Copy is king. Despite what you may have heard.
Yes, a picture paints a thousand words, and video is key to killing it across social platforms, but well written copy converts!
It’s also often the most meaningful and impactful way to communicate with your audience (of prospective and existing customers/clients), whilst firmly establishing your brand voice, across the entire marketing mix.
When it comes to your business’s website however, crafting your copy carefully is crucial to driving users towards conversion.
That’s right! Big, beautiful images and informative videos are simply not enough, and effective website copy could be all that stands between your website and the sales/lead generator it should be.
So, get writing!
Here are our 5 steps to better website copy.
1. Identify your potential readers
Before you put pen to paper, it’s imperative that you identify your potential readers.
Who are the customers of your products/services?
Who will be visiting your site and reading the copy?
Perhaps your business sells to a range of different customers?
Here a just a few examples of the way this information should inform your website content, and help you appeal to your audience.
Example One: A business selling industrial machinery to both large manufacturing plants and smaller start-up productions, should be weary of using highly technical, industry-specific jargon, to ensure the language doesn’t alienate the less experienced customers with smaller productions.
If the user doesn’t understand your copy, they’ll likely visit the website of a competing business who considered their copy more carefully, losing you valuable conversions.
However, a business offering professional services to other businesses, for example, could weave more industry terminology through their copy to great effect. While both parties likely share the same industry vocabulary, using specific terminology in the right way can help to communicate credibility and expertise.
Audience insight can also help to inform your content, helping you strike a balance between detail, and bumph.
Example Two: If this same business providing professional services were marketing webinars, to deliver the value of their services in the digital space, the copy of the landing page associated with the event might detail the software that the course leader will be using to deliver different parts of the course, or programmes that the delegates may be expected to use.
This is helpful detail. Detail the reader might need to make the decision to convert.
However, the website of a local electrician serving residential homes wouldn’t need to include the brand of cable they use in the copy. This information isn’t useful to a potential customer in need of an electrician.
The quality of the service would be better conveyed in a different way, such as a guarantee or even customer testimonials. Both of which could help guide the user towards the conversion point.
Think about your user and write to appeal to them.
Which brings me onto the second step in our 5 steps to better website copy.
2. Inform the heck out of your reader
All too frequently, businesses fail to communicate what they do, who each of their product/services are for, and what the benefits of them are, rendering their website an often attractive but useless shop window.
Mystery was a marketing technique reserved for the likes of Bowie. Your business is not David Bowie! This is 2021, the age of brand transparency, and businesses need to inform their readers to generate conversions.
Now you’ve established who your different audiences are, the trick here is to forget what you know (your accumulated business experience), just for a second, and ask yourself two important questions:
- What does the user know when they land on your site?
- What do they need to know in order to convert (or take action)?
Detail is everything, but the skill is in finding the fine line between clear website copy that can be digested quickly and easily, and leaving no question your user may have unanswered.
Become your website’s visitor!
While the two questions above can guide you in the right direction, drilling down into each one further is essential if your copy is to generate conversions.
For home pages, “about us” pages and team pages, consider:
- Have you articulated the value your business provides, the problem the business and its products/services solve, and for whom?
- Have you communicated your experience and credibility?
- Have you exposed the ways in which you’re different, or those things that give your business the upper hand in your market/industry? Why should the user choose you?
- Does your team page copy really sell the amazing skill set and expertise of your staff members?
- Does your copy position your business favourably?
- Would a user land on your site, read your copy, and know they were in the right place?
- Does your copy provide the information, and establish the trust required to guide the user through to your products/services page?
For product or service pages, consider:
- Who is the product/service aimed at?
- Why do these individuals need the product/service?
- What are the benefits of the product/service?
- What are the main features of the product?
- What does the service entail? Break it down!
- What makes the product or service different? Expose the unique elements.
- Have you effectively communicated the value your service delivers?
- Does your service page effectively communicate and establish confidence in your expertise?
- Does your page copy include all the information a user would need to make the decision to convert?
Use these points as a check list for now, until the process becomes more natural. Remember, become your reader, and give them everything they need to click and convert!
The third of our 5 steps to better website copy is where this all comes together.
3. Maintain a consistent brand voice across your site
Another key attribute of quality website copy is consistency of voice.
Whether or not your style guidelines are officially documented, the voice of your brand is something you’ve started to develop, whether you know it or not.
Written website copy, blogs, social media posts, or email newsletters? Then you’ve lent a voice to your brand. The trick is, to ensure it’s the right voice, and one that remains consistent, whatever the platform or marketing vehicle.
This isn’t the time or place to delve into brand voice too deeply, however, if you haven’t carefully considered this crucial part of copywriting, then now is the time, before you begin filling your site with written content.
The goal is to develop a voice that reflects a consistent, positive image of your business, helps to position you within your industry and market, and one that can be recognised over time, across the entire marketing mix.
Not be confused with “tone”, your brand voice is your business’s consistent, unchanging, character/personality, and the lasting impression prospective and existing customers/clients hold of your business. Tone is the emotion with which you write, and this may can change per audience or piece.
How would you like your business to be perceived?
For B2B businesses, you might think of words like authoritative, practical, and helpful. These words are not only traits commonly associated with businesses of this kind, but characteristics that can be clearly translated over to website copy.
Other B2B brands may opt for more of a bold, humorous, and in some cases contrarian voice. There are no textbook right and wrongs, only what is right and wrong for your specific business and audience.
In most instances, the voice of your brand shouldn’t be your personal voice, however for B2C clients like the electrician example we used previously, using a more relaxed, conversational style, utilising colloquial terms, might work well.
Whatever voice you develop, ensure it remains consistent across each page of your website.
Help drive this home to your reader with our fourth of 5 steps to better website copy!
4. Formatting and flow
Just as striking the balance between detail and easily digestible copy is key when writing your content, the formatting of each page is a crucial way to pace out your copy for the reader, and a means to lead them to take the desired action of the page.
To ensure your page can be well optimised for search, we recommend 500+ words per page, though we have produced results for clients with between 350-500+ words.
Fear not! There’s no need to compromise on your glossy images. By creating different page elements with two columns, you can space out your written content, with accompanying images or videos beside it.
Keep your conversion points clearly in the mind, as you format your copy.
On your Home Page, for example, if the first section of copy mentions your services or products, you could add a button to this section of your website at the end of the paragraph, before your copy continues below in a second page element.
Similarly, at the end of your page about a particular service, you could add a button to a related case study, helping to not only create a pathway for the user through your website, but to offer further reasons to convert.
Businesses with physical stores might include a button on their product pages that takes the user to a section of the website that provides store locations. Alternatively, these businesses might include ecommerce payment elements at specific points on the page.
Think about pathways through the site, and the conversion process for your user. Think about how you can provide the clearest, most direct route to conversion, whilst also using your different kinds of content across the site to help generate them.
And just like that, copy that converts at your fingertips! However, to really make your efforts pay, explore the final stage in our 5 steps to better website copy.
You might offer the highest quality products or services in your field, but if prospective customers/clients can’t find your website, they’ll never know.
Optimising your copy is the difference between a tumbleweed website site and the silent salesperson it could be, so get optimising, and wave on the organic traffic.
SEO is a broad topic, and one too mammoth to cover here, however, we covered a simple optimisation process in our recent blog “The Many Benefits of Blogs”, which will apply to WordPress website pages as well as blogs.
These rules will apply to websites built on different platforms too, however the tools and location of certain page elements will vary.
Optimisation all starts with Key Words/Terms, the search terms your prospective customers/clients might use in search to find your products or services.
These terms are central to crafting effective website copy.
Before you begin writing copy for each page of your website, do some research. Insert different related search terms into Google, and see if businesses like yours appear in the results.
Assign a key term to each page of your website, and ensure this term is weaved through your copy in a natural way.
Once you’ve done this, you’re most of the way there.
Click the link that we shared to our blog, above, and scroll to the final section of the piece to complete the optimisation of your newly crafted website copy!
There you have it! Our 5 steps to better website copy.