Imagine the scene: You’ve just built yourself a fantastic new house with more bedrooms than we’ve had hot dinners.
From the outside, it looks fantastic and you couldn’t wish for a better design. Yet on the inside, the walls are damp, the furniture’s rotten and the place looks like something featured on DIY SOS. Not exactly a place you’d want to spend much time in.
Nick Knowles wouldn’t stand for poor copy – so why should you?
Well, the same applies to your website. It’s all very well investing a fortune in a shiny new website. But without clear, concise and user-focused content, it all counts for very little.
Persuasive web copy is key to helping your organisation achieve all of its marketing goals. And with our top five tips to write sparkling web copy, you can begin winning more customers quickly.
1. Don’t write on a whim
Unfortunately, writing great web copy isn’t quite like writing a New York Times Bestseller. If you do decide to fly in cavalier without a planning process, your site will read more Jeffrey Archer than J.K. Rowling. Remember – we’re looking to enchant the customer, not bore them to death.
Never start writing pages for your website without a thorough planning process in place.
Here at Coast Digital, we always look to gain an in-depth understanding of the product and audience for each specific page a client asks us to write. Even if you’re writing your own copy, this is something you can do too.
Take the time to establish the very basics that will help you tailor your copy to speak uniquely to your audience. Consider things such as:
- What’s the page for?
- What is it aiming to achieve?
- Who is going to be reading it?
- Why should people be listening to you and buying your produce/service?
2. It’s not about you
Once you’ve answered some of these questions, it’s important to begin thinking about how you’re going to make your copy persuade the reader your product/business is right for them. When you’re doing this, it’s vital you put them at the heart of everything you write.
Yes, your product might be the best thing since sliced bread. Yes, your business may have lots of employees all over the country. But let’s be honest – do customers really care about any of that? What they want to know is what they can get out of you.
Writing web copy that sells is all about putting the customer first. Using the questions you’ve answered above, you can do this in a number of ways:
- Think about how you’ve answered your brief questions
- Look to convert all of your answers into benefits for the customer
- E.g. if your product has a unique feature, how will that help them?
- Does your product/service save your customers money? If so, tell them how!
We’re not on about Gene Simmons – great copywriting is about keeping it simple, stupid!
When someone visits your page, they’re not looking for a graphic novel. They want to scan your page and access the information they want as quickly as possible. You can achieve this by ensuring your page is slick, simple and as easy-to-read as possible.
It’s pointless having a website that loads in half a second if it’s going to take a visitor two minutes to find what they want. Always keep your copy scannable and digestible, ensuring paragraphs aren’t much longer than four lines a pop.
As a brief template for a product page, consider the following structure:
- Sharp, clear and relevant heading
- Short sub-copy introducing the product and how it can help the customer
- Five or six bullets listing the products key benefits
- Brief closing statement reinforcing benefits – no more than a few sentences
- Call to action
4. Optimise naturally – because you’re worth it
SEO isn’t dead – in fact it’s very much alive and continuing to evolve. But in order to help aid your page in organic search rankings, don’t try putting anything out of the ordinary in your copy to try and out think the search engines. It will only end in tears.
If you’re writing relevant content on your page aimed at human beings – not search engine bots – then you’re halfway there.
Using targeted keywords is still an important part of the optimisation process, but never try to force them into your copy. Google and co. will see straight through you and potentially hand out a chastising spam penalty. Some helpful notes for using keywords in your copy:
- Try to do your keyword research before you begin writing
- If possible, look to incorporate them into your heading and sub-headings
- Don’t crowbar keywords into sentences – if they don’t make sense, then take the keyword out
- Never completely saturate your copy with the same keyword
5. Check, check and check again
In the same way great copy can attract new customers, poor copy can keep them away.
Grammatical errors can erode away the credibility of your website in one fell swoop. With a recent study revealing that 59 per cent of Britons would not use a company that had obvious spelling mistakes in their online copy, it’s vital your writing is as accurate as possible.
Online grammar checkers such as Grammarly and White Smoke are great to help you iron mistakes out, but there’s no replacement for the human eye. Let as many other people proof your work as you can find for maximum peace of mind.