You need an effective and interactive website to support your business. But you slap together copy for the site – based on an old brochure, perhaps – and check it off your bulging to-do list. Or you keep putting it off, because you realize, correctly, that website copywriting is not as easy to do as you initially thought. Sound familiar?
Here are some thoughts based on my experience writing lots of web copy:
- Your site has to be focused, with a primary purpose. Have ONE thing you’d really like most visitors to do – Buy a product. Join a community. Make a contribution. Almost everything on the page should lead visitors toward deciding to take that primary action.
- Your story has to be told with one voice. Don’t hide your personality, show it in the words you use and the ideas you express. Stick with a single style and voice that reflect you and your business – and what your visitors trust. You wouldn’t expect the website of a military contractor to sound like the site of a chain of bakeries, would you?
- Get rid of distractions. It’s been proven that if you give your visitors too many choices or confuse them, they will simply leave your website! People behave differently online – they scan, they’re impatient. Aren’t you?
- Provide useful information. The more specific, the more useful. Give them the information they need in order to act. Make sure people know what your site will do for them.
- Focus on benefits rather than features. Don’t tell your visitors how great the product or service is; tell them how it will improve their lives – and use examples of how it improved someone else’s life.
- Make it personal and direct. Write conversationally. Shorter is better. Sentence fragments are OK (Yes, really!). Write for the reader, not your ego. Be direct, beginning to end. “The best way to grow tomatoes is …” Not “My name is John, I’ve been an amateur gardener for three years, and I created this page…”
- You live or die by your headlines. Remember, people skim and scan. So use powerful and inspiring language. Then divide up your copy with subheads, to provide breaks and a visual roadmap to your key messages.
- Include your credentials. Most web surfers believe that most Internet sites are out to rip them off. Show that your experience and training make you qualified.
- Try writing your own website copy. But if it doesn’t work, don’t worry. Hire a professional web copywriter. It’ll be worth it. You’ll get the job done quickly and well. And you can focus on growing your business in the ways only you know how to do.