Creating a website for your business is no small task; on the road to the site of your dreams, there are countless design trends to consider, consumer pet peeves to avoid and SEO pitfalls to sidestep. (Whew.) But before you dive headfirst into your next site design process, you should understand what differentiates websites that are as effective as they are beautiful, from those that are just pretty and on-trend.
Spoiler alert: That critical differentiator is your website copy – the method by which you share the story (and value!) of your brand. Effective copywriting, however, is more than just storytelling. If you want to create website copy that converts, you need to engage your visitors.
So, how do you do that?
Consider the purpose of each page
Before you type a single word, the first thing you should do is ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this page?” Do you want someone to learn about who you are? Or perhaps you want a visitor to download a whitepaper? Determining the focus of a page will guide you through the copywriting process; and if a page doesn’t have a clear purpose, that should be a big red flag and a sign that you need to go back to the site-planning drawing board.
Be direct and action-oriented
I consider myself to be a fairly smart gal, but when websites are tripping over themselves with expository paragraphs – because they’re too polite to get to the point and tell me what they want me to do – I get confused. In fact, when it comes to websites, I need a bit of hand-holding.
If you want someone to download a case study, say so – don’t bury a subtle hint of link three-quarters of the way down a page. Also, use action words and phrases where you’re looking for a visitor to, well, take action.
“ Register for our webinar today.”
“ Download our eBook.”
“ Contact us for a free assessment.”
In short, using vague language is a quick way to muddle your messaging and turn off visitors.
Format your copy to be easy on the eyes
Fun fact: The visual presentation principles you should keep in mind when blogging also apply when writing website copy. This is because visitors to your site will be skimming your page to quickly determine whether or not the information you’re providing is (a) clear, and (b) relevant to their interests.
Embrace bullet points, headings and subheadings as tools to break up what could otherwise be an off-putting, intimidating wall of text.
Optimize for people first; feed the robots second
If you’re looking to score SEO points, it’s good to know that Google and other search engines scan the copy of your pages to determine the relevance of your site for would-be search engine users. But good copy isn’t defined by its usefulness to robots – it’s defined by its relevance to people. That means when you create your copy, write for people first and then optimize, as necessary, for robots.
Remember, SEO is what helps you get found, not what makes people convert once you are found.
Proofread, proofread, proofread!
No matter what it is, if you’re going to write something, write it well. The quickest way to turn off a potential lead is to erode your own credibility by being sloppy with grammar and spelling. That means you should take one last glance at your own work to ensure a sneaky typo or rogue homonym error didn’t slip through the cracks before you hit “publish” on any page.
If you take only one lesson away from this blog, let it be this: What you say on your website is just as important as how it looks; design only serves as a complement. So be sure to put the same amount of time and care into creating the content for your website as you do into crafting its look and feel.