When it comes to the design and content of your website, there is no set formula.

It is only when you have the answers to these questions, that a website developer can build a site that works for your company. It is only then that you can plan the website content – not around what you want, but what the customer is looking for.

With the answers to these questions, it is possible to make informed decisions about:

  • Whether a low-cost DIY website is better value than paying a professional to design your web pages
  • If Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important
  • What content to include on your pages
  • Whether a regular blog writing will benefit your business or distract from other tasks

She is now working through these questions. This exercise will help me to provide her with useful advice and it could also help her with other marketing strategies. I hope it will help you too. Just remember that you only have a business if you have customers, so your website content has to meet their needs, rather than yours.

Writing Website Content

Are your time and skills are better spent on other areas of the business set up or development? If writing website copy, content planning or creating blogs is not your forte, I can help you to move the project forward. For further information, please email


Reading and Writing

Unsurprisingly, blog writing and webpage content are not the top priority for many businesses at the moment. I also volunteer, running a weekly Storytime & Song session in a local community centre. That too is temporarily on hold.

My day is now largely spent facilitating home school, whilst keeping out of the way of my husband, (for whom home working does not come naturally). I was dreading it at first, but I can honestly say that I’ve learnt a lot!! Online lessons and worksheets from school have been much appreciated, but that still leaves time to fill.

One of the community projects that my daughter and I prepared is a mini-library. She is an avid reader and reluctant to part with books, but it took less persuasion than expected. We both sorted a pile of books that we were unlikely to read again.

Having filled a cardboard box, we created posters and flyers. The library was positioned at the end of the drive and flyers distributed during our daily walk. We also promoted the result on her school Facebook page.

Each dry morning, the library is ‘opened’ and we bring it in at the end of the day. It is great to spot which books have been borrowed or swapped. With further donations from neighbours, the library has grown to include different genres.

With the prospect of at least another three weeks of social distancing, we hope that this small community project will provide a few people with some fresh reading material.