This is a continuation of a series of website marketing checklists. Check out all Web Marketing Checklists in this series.

What this is about: This checklist explores the development of your site's web content including readability issues, message and overall effectiveness.

Why this is important: Content is an essential part of the persuasion process. Pretty, image-based sites may be appealing to the eye, but it's the content that appeals to the emotional and logical centers of the brain. The inclusion of content as well as the effectiveness of the writing are all crucially important to the sales process.


What to look for:

  • Grabs visitor attention: The headline and very first sentences should get the readers attention and make them want to keep exploring.
  • Exposes need: Explain to the visitor what their need is for your product, service or information really is.
  • Demonstrates importance: Explain why their need, and therefore your solution to it, is important to their way of life.
  • Ties need to benefits: Talk about the benefits the readers gets from your solution. Put it in their terms.
  • Justifies and calls to action: Justify the purchase and provide clear calls to action to compel the reader forward.
  • Gets to best stuff quickly: Don't "save the best for last". Once you have their attention, get to the good stuff ASAP.
  • Reading level is appropriate: Talk at your audiences reading level (or below it without talking down to them). Don't talk above them.
  • Customer focused: Stay focused on meeting the customers wants and needs. It's about them, not you.
  • Benefits and features: Explain all the important features but also tell how those features will benefit them.
  • Target personas: Develop personas for your target audience and write in a way that speaks to those personas specifically.
  • Provides re-assurances: Always reassure your visitors that what you offer is important/necessary/helpful/satisfying, etc.
  • Answers WIIFM: Always explain to the visitor what's in it for them. Don't make them guess.
  • Consistent voice: Speak in a clear consistent voice throughout the site. Don't change "personalities" from page to page.
  • Eliminate superfluous text: Get rid of any text that doesn't specifically assist with the sales process.
  • Reduce /explain industry jargon: Avoid using industry jargon that is unintelligible to the average person. Talk in terms your visitors will understand.
  • No typo, spelling or grammar errors: Eliminate all errors throughout your text.
  • Contains internal contextual links: Look for opportunities to link to other pages and content within the body copy.
  • Links out to authoritative sources: When warranted, link out to other authoritative websites that backup your content.
  • Enhancing keyword usage (SEO): Know and use important keywords throughout your body copy.
  • Date published on articles/news: Timely articles should contain a date in which they were published and/or updated.
  • Web version of PDF docs available: Convert PDF documents into HTML for easier accessibility.
  • Consistent use of phrasing: Don't change how you reference certain things. Be consistent on a page by page basis.
  • No unsubstantiated statements: Don't make claims that you can't backup and prove to be true.


Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Great article, so many times we have redone websites for clients that hired some body for a $500.00 website and you can tell they do not have a list like you have written about to follow. We have checklists for all phases of marketing, advertising, and website design.

Planning and using your checklist to make sure everything is done, can be a serious error.

Brent Thomas
Thomas-co Media

"No unsubstantiated statements: Don't make claims that you can't backup and prove to be true."

I think you mean UNtrue, yes?

nope. I meant "can't... prove to be true."

I've had a website for the past eight months and there is only one thing you've written with which I disagree:

Eliminate superfluous text: Get rid of any text that doesn't specifically assist with the sales process

My experience is just the opposite of that. I even have a page relating an issue which obsesses me and which is only connected to my product tangentially ...and it is the page that most visitors mention to me when they write.
I think it causes them to feel as though they know me better, and that is an advantage because they regard me with more trust.

@ Chris - I think it depends on the context. If you're writing about products or really trying to make the sale, superfluous text can be an annoyance. However done right or in the right way, it can also work for you.

"Contains internal contextual links: Look for opportunities to link to other pages and content withing the body copy."

"Withing" should be "within"

Otherwise great tips.

Thanks Ryan. fixed.

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