This post itself is proof you can overcome the blank page on your website.
2 minutes ago I was like you when you need to create your about page or a new sales page.
It was just me and a terrifying blank page.
Like, “Hey, don’t look at me like that, I will come up with something, just let me think… stop being so blank and let me think!!!”
You know? I take contemporary dance classes, and there’s always a moment in each class where we improvise.
Many years ago improvising was one of my scariest nightmares. I’m one of those people who’s not afraid of performing/talking/teaching in front of a large audience, as long as I know exactly what I’m gonna do.
I will define my goals, visualize the roadmap of how things are going to flow, plan in advance the different stages of execution, and rehearse every part of it. And I know I’ll nail it every time.
But with improvisation, that’s the thing… You don’t know what you’ll do.
You stand in front of a blank page every single time. And when the music starts you need to fill it somehow.
Building a new page on your website is absolutely not an act of improvisation. And yet there are many things you can learn from improvising that can help you overcome the unbearable blank page on your website.
So without further ado, here they are: 4 techniques that I use at dance class and that are one hundred percent applicable when you have no idea how to start a new piece of content on your site and you wonder how to overcome that scary blank page situation.
1. Think of one main idea.
Improvising is not always as free of an act as you might think. Freedom needs boundaries to thrive and those boundaries guide your improvisation.
For a dance example, a “main idea” could be: work mainly on what you do with your hands or concentrate on changing dynamics all the time, or make all big and expanded movements. The thing with that is that as soon as you pick your “main idea” you can concentrate on doing only that.
The same goes for any page in your website.
Begin by defining one big proposition for that page that will guide the rest of the elements.
For example: this about page you need to write should mainly express how personal and unique is your crafting, or how approachable you are. Or maybe it should highlight a specific part of your professional experience through the years.
With that main idea in mind start writing, even if it’s only isolated ideas and sentences for now.
Start imagining how you’ll reflect that proposition in your copy, but also in your imagery and in what kind of information you decide to include.
If you follow this path then your whole page, from the first headline to the last call to action, will help support your main idea, even if you’re not sure how it’ll turn out yet.
So… what is the unique main proposition you want to communicate on the new page you’re crafting?
2. Start small.
When you improvise you don’t necessarily need to know where you’ll end up (you actually don’t ever know that).
You can start small. Just one little hand movement. Then the hand will make your whole arm move, and then your arm starts going to a place you didn’t expect and suddenly your hips turn that way and your legs follow… And you’re dancing.
This technique will have you writing your page as if you were writing a letter, in a linear way, where each idea follows the previous one.
Think of a friend that could be in your target audience, even if it’s imaginary, and write him or her a letter where you present yourself.
Tell this friend what you want her to know about you and think about you.
Walk him through your unique story and offer. Let him know why you could be a good match and motivate him to join you.
When you finish you can go back and use the letter as a basis to structure and design your page. It’s a great way to figure out what you want to tell and to do it with your authentic voice.
Want to be 100% sure your website is ready for your visitors? Download our Ultimate WordPress Website Checklist now for free.
3. Or start with a big structure.
Sometimes structure is your best aid.
On some days, the dance teacher may say: “I want you to start slowly, with small movements, then expand them, then start interacting with another person, then go back to just yourself with small movements, and finally find a way to get your sequence a closure”.
To have a rough idea of the big picture is like having won the first part of the creative battle. While the smaller details are uncertain, there are milestones that will need to happen anyway.
You may not know exactly what you’ll say in your about page, but you may know you want to introduce your services, your team’s members, include a description about you and have a call to action to contact you.
Line up that structure.
Sketch it on a paper. With big rough shapes and lines, it doesn’t matter at this point. It’s all about lifting up the pillars of your page and visualizing a clear map on your mind, so you can then fill up the gaps and work on the details.
Pro tip » If you’re working with one of our themes, you can quickly build your page with your theme’s modules. And then start filling the blanks, finding a conversational way to connect the different parts.
4. Just start.
When you give a kid a paper and a marker, she won’t stare at the paper for too long before she comes up with an idea of what to draw. She will immediately start drawing, whatever it is.
The same happens with improvisation. You have to start. And once you start, everything you do (whether you move or if you don’t move) is already part of that improvisation.
So just start.
Starting is the only way to let ideas the chance to appear. Starting with whatever shows up in your mind gives you the chance to explore something until you squeeze it so much you find out it’s not good or you end up making it good.
Good and bad ideas will present, all of them necessary for better ones to born.
It doesn’t have to be your best performance, because you can come back and re-do it as many times as you want. But if you don’t start, you may not even give the chance to your best performance to appear.