How to write great copy for your website
On almost every website project, the longest part of the process for the business owner is creating the content that will go on the website. You may think you know just what to say, but when it comes time to put the pen to paper, you get stuck. Why? Because writing about yourself is harder than writing about others. Expect writing your copy to take twice as long as you think it will.
Sometimes, writing copy can be more difficult if you are in the industry and your customers are coming to you because they aren’t in the industry.
Your customers probably don’t know your technical or industry specific jargon. The moment when you confuse someone with technical jargon, you’ve lost them as a customer.
Using a lot of technical jargon that the reader doesn’t understand won’t make you look smarter, it will only make the customer feel confused. And when has feeling confused ever resulted in sales? Don’t alienate your customers with language they don’t understand.
Use plain text, that your average person would understand, to get your point across and make the person needing your services comfortable.
Nobody wants to read your PhD dissertation, even if you have a PhD. If your copy is putting readers to sleep, it won’t convert to any sales. Your personality should come out in your copy. Keep it friendly in tone and conversational.
Pro-tip: Try reading your copy out loud to hear how it sounds. If it sounds stiff, it probably is.
People are scanners
Chances are, the person who landed on your website got there because they are specifically looking for what you offer, not because they clicked through on a funny cat meme. They are specifically looking for information and they will likely scan through the page looking for that information. Just because someone lands on a page, doesn’t mean they will read all 1200 words of content from top to bottom.
Yes, Google wants you to have long form content, but that doesn’t mean your readers will read it all. You need to make the content easy for scanning. What’s not easy for scanning? Long paragraphs of text.
Break it up and mix it up. Add in bullet points, headlines, blockquotes, photos, and charts. Make it easy to pick through the content and find what you need.
Answer your user’s questions
That means, what is the person who gets to your site looking for? What is the problem they are trying to solve? If you can answer the question people are asking, they are much, much more likely to take the next step than if you leave them wondering.
Let me share a story here. A few years ago, I had an issue with my roof. Well, kind of my roof but kind of the trim around the roof? Flashing? I’m not a roof expert. I wasn’t sure who to call. Do I call a roofer? General contractor? I started Googling and I hit upon a roofer and at the top of their website, it said in bold letters: We Solve Every Roofing Problem.
Can you guess what happened next? I immediately contacted them, because I had a question of “Is a roofer who I need?” and their website answered that question. And they got the job.
Answer their questions and they are more likely to move forward.
Put the most important stuff on top
Since people are scanning, they are going to see the stuff on top first… so make it the best. What are your most important points? What’s your unique selling proposition? Why is what you are offering better than everyone else? That goes at the top.
The less important stuff goes further down the page. If you can hook them at the top with great content, they are much more likely to keep reading down the page than if nothing appeals to them at the start.
Don’t forget to proofread it too!
I’m the first to tell you that I’ve pushed out a lot of typos in the years I’ve been blogging. It’s going to happen. You don’t have to spend hours pouring over ever comma and apostrophe, but you can take a read through once or twice.
Even better, let a friend read through it once with fresh eyes to catch something that you may have missed.
Remember, you aren’t carving your website copy into stone!
When you create a pamphlet or a business card, you may be printing thousands that you will want to use for a long time, but when it comes to the web, you can edit that copy any time you want! It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, perfect doesn’t exist There is good. There is better. And you can always, always improve.
Don’t hold off publishing your website’s copy until you think it’s perfect, or else you’ll never have your website done. Get it done, and come back later and revise. Revamp. There is nothing about your website that can’t change. In fact, updating your content has many benefits! Not only does it give you time to hone and craft your message, but fresh content keeps your readers coming back for more.
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