When you want to find a particular product or service, what do you do?
If you’re like most people, your first port of call is the internet. Your website is often the first introduction of your business to the consumer, so it’s vitally important that it’s easy to read and navigate. Online attention spans are short and if the customer can’t find what he wants to know on your website or can’t understand it, he’ll quickly click off and go elsewhere.
There are copywriters who specialise in writing web copy, but if you’ve decided to tackle it yourself, here are some important tips to keep in mind.
1. Think about the purpose of your website.
Is it to sell goods or a service, increase knowledge or awareness? What are the benefits of your product to the customer? Who is your target market i.e. the people most interested in your product? What do you want them to do on your website? For example, call for a free quote, sign up for your newsletter, phone to speak to a consultant etc.
This information will help you to focus your writing on relevant points
2. Research the keywords relevant to your business.
Keywords are the words or phrases that people type into the search engines when looking for a product or service. There are many free keyword research tools available, such as Google’s Keyword Tool. Include the main keywords on your home page and in your headlines, to ensure search engines can find you.
3. Create compelling headlines.
As in all advertising headlines are vitally important. They catch the reader’s attention and make them want to read further. Start headlines with phrases such as ‘How to… What everybody ought to know about… How to get rid of…
For example: HOW TO HOUSETRAIN YOUR DOG IN TWO DAYS
WHAT EVERYBODY OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT HOME LOANS
4. Write for the customer.
It’s always about the customer, so keep their hopes, fears and concerns in mind when writing your copy. Use ‘you,’ not ‘we.’ List the benefits of your product or service, rather than the features.
Features are all the different components of your product or service, such as turning up on time or a 100% money back guarantee.
The benefits are what’s in it for the customer. For the features above, the benefits are that the customer is not wasting time waiting for you to arrive and if they’re not happy they can get their money back and not be out of pocket.
5. Use Testimonials
Testimonials from satisfied customers are the best way to back up your claims about your product/service. The more specific they are the more authentic they sound.
‘Miracle acne cream cleared up my skin in a week!’ J.B., Sydney
Is not as believable as
‘Miracle acne cream cleared up my skin in a week!’ Jacinta Brown, 18, West Ryde, Sydney.
6. Provide a clear call to action.
Without a clear call to action you risk the customer leaving the site without doing anything. Give clear instructions on what you want them to do – call for a quote, put their name and email address in the contact form for a free e-book etc.
Give incentives for the customer to respond now, rather than later. For example, a free upgrade, free shipping and handling, two for the price of one before a certain date.
7. Use simple clear language.
Long words, jargon and convoluted sentences turn potential customers off very quickly. Write as you speak with simple, conversational language.
Short paragraphs are easier to read and a good rule of thumb is one thought or point per paragraph. Sub-headings and bullet points also help to break up the text.
Re-write and copy-edit.
You’ll almost certainly write too much in the first draft. Leave it for a day or two, come back to it with fresh eyes and cut out unnecessary words. Then don’t forget to copy-edit – check for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Chances are you’ve still missed something. Give it to a trusted friend or colleague for a final critique.
Thanks to Bernadette Schwerdt from the Australian School of Copywriting for her kind permission to use materials from the Copywriting – Writing for Profit home study course.
This is an extract from my free e-book, THE DIY GUIDE TO KILLER WEB COPY. In this short, easy to read book, I explain the top tips in more detail and add lots of others. After reading this book, you’ll be an expert on web copy! Please feel free to email me and request a copy.
If you’d like to hire me to write your web copy, I’m happy to discuss your needs with you. Please email me or phone me on 0402 937 773.
Robin Storey is an Australian author from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She is a certified book nerd and has no weird hobbies or unusual pets.