You may not realise it, but an average website has a surprising amount of copy (written words) presented throughout each of the pages. Every page needs to be written in a concise, clear, and appropriate tone to your target audience, and this takes some time. It is also not something that can be easily outsourced (like design elements for example), as you are the one who knows your business best, and it should be your job to get the copy and messaging right! Below we talk through the 7 steps to great website copywriting:
1. It’s Up To You!
What you write on each page will have the influence to either attract or repel your visitors, therefore having a direct impact on your website’s success. This is why it is key that you are intimately involved in the copywriting of your site, as specific words and phrases will either give confidence to your customers, or place questions in their minds. Yes, you should have a friend or two proof-read your copy before publishing it, but the initial task of writing and directing the copy and key messages should be one you tackle yourself.
2. Who are Your Customers?
Knowing who you are selling to will dramatically alter how you present your copy and what style of ‘voice’ you will give it. For example, a young fashion website targeting 17-25 year old women will have a vastly different style of writing, use of vocabulary, and overall different feel, than a corporate firm targeting senior legal professionals. Knowing who your customers are, and how they expect to read your copy, will help you get your words more on target.
You may start out thinking your target market will be a certain group of people, and then find that you actually get more traction with a different demographic. One way to test the key headings and copy of your landing pages is by split-testing them and sending traffic to 2 or more versions of your landing pages, and seeing which page gets the best results.
3. Sell The Benefits, Not The Product
Customers want to know what’s in it for them, so tell them! Instead of listing off all of the features and specs of the product or service, it is often better to focus on the benefits – what does this particular product or service really give them? For example, you’re not just selling children’s toys, you’re selling peace and quiet for a few hours a day to the mum who needs it. Emphasise the benefits over the technical specs (include these but with less emphasis), and you’ll find the reason ‘why’ people are buying. This is truly powerful information.
4. Make it Simple and Succinct
Attention spans have shrunk around 50% in the past decade, and only 4% of pageviews last longer than 10 minutes. Like this paragraph – keep it succinct and to the point!
5. Linear Progression & Obvious Steps
Have you ever been to a website, tried to purchase, and then gotten lost on the way to the checkout page? Unfortunately it happens all too often. Designing a clear and overly obvious path to checkout is key to converting the greatest possible percentage of visitors into paying customers. I highlight overly obvious here – if your mother or grandmother couldn’t navigate your site and make a purchase, it may be too complicated. Make your buy buttons large, calls to action clear and obvious, and show the customer the steps (and which step they are currently on) to completing their order.
6. Be Keyword Relevant
Search engines will send their spiders to ‘crawl’ your site’s pages and look for relevant keywords to determine what each page is really about. Keep this in mind when writing your copy; you should have primary keyword targets for each page, and these keywords should feature in your copy, page titles, headings, names of images, and within the first and last paragraphs of each page. This will help with both your organic SEO rankings, as well as your Quality Score when advertising on Google AdWords. Make sure you’re not just writing for search engines though – real people have to read these pages and get value from them too!
7. Develop Compelling Headlines and Page Structures
A headline or key heading will either grab attention and spur further reading, or turn off the customer and result in them clicking elsewhere. Try to write compelling headlines that entice the customer to read more, without sounding too salesy or spammy.
Having a good page structure will also encourage further reading. Ever wondered why list-style blog posts are so popular (e.g. this page!)? It’s because the information is easy to digest, readers know what to expect, and each of the points has a main heading that can be read and understood without having to read the whole paragraph. It’s about simplicity and convenience through formatting your information into easy to digest bites.
Great website copywriting doesn’t have to be a chore – have fun with it, be creative and let your website’s personality shine through! Your customers will thank you for it by paying you more frequently!