Nobody wants a website that doesn’t convert, so why would you cut corners when it comes to writing your website copy? After all, it’s no secret that your website copy can drastically affect your SEO efforts. Add to that brand loyalty and consumer buying decisions, which can be directly influenced by the words on your page.
According to studies by Nielsen, the average page visit lasts a little less than a minute, with users reading only a quarter of the text on the pages they visit. The evidence is clear – you only have seconds (some even claim fractions of seconds) to grab your readers’ attention and guide them toward that all-important conversion. It may sound like a challenging task, but we’re here to help – here are 20 ways you can level up your website copy.
Before you write:
Know who you are writing for
You’ve got to know the customer – this is the first rule of content marketing. However, it’s a rule that many brands don’t follow. Developing customer personas takes time and effort – plus, it’s not a one-off deal, and it’s easy to get wrong. So how do you do it?
Hootsuite sums up a buyer persona in a nutshell: “A buyer persona is a representation of your target audience. It’s not a real customer, but a fictional person who embodies the characteristics of your best potential customers.”
Your buyer personas should give you a clear signal of who your ideal customer is and the reasons that would make them choose your brand over another. When you get it right, this is powerful stuff, allowing you to pinpoint customer behaviour, motivations, values, tastes, interests, and aspirations.
Some people create multiple personas (or personae if you’re into the whole Latin thing.) Our recommendation (stolen shamelessly from data visualisation guru Andy Pemberton) is to keep it singular – choose ONE customer persona. That will enable you to focus your message precisely on your target customer.
Do your keyword research
Keyword research may well be the most important part of your content marketing strategy. They form the road map for your online marketing. The keywords you use make it easy for people to find your site when searching and help Google better understand what your website is about. When done right, your site will rank higher in search engine results pages – exactly what you want.
But how do you build your list of target keywords? There are plenty of tools out there – free and paid – that will guide you towards the right keywords for your content and campaigns. Our favourites include Ahrefs Keyword Generator and Google AdWords, as well as SEM Rush and Moz. One tip – prioritise long-tail keywords and those of low difficulty with good search volumes to make the most out of your keyword research.
Bullet point your key sections
Before you jump into writing, I recommend roughly planning and bullet pointing your key points and sections for each page, blog or article. Although this structure may not work for everyone or every website, these bullet points will double up further down the line as subheadings. Subheadings will not only ensure your writing stays on track and to the point, but they will also enhance readability and make your copy scannable.
Now, get the ball rolling:
We have established our buyer persona (we only do one) and know what we are writing, but as we begin to put fingertips to keyboard, we must remember who we are writing for. Our copy needs to be conversational. Avoid sounding robotic or impersonal and use “you” and “your” instead of “he”, “she”, or “they”. Speak directly to your audience in the tone of voice that’s right for them, and they are more likely to take a chance on you and your business.
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Keep it human
This leads on rather closely from our last point – be human. I doubt your customers are all also experts in your field or niche. Therefore, avoid using jargon, obscure acronyms, excessive punctuation or anything that may act as speed bumps for the reader. Readability is key here – as it is on our next point too.
Make it scannable
Do you remember that all-important stat from the beginning? With only seconds to grab your readers attention, your website copy must be scannable. A person on your site should be able to skim over the contents on your page and find what they are looking for without having to slave away, reading long and monotonous paragraphs. Consider using subheadings, bullet points, and even visuals to break up your copy, make your page seem more appealing and overall, enhance user experience and readability.
Benefits over features
Don’t just state the obvious and tell your customer what you can do. Show them how you can and will change their life. Today consumers aren’t looking for bigger, better, faster, or stronger. They need and want to solve a specific problem. Forget the long list of specifications. Show customers that you know what they need by framing their questions and explaining how your product or service will benefit them. Remember your persona? That’s who you’re talking to.
Use quantifiable facts
I don’t know about you, but I love to see the facts and figures – and so will many of your customers. Don’t just tell them about the results. Show them – and be specific. For example, write ‘website visits from search increased by 206%’, rather than ‘website visits increased.’
Inject your website copy with action verbs
Conversion is action. Articulate Marketing hit the nail on the head here. If you want more people to buy, subscribe, or contact you for more information, don’t wait until the call to action to bring it up. Injecting action words throughout your copy will make your reader envision doing or achieving something with the help of your business. A few of my favourites: launch, drive, create, innovate, grow and explore.
Don’t faff about with hyped or cliched marketing language, such as ‘couldn’t get any easier’. Be direct and concise – leaving things to the imagination won’t work here. Don’t waste my time – you’ve got to answer my question or tell me what’s in it for me without beating around the bush.
Get to the point
And similarly, it’s a good idea to start with the most crucial information first, even if it’s just a brief introductory sentence to give readers a taste of what’s to come. Your customers are more likely to read on if they like the sound of that crucial first sentence. You’ll also find most only recall the first or last thing they’ve read, so take advantage of that too.
Write with SEO in mind:
Integrate your keywords
You didn’t spend all that time researching those oh-so-important keywords for nothing. Integrating your keywords throughout is essential. As a rule of thumb, unique keywords should be employed on each page of your site in the areas that bots and humans typically look to reassure them that you have what they’re after, says Moz.
This rule covers the most obvious, your headline and body text. However, make sure you’re working your keywords into your URL, meta tags, and alt attributes of images on the page; all of these places will help tell search engines what your content is really about.
Use keyword Synonyms too
Integrating keywords can sometimes be less successful If your website copy falls victim to keyword stuffing. Using keyword synonyms will boost your SEO ranking efforts, according to Cognitive SEO, allowing you to cover all bases.
Write enticing meta tags
Meta tags are an important but often overlooked element of your website copy. Meta tags impact how your site appears in the SERPs and, thus, how many people will be inclined to click through to your website. Ensure meta titles and descriptions are powerful enough to make a ripple on the SERPs – they could be the reason a potential customer chooses your website over another.
Use internal links
You’ve got to think of your website as a map – your users enter on one page, but there are infinite routes and decisions they could take from there. Internal links are an excellent tool for helping customers along the way by suggesting other content that they may also find helpful. By doing this, you increase site traffic and answer some of the potential questions that may arise and influence the final conversion – a double win.
Link out to (credible) experts
Another tip for SEO best practice, crediting or quoting credible sources, makes your content look more trustworthy and ultimately shows our audience that you know the industry and know what you are talking about. Valuable external links will help improve your website’s authority. In fact, they are one of the top ranking factors on Google.
Make social share buttons visible
You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your content. If they like what they are reading, the likelihood of them sharing the page, blog or article is probably quite likely too. So, don’t let your customers jump through hoops to do so.
And don’t forget:
Use clear calls-to-action
The most compelling copy paired with all the customer testimonials in the world won’t mean anything if your readers can’t figure out what to do next. The solution? A clear call to action. HubSpot defines a call to action as an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action.
Avoid using vague words like “next” or “continue” in your CTA because they don’t specify what a click will do. Instead, be specific and direct; encourage your readers to make that click with confidence.
A picture speaks a thousand words
For an enhanced user experience, include pictures throughout your website copy. It will make your page look more engaging and break up the text and make it more readable. As we mentioned earlier, finding ways to break up your copy into digestible chunks will ensure it’s a lot more accessible.
Write a compelling headline
And finally, you’ve finished writing and have chosen your images (there are plenty of royalty-free image sites out there if you’re stuck), your copy is ready to upload to your site. To make your time spent writing worthwhile, ensure you have a compelling headline. According to industry pioneer David Ogilvy, for every five people who read a headline, just one reads the body copy. Making a splash with your headline is a trick you do not want to miss.
Effective website copy can increase your traffic and ultimately boost conversions. If you need an extra helping hand, give us a call. We’re the web copywriter of choice for international online brands, SMEs and many of the UK’s top search agencies. We understand the precise requirements for good SEO copywriting and, in an omnichannel world, the importance of brand consistency across all your platforms. Want to know more? Get in touch.