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Wyoming Business Tips for April 6-April 12

March 28, 2014

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Elizabeth Parks, WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz market researcher

“I am telling people all about my new product on my website, but customers aren’t buying. Why not?” Jodi, Pinedale

Writing is a big part of what the online experience is about. Well-written, edited content is essential for the success of any website. You always want to make it easy for the reader to find and read content, but concise writing for the web can be a challenge.

It is easy to write and write with no particular reader in mind. But usually nobody reads this kind of content. Instead of writing all about your product, focus on answering the question, “What’s in it for me, the customer? Why should I buy your product?”

People usually are on the web looking for something -- a specific need usually drives customers to start searching. Make it easy for them to find solutions. Start by reviewing your content to see if it is easy to scan.

People don’t read web pages so much anymore; they scan them. They scroll and click until they find what they need. They look for hyperlinks, numbers and keywords. They look for headings and subheadings in your paragraphs.

Newspapers and magazines do a great job with headlines. Study some headlines and see how they hook readers into scanning the whole article for more information. Remember that people are looking for specific things, so the more efficiently you can do that, the better your headings will work.

Research shows that people usually use one or two keywords when typing in the search box. Give special attention to the keywords when writing headings and subheadings. Are keywords by customers being typed into the box to find you?

Another issue with content is paragraph length. About 50 words is sufficient; have a subheading for every few paragraphs, and also remember that long sentences are hard to read online. Make them short and to the point.

When you’re done, review your content by answering these questions: is this clear, is there a simpler and shorter way to say this, and finally, is this necessary? Then, ask someone who knows almost nothing about your products to review the content. Did that person learn anything about what you do; how easy was it to figure out?

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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