Expert copy writing has the power to raise your website from average to extraordinary. Strong words will draw in readers, converting them from random visitors to customers.
A large part of my business is re-writing static website copy and taking it from drab to fab. My job is to draw in new customers and expertly describe a company’s goals, products, services, and philosophy. A few days ago one of my clients pointed out that I’ve been harping on about how important social media is for small businesses without once mentioning the foundation which all of that is built upon: the static website. It’s time to remedy that error.
Your website can be beautifully designed and offer amazing products or services, but if it doesn’t connect with your readers, it can hold back your growth.
So how do you know if your copy is any good? If it elevates your products and helps make a sale? How do you know if it Wows?
Below are traits of good copy writing, in my opinion. This is by no means the be all and end all of website copy writing, but if you keep these qualities in mind while reviewing your website copy, you should have a good idea of where you stand.
When writing copy, make sure to consider what the intended outcome is. If you don’t know what you want to achieve with your words, then you can’t tailor them to clearly express your objectives and achieve your end goals.
To achieve effective writing, consider the following: Who are your customers? What can you offer them? What have they come to you for?
Copy can come across in a variety of ways: conversational, professional, authoritative, etc. Make sure it is consistent across the board. Switching tones throughout the site will be off putting to readers and can lead potential customers to feel hesitant about your site.
This also applies to the narrative mode you choose — either write using the informal (I, me, we, our) or the formal way, using only the company name. Do not switch back and forth or your readers will feel like they are getting virtual whiplash.
Do not hide your message behind clever words and riddles. You want your message to be as clear, upfront, and brief as possible. You do not have your readers’ attention for an unlimited amount of time. Waste no words.
What is on your site should not solely be about selling your product or service. It also needs to help your readers decide if you are what they are looking for. This means you have to really think about what your readers want to hear from you and what will cause them to purchase your product or service. You may think 1,000 words on your professional past is interesting and will help sell your business, but what will your readers think?
Keep the attention span from waning by using techniques to engage your readers. This can include breaking up text with white space, pictures, bullet points etc. Keeping the tone conversational is an effective strategy, as is peppering your copy with questions posed at your reader. You do want your copy to engage, don’t you?
Call To Action
Don’t assume readers will hire you or buy your product without holding their hand. Simply talking about your amazing service is not enough, you have to have a visual call to action: install a buy button on the side or a scroll bar with your products visually displayed. Make it easy to purchase so the customer doesn’t have to do the work.
This strays from the topic of the static website, but it’s worth mentioning that more people will read your static copy if you also have evolving copy (aka a blog). The more new content you have, the more interesting your website becomes, and the more readers you will attract.
There is obviously no magic formula to producing perfect website copy. If you ignore all that is above, keep in mind this last rule:
Write For Your Customer
Write with your ideal customer in the back of your mind at all times. Write so that they will find your content easy to read, engaging, and persuasive.
What do you think? Did I give a good start on the benchmarks of effective website copy? Did I miss anything you consider to be extremely important? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
p.s. I have a guest post up at Design*Sponge today on using a blog to grow your business. Check it out.