How to Write Website Copy to
By Nikki Cooke
Does your web copy bring you a flood of business? Or do web visitors pass you by? In an ideal world, we hope prospects spend time browsing through our site, checking out each page and reading every word.
The truth is people:
- Scan web copy looking for points of interest
- Take seconds deciding whether to read on
- Click away if nothing catches their eye
Since your website is the face and voice of your business, it must perform for you!
Not only do you need to ensure search engines index your website... but your website copy has to attract a visitor's attention. And more importantly, persuade them into taking action.
Just how do professional copywriters hook an audience though?
Guide to web copywriting
Businesses often underestimate the importance of good copywriting when they are promoting themselves online. Yet, time and time again, they make the same mistakes.
After all, it's pointless having a website which looks good but doesn't say anything to your customers. To boost your response rate:
Keep it short and sweet
Short, punchy sentences are easier to read. If you stuff copy with flowery sentences full of jargon, you'll alienate your readers. Plain English gets your message across quicker. And ensures its not lost in a sea of words.
Remember to place your most important information above the fold. That's where the page stops, before you have to scroll down.
Always divide copy into short sections, using headings and bullet points. Ensure the first and last bullet points are reserved for key information. Remember that white space allows copy to breathe, encouraging browsers to read.
Keep it fresh
Have you updated your website lately? Or is it gathering dust? Google is introducing Caffeine, a new real-time indexing system. Soon Google will index the freshest content on the Internet.
Why should this matter to you? The short answer is that your website can't be static any more. You need to feed it with new information. Here's how:
- Create a news page and keep it topped up with your latest news
- Attach a blog to your site and regularly write posts
- Add new SEO articles or press releases
- Incorporate audio/video to your website
- Regularly update copy so it changes with the times
Engage with your audience
Nothing switches prospects off more than a business website which talks about itself more than its customers. Avoid the 'Me me me' trap by focusing copy on your prospects' problems and how you are the solution. Replace 'we' and 'our' with 'you' and 'yours.'
Your aim is to build a rapport with readers, draw them into your copy and make them feel at ease. When you engage on an emotional level, prospects are more likely to buy from you. So, incorporate emotional triggers in your copy. Show you understand the buyers' needs...
Incidentally, never start the first sentence on your home page with 'Welcome to our website.' Use the opportunity to hook your reader with a clear benefit instead.
Be a bossy boots
It's vital you tell readers exactly what you want them to do, by having several calls to action throughout your web copy:
- Give them choices in how to contact you. Phone, email, Skype
- Offer incentives: 'Order today and you'll receive a free...'
- Use plenty of command words: 'Call' 'Download' 'Join...'
- Create a sense of urgency: 'Order by 27th June and you'll...'
Be keyword savvy
If you want to be found online, you need to write for your customers as well as the search engines. Once you know what your key words are, you need to incorporate them into copy naturally - not stuffed into every sentence. The smart way is to ensure keywords appear:
- In headlines and subheadings
- In bullet points
- Early in sentences and paragraphs
- In meta, image and H1 tags
Spend time crafting your description meta tag. This is the text underneath the title link on a search engine results page. To get people to click through, incorporate keywords, a benefit and a call to action.
Just bear in mind you only have 150-155 characters to play with. (Including spaces) It's always better not to include your company name in the description tag, since you can write it into the title tag.
Now over to you...
Review your website. Check whether you are using these customer attraction techniques. What do you need to do more of? Why not ask an SEO specialist to review your website for you?
As you can see, there are many factors to consider before writing your website. The smart option is to commission a website copywriter who writes websites every day to get it right for you. Besides, outsourcing will save you bags of time and money.
Don't take any chances with your website. It's an investment - another employee - and must work hard for you...
Nikki Cooke is founder of The Word Well, a freelance copywriting and web design company based in Kent. Along with her web design partner, she provides a host of marketing services to small and medium sized businesses. When she's not knee-deep in copy, she can be found blogging away on her 'Copy Break' blog - or publishing articles. She's also a creative writer and poet...
Visit The Word Well at http://www.thewordwell.co.uk to find out more about Nikki and how she gets business words working. Or drop by Nikki's blog on http://www.thewordwell.co.uk/wordpress
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