Website Content - Copywriting Guide
We’ve now covered the site layout. Now we need to look at what information is going to go onto each page.
Your copy is your website’s sales person. Your website’s ability to successfully communicate with your visitor is an important part in the conversion process. Writing is not everyone’s strong point. If you feel you need help in this area, feel free to contact us and we will refer you to a professional website copy writer. Below are some general guide lines to follow when writing your website’s copy:
Write with your target customer in mind
Who is your target customer? Are they young or old? Progressive and vibrant or conservative and analytical? High or low income? What are their values? What inspires them to purchase or enquire? You need to write in language that connects with this person. Imagine you’re having a conversation with this person, and think about how you would relate to them -what you’d say and how you’d say it.
Write for your customer, not for yourself
Too many websites structure their whole language around themselves. For example “we are a such-and-such company, established in 1999 providing such-and-such services.” This type of copy doesn’t speak to the customer. Replace the word “we” with “you.” For example “Are you an “X” type of person? Do you have “Y” type of problem looking for “Z” type of solution? This type of copy gets the reader saying “yes” as they read. They need to feel like they are convincing themselves you’re the right company, instead of you just saying a bunch of things about yourself.
Write in terms of benefits (what’s in it for me)
Instead of just saying what you do or what you sell, focus on the benefits your products or services give people. For example, a landscape gardener doesn’t sell plants and retaining walls and plans. They sell time spent relaxing in the garden on a summer’s day, enjoying time with family and friends in beautiful surroundings. See the difference? Think about what your products or services really do for people, and focus your copy around these benefits. E.g. An insurance broker sells peace of mind, not insurance policies. A tour provider sells a fun, stress free holiday experience, not tour packages.
Search Engine Friendly Copy
Keep your text key word rich
Search Engines read text to decide what website is relevant to what search terms. The higher the frequency a word is used on a website, the more relevant a website appears to the search engine. Make sure you use any opportunity you have to use the main search terms in your copy. Example for a lawn mowing company:
Bad Search Engine Copy: Bill and his team work locally, providing services to both residential and commercial properties.
Good Search Engine Copy: Bill’s Lawn Mowing is a lawn mowing company located in Hastings, New Zealand. We provide lawn mowing services, including lawn mowing, gardening, and section clean ups. We offer both residential and commercial lawn mowing services.
Note the main search terms like “lawn mowing” “lawn mowing company” “Hastings” and “New Zealand” are being used regularly.
Make sure they ACT!
All your copy must be geared towards the visitor taking the desired action, whether that be filling in an enquiry form, purchasing a product, downloading a free trial etc. The best way to get a visitor to do these things is to ASK! Once you have addressed their fears, concerns, and questions, they will be in a place where they are willing to make contact or purchase. Remember, people reach this point different times. The decision to buy or make contact may occur on the home page or any other page on the site. For this reason it is important to prompt them with highly visible phone numbers, contact forms, buy now’s, and by asking them to contact you or purchase directly in the copy.
One of the basic principles of copy writing, is to draw the visitors attention to a problem they have, get them to really focus on that problem, and then show how your product or service can solve it. If you think about it, most visitors arrive at your site because of a problem.
You are a mechanic. Think about what kinds of problems customers have when they come to your website. Then think about how you could raise these problems with your customer. Finally, think about how you can solve these problems for the customer.
They’ve had a bad experience with their old mechanic = “Tired of having work not done right first time? You’ve come to the right place! All our work comes with an unconditional 6 month guarantee.”
They don’t want to pay too much = “Are you paying too much for repairs on your car? We commit 100% to our quoted price so you’ll know what you’re looking at before we start.”
Think about what problems your customers have when they come to you. Outline these problems in your copy, and then show how your product or service is exactly what they need to get rid of this problem.
Use Captivating Headlines
Headlines are the first thing a customer reads when they arrive at a page. The objective of a headline is to get people to KEEP READING! This can be done by asking a question, creating curiosity, using humour, making a bold statement, outlining a key benefit etc.
Remember the Conversion Pathway
All the while, you need to keep in mind where you are trying to direct the customer. What step are they on in the conversion pathway? What action do they need to take on the page?
For a plumbing business, the first question the customer wants to know is “do they work in my area?” The second is “do they provide the services I need?” The home page’s first paragraph should cover the areas they service, along with an image of a map. The second paragraph should have a list their main services with links to the services page. The home pages goal is to get them to the services page, the next step in the conversion pathway.
Research your competition
The best way to get ideas for effective copy is to research your competitors websites. As you’re reading take notes of ideas or things they have done that impress you. They will give you ideas on good copy writing, effective headlines, conversion pathways, topics to cover, the structure of the website, page layout etc.
Test and Measure
When you first start out in business, you haven’t necessarily got the formula exactly right first try. Any good business is always refining their systems, processes, and products to improve their results. The same goes for your website. We recommend installing Google Analytics, which allows you to measure the performance of your website. It will tell you:
About Your Visitors:
- How many visitors your site is getting
- How they are arriving at your site
- What geographic areas they are coming from
- How long they are spending on the site
- Are they a returning visitor
About your Traffic:
- What keywords people are using to find you
- What other websites are referring visitors to you
- What search engines you are being found on
- About your content:
- How long your visitors are spending on the site
- How long your visitors are spending on each page
- What are your most effective pages
- What pages are people leaving the site most often from
This information will allow you to compare the results of a page before you made a change, and the results after you made the change. Are more people filling in the form? Are they spending longer on the page? Are they clicking onto the next page in the conversion pathway? Etc
A website has the potential to be a valuable marketing tool for your business. Now that you’ve read the above, start implementing the ideas we’ve shared as you develop your strategy, conversion pathway, and write your content. We also highly recommend you have a look at the rest of our 'results' section. This will give you ideas on how to drive more visitors to your website. Good luck!