How to Create Engaging Content For Your Website Homepage

Once upon a time, website homepages were pages you didn’t pay attention to. There’d be a few words of welcome on them and you’d bypass them as you chased down the information you were looking for. But now website homepages are all-singing, all-dancing affairs, designed to draw you in and keep you browsing.

Website homepages are now designed for scrolling, as more and more people browse using phones and tablets. Instead of just one block of text in the centre of the page, homepages now have several short snippets that give people information about the different parts of your website.

This pic shows the homepage of my own website, beautifully designed by Digi Nomad. You can see a typewriter at the top, and then some text. This is my welcome message, with the call to action underneath.  

That’s a lot of white space to play with, and you may be wondering how to fill it. The most important thing to remember is that even though the layout of your website homepage has changed, the purpose of it hasn’t. With your homepage you’re encouraging people to find out more about your business and to stay on your website.

Here are some ideas for types of content you can create that will help fill that white space and keep your visitors browsing.

Welcome Message

Your welcome message is still really important. It’s your first chance to introduce yourself to your website visitors and to tell them what you’re about. In your welcome message, hit them with your core message right away. Tell them what you do and what you hope to achieve for your customers. This shows potential customers what you’re about, and if that resonates with them, they’ll want to read more.

About Us

In this section, your goal is to bring people to your About Us page. You can do this by giving us a snippet of text from that page: your mission statement or your why, the reason you started the business in the first place. This will draw people in, and they’ll hit the Read More button to go to the About page and find out more about you. You can also tell people what information they’ll find on the page, so they’ll know what to expect.

Have a look at my Solutions for Entrepreneurs page to find out about my content training course, which will show you how to write your own web content.

Products and Services

This part of your homepage is the shop window for your products services, giving people the chance to choose the one we need. Give people a rundown of the types of products and services you offer and who’s likely to benefit from them. Some web designers create little boxes for each service, where you can include snippets of introductory text that will invite people to browse further.

Why Us

This can be a web page in its own right, but rather than create an extra page, you can add a section to your homepage telling people what helps you stand out from the crowd. Tell them how you go the extra mile with great customer service and how you offer them value for money.

Adding a Why Us is useful if your business is similar to many other businesses in your field. You can show people that the way you deliver your service is different – and better – than your competitors.

Calls to Action

For every section of your homepage, give people a clear call to action. Your web designer will ensure your contact details are displayed prominently, but you still need to make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you.

In each section, lay out what you would like people to do next. Do you want them to visit another page on your website? Do you want them to call you? Or do you want them to sign up to your newsletter? Try out different calls to action and see how they work.

I’d be delighted to show you how to write inviting content for your homepage. Here’s my call to action. Drop me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie for more info.

Fifteen Words That Tell Your Business Story

It’s not what you say but the way that you say it, that’s what gets results. Or at least, it’s not just what you say; it’s the words you use to say it. In this blog, I’ve been concentrating on the content of your business story, but the words you choose to tell that story are just as important. Because they’re the words that people will associate with your brand.

When I’m delivering content training, I’ve discovered that people aren’t just interested in telling their story. They want to find out how to pick the right words to describe their business, as well as how to tell their story. So, this week, I’ve decided to share my thoughts about how to choose words that will resonate with your customers.


This is a word cloud, with brightly coloured words on a yellow background. The words are scattered throughout the picture to form patterns. They include words like: coffee, aroma, home, value and estate agent.  

The language you choose to describe your business and to tell your business story has a subtle but powerful effect. It sets the tone for your content and creates a particular mood: one of calm professionalism or one of fun and laughter, depending on what effect you want to create. Like the colours of a logo, the words you choose tell people how you see your business brand, and they will pick up on that and absorb the message you’re trying to convey.

We’re now going to talk about how to choose words to tell your business story and about what effect those words will have on your customers.

Words That Describe Your Business And Customers

It may seem obvious, but you first need to decide how you will refer to your business and to your customers when you’re writing your content. Some people like to use ‘we’ and ‘our’ to talk about the services they deliver, and they refer to their customers as ‘you’ or ‘our customers.’. This sets a friendly tone and gives customers the sense that you’re talking to them one to one.

Other businesses prefer to be more formal. They talk about ‘the business’ or ‘the company’ and ‘its customers.’ This is a good approach for businesses that want to present themselves in a professional way, so they can be seen as authorities in their fields. There’s also the decision about whether to refer to people who buy from you as ‘customers’ or ‘clients.’ The word ‘customers’ tends to be associated more with retail and product-based businesses, while clients tend to be seen as people who use a service.

The Fifteen Words

Marketing gurus recommend that you come up with a list of fifteen words that describe your business, and I do this exercise with people on my content training course. These fifteen words then become people’s go-to words when they’re describing their business. They’ll draw on these words when they’re writing their content, and these will then become the words their customers think of when they think of that business.

Here’s a flavour of the types of words you can include on your list of fifteen words:

Doing words: These are practical words that describe what your business does. Say you’re an estate agent. You’d use the words ‘estate agent,’ ‘valuer,’ ‘seller,’ and ‘auctioneer’ to describe what you do. You may think it’s obvious what you do but it won’t always be obvious to your customers, so don’t overlook these words.

Value words: These words describe your business values, the principles that drive your business and that shape the service you offer customers. Weaving words like integrity, customer care, creativity or time into your content tells customers what values are important to you as a business. If they share those values, they’ll see you as a business they can trust.

Senses Words: With these words, you’re stimulating people’s senses. You describe what your products or services look, smell, taste, sound and feel like, so people feel almost as if they’re holding your products or are there at your place of business. You can use these words even if you don’t sell a product, by choosing a symbol that describes your services and using words that link with the symbol.

When you’ve drawn up your list of fifteen words, you sprinkle them through your content. These words convey the message and mission of your business and show customers what your business can do for them. Customers will associate these words with your business, and if you use words they like, it’ll influence their decision to buy. 

If you’d like some help finding your best words, I’ll be happy to chat to you. You can drop me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie or call/message me on 0876959799.

How My Content Creation Course Works

In all my blogs, I’ve been talking about how to use storytelling techniques to create brilliant content. But I thought I’d take a break from that this week and take stock of how my content creation course has evolved since the start of the year. I’ve been having a lovely time delivering my course, which is called Bestselling Content Creation, to committed, dynamic entrepreneurs, and I wanted to share that. But I also wanted to give you an idea of how the course works, so you can decide if it would be useful to you in the future.

Content Creation Modules

There are six modules available on the course: storytelling, web content, blog posts, social media posts, video scripts and traditional marketing content. All the participants have done the storytelling module because this is the foundation for all the modules on the course. After that, people pick the modules that are relevant to them.

Photo Description: The words ‘Bestselling Content Creation for Business – Storytelling’ are printed in blue capital letters on a white background, with a blue border.

Web content has been the most popular one, but there’s also been an interest in video scripts and press releases, which would come under traditional marketing content. Most people have chosen two modules, a couple have chosen three, and one person chose to combine two modules to make one. There’s a bundled rate available for taking all six modules, so I hope I’ll soon be able to rise to the challenge of delivering all six modules.

The people who’ve taken up the course are mostly solo entrepreneurs, though in one case I’ve delivered it to two people. So far, the course has been a bit more popular with people who offer services, possibly because service businesses don’t have the luxury of pictures to do some of their selling for them. But there has been interest from businesses selling consumer products as well.

Hands-On Approach to Content Writing

I take a hands-on approach to delivering the course because I believe people learn best by doing. Also, entrepreneurs are pretty time poor, so I help them make the most of their time by getting them to actually write their content. After a PowerPoint Presentation, the participants do writing activities. They then do more writing after the session finishes to put their business story together and I give them feedback to help them bring their story forward.

A lesson I quickly learned is that many people already have content written, so they’ve already begun writing their story. My job as a tutor/facilitator is to help them build on that story. By giving them a chance to work on the content they’ve already created in the session, they can see that the skills I’m showing them are relevant and can be directly applied to their business.

People will have time and space to work on their content in the session, which saves them having to find that space later. And they’ll come away having developed their content further, which is a good result.

People say they’re satisfied with the course modules they’ve done, which I’m pleased about. Long-term, I’m hoping people will find it a lot easier and less time consuming to produce content, and I’m hoping to see beautiful blog posts and snappy social media posts from my clients popping up on my feeds in the near future.

I hope I’ve made you curious about Bestselling Content for Business. If you are and you’d like to get in touch, you’ll find all my details on my nifty digital business card, email, phone, website etc. Click on the link to view my card.

Your Why: The Cornerstone of Your Content

In my last blog post, I showed you how to create a character sketch for your customers to help you understand them better. better. This week, I’ll show you how to create a character sketch for yourself so you can understand yourself better, what inspires you in your business. For this character sketch, you’ll ask yourself four questions. We’ll deal with the who, what and how questions in the next blog post, but we’ll start with why.

This is a picture of the cover of the book Start With Why. The words Start With Why are written in bright red uppercase letters on a white background. Copyright, Simon Sinek

This is a picture of the cover of Start With Why, a well known business book that inspires you to find your motivation.

Start With Why is actually the name of a well-known business book by Simon Sinek, who argues that knowing why you’re in business is the foundation for your success. It’s the spark of inspiration that gets you up in the morning and keeps you going on grey days when nothing is happening. It’s your purpose. It’s what gives you meaning in your life. It’s the reason you’re doing all this hard work in the first place.

Resonating With Customers

There are two powerful aspects to your why that will resonate with your customers – the good you do for the world and the good you do for yourself. It’s true that we set up in business to make money, but truly successful businesses do good for the world. It doesn’t have to be world peace. You can make people’s lives better in all kinds of small but valuable ways.

This week, I heard a presentation from a solicitor. The role of a solicitor is seen as a traditional one, one that follows well established practices. And most solicitors will offer similar services. But this solicitor electrified the group – because of her why. Maria O’Donovan is a family law solicitor who puts empathy for her clients at the heart of her practise.

Maria’s mission is to lighten the emotional burden that clients feel when they’re in difficult family situations, so that they’re ready for the legal battles that lie ahead. That’s a powerful why. She even keeps a list of counsellors at hand that she can refer her clients to if they need it, which shows that she’s breaking the mould.

If you want to create a compelling why statement yourself, you can sign up to my content training course.

What Motivates You

It may seem a little selfish to talk about the good you’re doing for yourself, but your customers will be interested in the human being behind your products. You can share the passion that led you to set up your business or your interest in coming up with innovative solutions to people. Maria O’Donovan chose to specialise in family law because personal experiences in her own life gave her a unique understanding of what her clients faced. That will resonate with people who need to find solutions to complex family issues. They’ll identify with her and trust that she can help them through their difficulties.

So, what do you do with this why when you’ve identified it? You turn it into a mission statement for your business. In that mission statement, you set out the goals you want to achieve for your customers and the values that you want to live by. The values are the things that give your life meaning and purpose. When your mission comes from your heart, it will truly resonate with customers and they’ll be drawn not just to your brand, but to the person behind the brand.

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How Storytelling Can Help You Understand Your Customers

How well do you know your customers? You may have some idea – you know the demographic you’re looking to reach or where they life. But do you really know them on an intimate? In this week’s blog, I’m going to show you how authors develop their characters, and how you can be inspired by their techniques to create content that really speaks to those customers.

Authors know everything about their characters. They don’t include all those details in their stories, but they know about every aspects of their characters’ lives. That’s what helps them create a character that’s realistic and believable as a human being. They create a character sketch of their characters. It’s like a profile, a life story of a character created using various headings.

For you as a business owner, a character sketch is a great way to get to know your customers. You’d create a character sketch based on a particular customer who represents your target market. They could be a real person or someone you’d make up. The idea is that you can visualise this customer every time you write content and you can write your content for them. This allows you to create content with a friendly, intimate tone, helping your customers to feel like you’re a wise friend who understands your problems and can help them improve their lives.

So, how do you create a character sketch?

Basic Character Details

Let’s start with the basics. Give them a name and age. You can just choose a random name, but giving your customer a name makes it easier for you to imagine them as a person. Knowing their age is very useful. It helps you imagine them as a person. You can call them by that name when you’re writing your content and that’ll help you imagine you’re addressing what you say to them.

Here’s Maurice Murgatroyd, the star of my content creation course. I ask participants to practise their character creation skills on him. The results are interesting.




This is a charcoal type sketch of an old, grumpy looking mad with a pointy beard and a long face. He’s bald with spots on his head.

Another good way of visualising your customer is to find a profile picture of a person that represents your customer. You can download a stock picture from the internet and stick that photo up on a wall so you can see the customer in your mind when you’re writing your content. Or you can add a picture to the written details on your customer profile.

Life Details

This section of the character sketch is about a customer’s life circumstances. These are the circumstances that help shape their purchasing behaviour. Knowing their educational background and job will give you an idea of the income they have available to spend. Their family circumstances will determine what products and services they’ll buy. People with children will want to buy family-friendly products, while single people may want to buy high-end products to treat themselves with. Even a customer’s hobbies will shape their buying habits, as they’ll need to buy products that help them take part in their hobby.

Buying Habits

There are a few ingredients that will differentiate your character sketch from an author’s one. Where authors will identify their character’s secret power, or secret from their past, you’re identifying their purchasing power, or the ways they decide to purchase. One of the ways that people decide on their purchases is through the media. Increasingly, this means social media. If you know what media your target audience consumes, you can follow them onto those media platforms and communicate with them there. If you know where they shop, you know what types of shops they favour and what they buy when they’re in those shops. You can then appeal to customers whose consumer habits match the types of offerings you have.

Solving Their Problems

Your customers are coming to you because they have a problem they hope you can solve. This needn’t be a big problem. It could just be something they’re missing, a need that isn’t being met. The most important part of your character sketch is the section about the problem your customer would like solved. If you know what that problem is, you can create content that shows them how you solve that problem. They’ll then trust you to solve that problem, and they’ll buy from you.

How Character Sketches Help You Reach Your Customers

So, what’s the benefit of doing this character sketch? The isn’t a tangible result as such, but there is a result just the same. The character sketch helps you keep focused on your customers’ needs when you’re creating your content. When customers are reading your content, you want them to feel that they’re sitting across the table, having a coffee with you, and you understand where they’re coming from. And with that content, you can show them that they can trust you to help them improve their lives.

If you like the idea of character-driven content and you’d like me to help you create some, please give me (Derbhile) a call on 0876959799.

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A Glorious Mix of Writing and Editing

As you know, I love to mix it up when it comes to writing and editing, meaning I love assignments that allow me to combine the two. For the past few months, I’ve been doing a somewhat unusual assignment which allows me to do just that. In the past, I have been asked to write newsletters and to edit newsletters. For this assignment, I write part of the newsletter and then edit the rest.

A Remote Working Assignment

The assignment is for a start-up company that is developing event management software. They have a remote working model, meaning they hire freelancers to supply services from home, in a way that fits into the freelancer’s timetable. My role is to edit the newsletter for events professionals, people who organise events, and to write an intro that will engage readers and entice them to read further.

As it’s a remote-working model, all communication is done by virtual means. The newsletter is compiled by an in-house employee, who alerts me via the instant-messaging app Slack that the newsletter is ready for editing. I then access the newsletter through MailChimp, a software platform that allows people to design and distribute newsletters. I read through the newsletter first to familiarise myself with the content, edit it and then write the intro.

Approach to Editing

When I edit, I look for typos and for errors in sentence structure, which are actually more common. I change the sentences so that they read more coherently. I also edit for tone. The company is aiming for a chatty, informal tone, so I change any wording that I think is too stilted and informal. When I’m familiar enough with the content, I’m then able to write the intro, and I make sure to write it in a warm, friendly tone that invites people to read further.

Deadlines are often tight, so I don’t always get a chance to go over the newsletter a second time. But if time allows, I go over it one more time to check for stray typos. I nearly always spot ways to make a sentence flow more smoothly, or a glaring typo that escaped my eye the first time. Then I sign it off and the in-house team sends it out to a growing list of subscribers.

It’s satisfying to know that I’m playing a role in making the newsletter more readable for subscribers, and that the polish I give the newsletter may be instrumental in attracting new subscribers. Also, it’s a gift to have a regular assignment that I can rely on every week, one that neatly fits into my schedule.

I do also write full length newsletters. If you’d like to find out more about my email marketing and other content creation services, have a browse through the content creation section of my website.

Three Content-Writing Lessons for Businesses

Last week, I gave a presentation for an organisation called Waterford Chamber Skillnet, which provides courses to help business owners and employees improve their skills. When I looked at their programme, I saw that they didn’t have content creation among their courses, so I approached them and they scheduled me into their programme of social media workshops. I gave the presentation in this beautiful room.

Ship Room Edmund Rice Heritage Centre
I gave my presentation in The Ship Room at the Edmund Rice Heritage Centre. Photo Credit: Edmund Rice Centre Website.

Writing content is essential to a lot of jobs, particularly marketing and communication ones. But a lot of people feel they don’t know where to begin. I’m not a writer, they think. What can I say about my company? I wanted to banish those doubts with my presentation, and give them the tools and confidence to figure out what to say and how to say it.

I had a particular focus on social media content, because there’s a lot of buzz around content marketing, and I wanted to equip people with the skills to avail of it. A lot of the people at the presentation were employees, and I hoped the presentation would make it easier for them to do their jobs. For the business owners who are juggling marketing with all their other jobs, I hope to take the hassle out of creating content.

Here are three of the messages that I aimed to get across to the attendees.

Know why you’re writing content

This is fundamental to the success of your content marketing campaign. The fact is, on a busy day at the office, writing content is going to slide down the to-do list. If you know why you’re writing your content, you’ll find time for it. I told the participants that if they’re lucky, they’re doing it because their business or their job is their passion. But as a lot of them were employees, I said that if you can at least see the merits of writing content in fulfilling your role, that was reason enough.

Be Consistent

As I said, time is a challenge, so I told the attendees to create a schedule for their social media posts based on the time they had available. And I said that it didn’t matter if they only blog once a month. The point is that they do it regularly, on a specific day. Then their customers will know when to expect their content. They’ll be a regular presence in their customers’ lives, making it easy for their customers to stay in touch with them, and ultimately to buy.

You’re the Expert

A lot of people feel that because writing is not their forte, they’re not in the best position to write their content. But they’re the ones who are doing their job, day in, day out. That’s what qualifies them to write their content. They don’t need fancy words or an elegant turn of phrase. They just need to tell customers clearly what their customs can do for them. In my presentation, I aimed to give them tips and resources that would help them to do this. Only time will tell whether I’ve succeeded.

As a business owner or employee, do you write your own content? How do you approach it? What do you find difficult about it, and what do you enjoy about it?

Three Ingredients of Blogging Success

Workshop season is rolling along, and I’m enjoying all the hustle and bustle. The next stop on the workshop express train is Dungarvan, where I’ll be delivering a content creation workshop for small businesses. The workshop will equip people with the tools to put together their own blogs and social media posts. During the workshop, which will take place on Tuesday 20 September at Dungarvan Enterprise Centre, participants will come up with a plan for their blog and social media posts. They’ll also have a chance to draft up their first posts.

From working with businesses in the past, I’ve come to realise that before they ever write a blog post, three ingredients need to be in place. These ingredients will make it a lot easier for businesses to succeed with their blogs in the long term. During the workshop, I will be helping participants put those ingredients in place, so they’ll be motivated to succeed with their blogs.  

content-creation
Ingredients of successful content creation

1.      Know Why You’re Blogging

Don’t blog because your web designer told you it was a good idea, or because other businesses are doing it. Define for yourself why you feel it’s important for you to blog. If you’re passionate about your business, blogging gives you a chance to share that passion with a wider audience. If you value your customer relationships, blogging gives you a chance to deepen those relationships by talking to customers directly. And if reputation is important to you, blogging will help you build your brand and establish yourself as a trusted source of information for your customers.

2.      Be Willing to Invest Time

The great thing for small business owners is that blogging and social media are free to use. But you will still need to invest your time, and this can be in short supply for small business owners. You need to sit down and think about how much time you have available for your blog, how frequently you want to post and how long you want the posts to be. If you set a defined period of time aside each week for your blog, you’re more likely to keep blogging. If you really don’t have time, find someone in your business or your family circle who does.

3.      Trust You’re the Expert

Another stumbling block to blogging success is confidence. You may feel you’ve nothing to say, or that you’re out of practise with writing. But you own the business. Nobody knows the business better than you, so no-one else is better qualified to blog about it than you. If the thought of writing intimidates you, keep it simple. Just write about the day-to-day happenings of your business and write as you speak. If you’re really stuck for words, base your blog posts on pictures. People love pictures, and they make your posts more visible.

What are your secrets of business blogging success? Why do you blog? And how do you find time for it in your busy day?

Hassle-Free Content Creation

How do you do it? That’s one of the first questions customers ask me when they approach me about my content-creation services. In this blog, I’ll give you a taste of how the magic happens and how my approach benefits your business.

Having trained as a journalist, I know the importance of asking the right questions. I create a list of questions, email them to you and then ring you to talk through them. Some people prefer to answer the questions by return of email, but this can take time and the whole point of my service is to help you create effective content in the shortest possible time. A phonecall usually gives me all the information I need to create your content, whether you’re looking for a press release, web content or a marketing email.

The questions I ask are designed to help you figure out what’s special about your business and why your customers should buy from you. They enable you to tell the story of your business: its beginnings, your goals, your products and services and exciting new developments. They also give you a chance to show off your expertise, discussing the trends affecting your business and your customer-service philosophy.

The benefits of this method include.

  • Authenticity – Your content will be written in your voice and will be true to the spirit of your business.
  • Focus – This is a ready-made opportunity to work on their business. Customers have told me they find the questions useful in identifying the ingredients that make their business work.
  • Saves you time and hassle – the 10-15 minute phone conversation will be a worthwhile investment of your time.

Above all, don’t worry about giving the right or wrong answer. This is your business and you are the expert. All the information you need is at your fingertips.