When it comes to writing for your website, your copy needs to be attractive enough to instantly get the attention of customers and engaging enough to keep them interested for long enough to do what you want them to do. Whether that’s buying your product, subscribing to your blog or signing up for your training course. Of course, some sites will not need to do this, for example, if you are offering a service that people are actively looking for, such as a route finder, movie information or the odds available on a major sporting event. However, if this is not the case, then you need to work hard to earn your audience.
Here are our top ten tips to make your website copy more engaging and effective:
- Don’t talk about yourself – your website should be about your customers, not about you. Don’t start every sentence with ‘we’ and don’t go on about how wonderful you think your company or your products are. The harsh truth is that people don’t care about any of that; they just want to know what’s in it for them.
- Use benefits, not features – a good way to achieve tip one is to always use benefits not features. ‘Next day delivery’ is a feature, ‘you could be enjoying this tomorrow’ is a benefit. Benefits are always more powerful because they are personal to the reader.
- Identify your audience – it is important to think about who you are talking to. No product or service is ever truly for everyone, even if it has a broad appeal. You will do better targeting your key markets with copy that is meaningful for them, rather than diluting your message to appeal to a wider audience.
- Speak their language – always try to avoid jargon or stuffy corporate speak, unless you are writing specifically for a business to the business audience. Write like you talk, as you would person to person, using words that your audience would use and will understand, and you will make a much better connection.
- Add brand personality – before you start writing, think about your tone of voice and make a few notes on how you will express this. This will help you to write consistently with the same tone and brand personality. Think about brands you like and what it is about their copy tone that makes their messages so appealing and instantly recognizable.
- Put yourself in their shoes – we’re all guilty of writing for ourselves, creating copy that we like and would appeal to us. However, it is important to read back your copy from the point of view of the intended reader and ask yourself how you would react to the messages if you were them.
- Be clear on your call to action – you cannot expect people to do what you want – buy/sign up/subscribe – unless you tell them what to do. Make sure your call to action is clear and that you tell them what to do and, just as importantly, exactly how you want them to do it – whether that clicks, call or something else.
- Give them a good reason to do it – people will only do what you want if you give them a good reason to do so, so make sure your unique selling points are clear and obvious. If you want to prompt a rapid response, you need to give them a reason to act fast, such as a limited offer or restricted stock.
- Don’t waste time on the obvious – there will be a number of things people will assume about your business, which are the same for all businesses in your sector, so don’t waste time stating the obvious. Tell people what is different about you and what you do that all the others don’t, or what you do better than the rest.
- Keep it short – this is perhaps the most important tip of all. People are busy, and if we’re honest, a little bit lazy and they simply don’t have the time or the patience to plow through huge blocks of text to work out what you have to say. The easier you make it, the more chance you have that people will read your copy. Break up long, intimidating paragraphs, use subheads for easy navigation and sum up the main points in bullets so the reader can scan to see if they are interested before they read more.
At the end of the day, we all use websites, so think about your own user experience when it comes to writing web copy of your own. What makes you want to read a website and what puts you off? It may seem like a big deal to create copy and content, but when it comes down to it, you are just one person talking to another person, so make that conversation count.