It should go without saying that every business, no matter how big or small, should have its own website. However, you’d be surprised how often businesses think of launching a new site only as an afterthought. Almost half of small businesses (40%) don’t even have a website and another 28% don’t plan on launching one any time soon. That’s like watching a Star Wars movie without the opening crawl.
Having an online presence can be critical to the success of your business, no matter how niche you might be. It’s the easiest way for your audience to find you and it’s the perfect way to make a great first impression.
And while having a killer web design that looks great is important for your brand, your site won’t be effective unless your copy provides the right message.
What is Copywriting?
Copywriting is the art of using the written word to encourage or persuade an intended audience to take some type of action. You see it every day in the form of online ads, billboards and social media posts – anything that’s trying to get you to click, buy, subscribe, sample or vote.
Website copywriting specifically deals with:
- Welcoming your audience to your website.
- Offering your products/services.
- Asking them to take the next step.
Earlier when I referred to copywriting as an art, that’s a bit misleading. While it’s definitely a creative discipline, there’s still a whole lot of science that goes into website copywriting. Research shows that using specific language and strategy can improve your chances of successfully engaging with your audience by targeting specific emotions.
You can focus on positive emotions like curiosity, optimism, love, passion, altruism, serenity and justice. Or you can go negative with the seven deadly sins – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. There are strategies for each and they all work best with different audience types.
7 Basic Guidelines of Website Copywriting
Like most business strategies, website copywriting comes with its own unique set of basic guidelines that have been proven to be successful. By following these rules, you can craft solid copy that will help you keep your audience on your site.
- Headlines are always the first thing your audience reads. Make sure your lead-ins are engaging and interesting.
- Proper grammar is a sign of your professionalism. If you have typos, bad grammar or can’t tell the difference between YOUR and YOU’RE, you’re going to lose their trust and their attention.
- Clear messaging means you’re letting your audience know upfront exactly who you are, what you’re offering and how it benefits them.
- Persuasive language helps you convince them that you’re the best solution to solve their problems or improve their lives.
- Calls-to-Action (CTA) should be clear and direct. Don’t ask them if they want to buy your product. Tell them to buy it now before it sells out.
- Be direct and get to the point. Short sentences and bullet points help them scan and retain your information easier and longer.
- Work with SEO (search engine optimization) to help your audience find you, but don’t let it be the only thing driving your copy. Well-written and relevant copy is more successful than a poorly-written page stuffed with keywords.
The Most Important Pages on Your Website
While there are certainly times when single-page websites are effective (landing pages and sales pages come to mind), chances are your business is best served by a site that has multiple pages. But that doesn’t mean bigger is better.
The great Jedi Master Yoda once said, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?” Your website should only contain the pages necessary to persuade your audience to engage with you. That being said, some pages are definitely more important than others.
Home Page – Chances are this is the first impression you’ll make on your audience so it’s important to make it count. Your Home page should provide your customer with a clear, but brief understanding of who you are, what you offer, how they can benefit from working with you. And of course, you should include plenty of persuasive CTAs to guide them to the next step in their customer journey.
About Page – The second most popular page on any website is usually the About page. This is where your audience goes to learn more about you. More specifically, they want to learn about your origin story, company values, mission statements, and of course, the people that make the magic happen.
Contact Page – This is the ultimate CTA page. Think about it – the only purpose of this page is to convince your audience to reach out and open a dialogue with you, whether that’s by sending an email, filling out a contact form, booking an appointment through an app or going old school and calling you directly.
Other important pages include:
- Products/Services Page
- Blog Posts
- Portfolio Page
- Testimonials / Reviews Page
- Resources Page
- FAQ Page
- Terms and Conditions Page
By following the basic guidelines for crafting clear messaging, offerings and CTAs and creating the right pages, you help your audience find exactly what they need on your website.
To learn more about the fundamentals of website copy or to get help optimizing your site to provide better offers to your customers, click here to send me an email. I’m happy to help.
Until next time…