Writing copy for your website is a completely different kettle of fish from writing copy for a brochure, a workbook or even a blog post!
As I’ve covered in a previous blog post, the average time spent on a website is 15 seconds. That’s a whole 6 minutes and 45 seconds LESS than the optimum length of a blog post according to this article that states a blog post should be 1600 words or 7 minutes reading time long.
So if you’ve only got 15 seconds to grab someone’s attention and keep them interested, your website’s copy needs to be to the point, engaging and intriguing so they can’t help but delve further into your offering.
Craft a killer headline! How do you do this? Firstly, it’s about the reader, not about you. Why should they continue exploring your website? I’ve found the best formula that works here is to state:
What you do
Who you serve (and where if appropriate)
Why you’re different
If you can answer those questions in a concise and engaging manner you’re well on your way to getting them to scroll past the fold.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Take mine for example:
“Branding, website design and brand photography. A complete visual resource for small business”
WHAT I DO:
Branding, website design and brand photography
WHO I SERVE:
WHY I’M DIFFERENT:
”agency result, without the BS” – not many designers I know of can do the branding, photography and website for a business, which is what makes me unique.
If writing copy for your website is NOT about reams of information they need to wade through, how do you go about catching their attention quickly? You do this by putting the most important information front and centre and using simple, clear language.
Ensure your first headline conveys your main site goal
Use clear subheadings
Bullet points are great for conveying multiple points quickly
Use language your ideal client would use
Use images or graphics to convey a message instead of copy
Avoid repetition (unless it’s a clear call to action)
It’s also vital that you speak in the voice you would use if you were talking to that person face-to-face. The voice you use on your website forms a vital part of your brand. It’s important that you maintain this voice across all touchpoints, so keep it conversational and ensure you are speaking to your ideal client.
I touch on keywords in a previous blog post, but in terms of writing copy, it is vital you include your keywords. I’m going to assume you have read my previous post and researched your keywords, but how do you use them within your copy?
The biggest mistake people make is what’s known as “keyword stuffing”. Not only will this be instantly obvious to your reader (and a giant turn-off!), but Google also doesn’t like it and is smart enough to identify when it’s being done. Yes, you need to include these words throughout your copy, but do so naturally, making sure they’re relevant to what you’re talking about and beneficial to the person browsing.
Linking to other websites isn’t something I always recommend as you don’t really want people leaving your website. But in order to get people to where you want to go within your site, I find links to internal pages within your site can be great to help people find what they’re looking for.
Do you have blogs that expand on ideas within your main site? Or other pages with delve further into topics for those interested in reading more? Think about linking them. It can also help you keep your message concise on your home page as people can click through for more information if they need to.
Calls to action
The only place repetition is good on a webpage is in your Calls to Action. With the continued popularity of long scrolling pages, having CTA’s in between blocks of information is a good way to allow people to take the next step as soon as they’ve been convinced by your content they should, without having to scroll back to the top of your page, or down to the footer.
To break the monotony you can design these to look different, or phrase them in a slightly different manner.
It is vital that you proofread your copy and also have someone else do it for you. This is also a really good opportunity to identify ways in which you can shorten your copy, convey what you mean in fewer words and turn any long-winded paragraphs into punchy one-liners, or bullet points.
Another tip is to view your pages on your mobile Even a fairly short paragraph of text on a desktop will appear a lot longer on your mobile device. And with half of all people browsing on a mobile device these days, it’s important to consider this. Are people having to scroll down through pages of copy to get to the next section? Can you convey this information in a punchier, more visually appealing manner?
If you can manage to convey what you do and why you’re amazing, while all the time speaking to your ideal client, you will absolutely see results in your website’s conversion rate. It’s a difficult thing to do and takes time to get it right. But starting with an understanding of what you need to do will get you there a lot faster!