Thursday 30 April 2009

How to....Write Website Content (Part1)

One of the biggest challenges you will face with your website is writing the content, and it can be very daunting! It is important and there’s a lot of pressure to get it right first time. Plus there are a million and one places to start and it does takes time.

There’s no real way to get away from it – unless you hire a copywriter to do it for you - however the benefits are long lasting and profitable. Below are the reasons to for spending the time writing your content, and in this series will be a number of tips to help you write content and avoid writers block!

Why write content

It is an old cliché, but it is very hard to write a series like this without bringing it up, Content is King.

Content is so important to your website because it will help get you found in search engines and will give existing and potential customers the information they need. You can tell potential customers exactly what you do, how you do it and point out all the good bits about your company, and its products or services Best of all - they have chosen to read it and are probably sitting comfortably in the comfort of their own home or office. It gives you the chance to blow your own trumpet beacuse, lets face it, if you don’t do it, who else will?

Don’t panic, your content will never be perfect

This may be a funny way to start a paragraph, but it’s true. You should always strive to be better, to improve your content. I know that the thought of writing everything down and it being ‘set in stone’ is overwhelming, like having brochures printed – once it’s sent to the printers, there’s no turning back. A website is very different, it is meant to be dymanic, and can be easily chanegs as needed.Whether a spelling mistake has slipped through or you don’t like the way a sentence is worded, you have the option to fix it, without having to enter discussions with the printers or start all over again.

Writing good content takes time

Like any job worth doing, you need to give it some time. If you keep your goal in mind – a well written website that brings in plenty of new business – and if you can plan to spend 30 minutes every now and then working on a section, your content will be written in no time at all.

Start at the beginning...

Ok. So now that you are relaxed – you know it has to be done, you know it’s not going to be set in stone, you have decided to spend some time working on it – where exactly do you start?

Write a list of all of the pages needed on your website, starting a new page with each title.

It is likely that the Home or Index page will be first in your list, but this may not be the best place to start as this can incorporate bits and pieces from all of the other pages, and should ideally be a summary of what can be expected on the website or show of all the best bits. So choose the page that you are most confident writing and start there. How about the Contact page? Or About Us? And then get scribbling – make notes, bullet points, or if you feel up to it whole paragraphs. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can get something down. Now do this for every page and you’ll have the outline for your content. It’s as easy as that!

Come back next week for Part 2 - What makes good content?

Writing Content for your website

April has flown & May is very nearly here. We have been pretty busy at Picseli, and have been searching for some blog posts that we feel would benefit our readers. So we have paid attention to our customers and one of the biggest issues faced is... writing website content!

It doesn't matter what your company does, it is a daunting task. You have about 30 seconds to write something exciting anough about your company that will make people want to stay and read more. So where do you start?

May Your Content be King
We have decided that May will be content month at Picseli, dedicated to helping you write content for your website. Now, we are not copywriters, but have written the content for our own website and, so far, it appears to be working for us. So we will let you into our little secrets and help you take the next steps in getting your website content written!

5 Part Series
Every Friday, throughout May and starting tomorrow, we will publish a post related to helping you write content for your website. So why not bookmark this page or subscribe to our blog feed to make sure you don't miss out? If you want to be emailed whenever a new post is uploaded send an email to

Thursday 9 April 2009

How to...find out if your website is accessible in 6 steps

The Disability Discrimination Act states that businesses must make reasonable adjustments to ensure that their information (among other things) is accessible to everyone. How far you choose to go with it is up to you, and will depend on your target audience. However, there are a few simple checks you can carry out on your own website to get an idea of how accessible your website is.

1. Is your website code valid?
Valid code means that it has been written according to a set of guidelines. Think of it as writing an essay using correct grammar. If the reader isn't distracted by poor spelling and misuse of characters like semi-colons, they find it easier to read, if the structure is logical it makes it easier to understand. So while valid code isn't the be all and end all of accessibility it's a good starting place.

The easiest way to check your code is to visit The W3C Markup Validation Service and enter your website address, this will then let you know how many errors are in your code. If this number is high, it is may be worth getting your website looked at.

2. Do Images have descriptions?
All images that display information should contain a description, in an 'alt' tag. In Internet Explorer, hover your mouse over an image and a description should appear. Check that this relates to the image and is an accurate description. This text will appear when images cannot be displayed, or will be read via a screen reader to those with visual impairments.

3. Does your website have a sitemap?
Somewhere on your website there should be a link to a sitemap or a list of all pages on your website. This allows visitors to quickly see exactly what content is available on your site and stop them getting lost on your site.

4. Do you need a mouse to access your website?
Leave your mouse alone and try to navigate through your website using the TAB, SHIFT+TAB and ENTER or RETURN keys on your keyboard. If it can't be done visitors who cannot use a mouse will not be able to access your website content.

5. Do links make sense out of context?
Read through the links on your website. Can you tell just from the link text where it will go? For example a link saying 'Contact Us' tells visitors you are likely to get to a page containing contact details, while 'Click here' or just 'here' could lead anywhere.

6. Can your text be resized?
For visitors with poor visibility it must be possible for the text on your website to be resized. To check that this can be done in Internet Explorer go to 'View' > 'Text Size' > 'Largest'. Make sure your website can still be used at this size.

These are basic accessibility checks and will not give you a full review, but can give you a good idea. If lots of issues arise from the checks above it is highly likely that your website is not accessible. For a full accessibility review of your web site call Picseli on 01792 222302.

Monday 6 April 2009

Elevator Pitch

I have been following Problogger's Blog for a while now, trying to pick up tips for a better blog.

Today is the start of his 31 Days to a Build a Better Blog Challenge (31DBBB), which I'll be following in an effort to keep this blog up to date and interetesting. We would appreciate any feedback on what is written, so please comment when you can.

Today's challenge is to come up with an elevator pitch for this blog. Which got me thinking about what this blog is about. It's to provide information on Picseli and what we're up to and to provide information on web design and all things web related. So do I need an elevator pitch for the blog or Picseli as a whole? I think here goes:

Picseli's Elevator Pitch
We make customers smile with websites that bring in business.

Picseli's Blog Elevator Pitch
We help people with websites make the most of them, and help those without decide what they want to do with them.

I think it needs a bit of fine tuning, but we're getting there.