Your website copy matters more than you know and learning how to organize and write website copy that will attract and convert is a coveted skill. For many of your potential customers and clients, the first glance at your website home page is the first impression they get of your business. That should be a scary thought if you have not carefully crafted the message found there.
On the other side, if you are concerned about being found through an internet search on, let’s say, Google, you should care very much about the keywords and structure on the website page. You write website copy for the human visiting your page as well as the “bot” that crawls the code because the “bot” from the search engine is assessing the user experience based on certain patterns in the copy on the page.
I hope this isn’t daunting, because it shouldn’t be. If you organize and write your website copy on good principles of marketing, sales, and good-old person-to-person communication best practices you should be okay.
Let’s take a closer look.
Organize and Write Website Copy Projects
Start with Your Ideal Customer/Client
If you haven’t already created a profile of your ideal customer or client as part of your business marketing plan, now is a good time to do it.
Let’s call it a buyer persona. You may have more than one, but let’s walk through your primary buyer persona. Who is it? Gender? Age-range? Social status? What are their core values? What are their life experiences? And most importantly, what problems are they facing that you might be able to solve?
Make an Outline
First, list the pages of your website. Don’t over-complicate this step. Write down the key areas you think you would have share about your business. You may end up combining topics or separating content into two pages, but you don’t have to decide right now. It’s the start.
Typically, there is a Home page and you might have any of the following as well: About Us, People We Help/Serve, Our Services/Products, and Contact. Obviously more complex businesses will have many more pages.
The Intent of Each Page: Keyword
Believe me, this step is very important. For every page I ask myself, what is the question my buyer persona will ask or type into a search engine that would bring them to my page for the best answer? Now what is the keyword of that question? Here’s a hint, it is not always the name of your company or the name of your service/product. In the home services trades, this is likely a simpler answer.
You may want to do some research on which keywords would be best to use. Choose one that is used relatively frequently (good search volume) and is perhaps not the most competitive word on the market for your industry. (Read more on keyword research.)
You want that keyword to have some prominence on the page and in the copy. This makes it very clear that you offer what someone is looking for at the end of that search AND it will make it clear to the search engines as well.
The Response Desired from Each Page: Call to Action
Most website owners will think this is obvious saying, “I want the website visitor to buy now or schedule now. Duh.” Well, yes, I would place that prime Call to Action on every page in the header bar or footer, but what about those calls to action to engage your visitor with download offers or an opportunity to sign up for a free service or assessment? If you don’t know what to offer just now, let his simmer and go ahead with creating copy.
What to Write: Bring the Website Visitor into a Meaningful Story on the Home Page
Too many websites contain copy that basically mirrors the old-style brochure copy rehashing the dusty “who we are” and “why we are great” flow. Don’t do that.
I like what Donald Miller of StoryBrand fame says about the three questions that the homepage must offer the visitor in order to pass his “grunt test.” You know, even a caveman could understand it.
- What do you offer?
- How will it make my life better?
- What do I need to do to get it?
Miller suggests that you invite the visitor into the story that they can live with your brand. You can learn more by reading one books or visiting Storybrand.com
Whatever you do, organize and write website copy that will grab the attention of your visitor where they are emotionally when they visit. They are looking for something, usually the solution to an external or internal problem. Touch them there where they hurt and take them through the experience of solving the problems with your help.
Writing Website Copy Well
Finally, here are a few thoughts on how to write the BEST copy you can. Each point is as good for style as it is for search engine optimization.
- Write short, simple sentences.
Busy people don’t have the attention span to track long, complex sentences. Long sentences slow your reader down and they’ll skip to something “more interesting” in the blink of an eye.
- Stick to active voice.
Writing in active voice sounds more authoritative and is, frankly, more interesting. Active is when the noun-object does something. Passive is when the object has something done to it. “Mary read the paper.” vs “The paper was read.”
- Show, don’t tell.
Be descriptive and tell a story. Copy that tells is something like, “Our firm is the best in town!” Descriptive copy says, “When people need help, they turn to our agency because we’ve been rated by City Newspaper as “Best of the Best.” Or “Nine out of 10 of our clients double the results they get after just three months using our services.”
- Drop the jargon.
Acronyms and professional jargon don’t help sell your company or service if the reader has to look up the works. Besides, they won’t look it up, they will just stay mystified and read on or skip to another website!
- Mix up your word choice.
Mix up the way you use and order your language in general. Don’t start successive sentences with the same word. “We do…, We offer… We deliver… ZZZZ” Don’t use the same old verbs either. Mix it up with power words and active nouns.
- Make text scannable.
Shorter sentences help make text scannable, but so does breaking up long paragraphs and adding sub header titles. Number or bulleted lists are helpful as are bolded words and underlined text. Don’t go wild and make your copy look junky though.
Next Steps to Organize and Write Website Copy on Your Own
Now it is your turn! Get some white sheets of paper, a sharp pencil and start using the old school method of thinking through your buyer persona’s needs and desires, mapping out your pages and keywords, and have at it! Please let me know what you encounter!