I’ve already touched on how to make your website look a million bucks, but we all know that you shouldn’t just judge a book by its cover. Once in a while someone might read the words on your site, so how’s the copy coming along?
One thing I’ve noticed a lot since developing websites is that often the most common issue is the order of information.
There’s too much detail up front, and not enough preamble.
Relax a little will ya?
Sometimes your client will be coming completely cold to your website. It might have taken courage for them to get to this stage in the first place, so you don’t want to frighten them off.
Jumping in at the deep end with details on why you’re great at x or have y before they’ve had a chance to work out that x and y are both a) good things, and b) exactly what they need, is going to make them scurry.
You know what it’s like when you have a stomach twinge and Google it to make sure it’s not appendicitis? You want to go through the scenarios first – is it right or left side? Is it an ache or a tingle? You want to do a bit of exploration. You don’t want to be given the surgeon’s qualifications and procedure details just yet.
Here’s how to sort out your ‘information architecture’.
Consider the following:
Who’s visiting your site? ie, who’s your ideal audience, the people you really want to attract. What are they like? What are their main issues? And how can you solve them?
How will most people get there? Is it through a Google search, an introducer, a friend or through something you’ve posted on social media? It might be a combination.
What’s the objective of your website? – to reassure people who’ve been recommended? To talk to people who don’t know you at all? To maintain a close relationship your current clients? To filter out unsuitable ones? Again, it might be a bit of all three, but this will help inform the flow.
Once you’ve got that sorted, you can create the copy:
1. Turn features into benefits
Translate what you do into what you can do for your client. Make it personal. Identify with them, their problem and their situation, and show that you’ve solved this before (by including case studies).
2. Use straightforward language
Write how you speak, in the present tense, and use active rather than passive sentences to make the copy more engaging. Don’t be afraid of ‘the cat sat on the mat’ when it comes to simplicity. But don’t make it too bland! The odd emotive word will add colour.
3. Make it scan-able
Use helpful, informative headers and short paragraphs and sentences. But as above, don’t make it too staccato – feel free to vary the pace with the odd longer sentence once in a while.
4. Avoid repetition
Try not to repeat the same content more than once. But bear in mind that your client could land on any page at any time, so don’t leave out key info either.
5. Address your reader
Use the word ‘You’ instead of ‘client’ and ‘us’ for you and your team. It’s more conversational and informal than the third person.
6. Avoid jargon
Look for alternative ways to describe industry terms or acronyms. Then they won’t feel uncomfortable about not knowing things.
7. Think about search engine optimisation (SEO)
Include the key words you think your target audience are likely to use when they search for you in Google.
8. Include links and a call-to-action
Encourage visitors to move through your site by adding links and references to other pages. But also, make it really easy for people to get in touch with you no matter what page they’re on.
Show it to someone else before you go live to make sure it flows. Make sure there aren’t any typos.
Of course, you could make the whole process a lot easier by engaging with a copywriter. Among other things, they’ll be able to see your content from a client’s point of view, so all you’ll have to do then, is work out how to manage so many new clients from your snazzy new site!
Talk to me if you’d like help.