I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I love the energy buzzing around us when we enter a new year. It motivates us to improve our businesses and the rest of our lives. It forces us to commit to doing better, pruning bad habits, and moving closer to our ideals. It fuels us enough to get over the holiday slump.
In this post, I propose 8 simple tasks you can do to improve the copy on your business website. They’re easy copywriting tweaks you can make to get better results from your site.
Your website needs to communicate effectively within the first 3 seconds a visitor lands on it. If all you have is your business name and logo, they’re not likely to be enough for your visitor to decide if they’ve reached the right place. A tagline can reassure visitors if they are, indeed, your target customers.
Don’t have a tagline yet? Start with your elevator speech. If you’ve crafted a good elevator speech, you can use a condensed version of it as your tagline. This post gives a useful formula for writing your elevator speech.
Valuable home page space is wasted by saying “Welcome!” In fact, one famous copywriter once told us, “If your home page says, ‘Welcome,’ I am going to crawl through this telephone line and wring your neck!”
A better way to use that real estate is to write a headline that makes your visitors a big promise. Ask yourself, “What’s the biggest, boldest promise I can make to my prospects.” Use the answer as your headline, and you’ll grab your visitors’ attention and get them interested enough to read the rest of the content on your site.
Most of us spend way too much time — and use way too many words — talking about ourselves: what we do, how great we are, how we got good, etc. All our visitors are interested in is what we can do for them. So talk about that instead.
And prove it. Cite specific results you’ve achieved for your clients/customers. Paint a picture of the better life your customers can achieve by using your product, service or program. This post on features vs benefits may be helpful.
The Internet has changed the way we human beings read. Because the computer screen (or smart phone monitor or tablet screen) is harder on our eyes, we cannot comfortably read long blocks of text. We’ve also become a lot more impatient, wanting to access huge chunks of data in shorter amounts of time.
If you want your site visitors to hang around and read what you have to offer, make it easy for them. Deliver content in small, digestible, scannable chunks. Speaking of scannable, it’s also a good idea to…
Sub-headings, bullets, and numbered lists make it super easy for your website visitors to quickly skim and absorb the content you offer. They’re good signs of when you’re discussing distinct topics, or condensing your most important points. Forget about writing long essays.
This is advice that’s easily misunderstood. Do I mean you should write as you talk, with all the slang, colloquialisms and even swearing you normally use?
That depends on who your target reader is. If you’re writing for a B2C website, you’ll want to use the exact language your target customers use too. Swear if they swear and are completely comfortable with it.
However, if you’re a B2B company, you’ll want your website to reflect the type of language you and your sales representatives would use when speaking to prospects. Most of the time, this wouldn’t necessarily formal, but more like business meeting-casual.
It’s tempting to come up with witty headlines, sub-headings, and article titles. Resist that temptation. Use it sparingly and, even then, make sure that precious wit is completely understandable to your target market. Wit can earn you advertising or marketing awards; but they won’t help you make sales.
Strive, instead, to be clear. Use the language your prospects use and are comfortable with. Write in short sentences. Yes, even if you’re a genius. You’re not writing a PhD dissertation, you know.
What do you want your reader to do after consuming your web page? Subscribe to your newsletter? Sign up for a free demo? Call for more information? Whatever it is, go ahead and say it. Don’t assume your readers know, or will be able to figure it out. Don’t make them think.
Which of these improvements can you do immediately? Which ones will take a little more time and effort, and possibly even the assistance of another person?
Let me know in the comments below, so I can give you additional tips or resources.
Image by stockerre
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional, content manager at Mirasee, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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