Not everyone likes writing. Not everyone’s good at writing. But that doesn’t stop gazillions of companies from getting their employees to write their web content, to… er, save money.
Often you end up with a hot mess of confused messaging, disjointed copy, and a tone of voice split seven ways to Sunday. And nobody, but no one sticks around when they’re baffled by blah-filled blurb.
If you’re up for the challenge, here are a few tips to prevent your website from falling into a black hole of mediocrity. Or worse, winning an award for corporate guff.
1. Spark Emotion
Fact: Websites packed with lifeless features, result in poor conversions. Instead, solve your customer’s problems. Tap into their wants, needs, and desires. How? By turning features into benefits. They’ll connect with you on a much deeper, emotional level.
Does the car advertisement sell the car? Or does it sell adventure, freedom, and prestige?
Does your product save time? Money? Single out the core benefits of your product or service and – sing it from the rooftops.
2. Buzzword Bingo
Would your website make for great buzzword bingo? Using complex or obscure jargon when something clear and simple will do, is a great way to turn off your readers (and annoy them). Why use advantageous when you can use helpful? Disseminate when you can use send?
Always choose everyday phrases over hype or technical language (unless we’re talking seriously niche). And write as you speak, because conversational copy is waaay more effective at turning interest into action.
3. Too Many Cooks
Give the job to one person who loves writing and knows the business well. Don’t chuck it at the entire marketing department and expect something good to come out. Committee-based writing? It’s the death-knell to website copy.
And getting five different people to approve it isn’t much better, either. People tend to make changes, just for the sake of it. And when that happens—uh-oh—your website ends up like a bowl of cold stew. Sloppy and indigestible.
4. Shrink or Stink
Complex, meandering sentences and haughty, long-winded concepts? Think they make you sound like an expert? Wrong!
Make like Ernest Hemingway and distil your message into as few words as possible. Brevity rules.
5. Against the Clock
Are you a skimmer? Most of us are. Attention spans are shrinking. Information is mushrooming. So keep your website succinct. Add bullet points and punchy headings. Replicate important messages. Spread liberally throughout.
Respect your reader’s time. Don’t waffle!
Your Best Website Yet
Website copywriting is tricky. But follow these tips and you’ll have a site that resonates with your readers, influences their behavior, and builds loyalty.
Invest as much time and resource into your copy as you do design and functionality. This will give you an online sales person, working hard for you 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
More than likely you’ll also lower your bounce rate and get a valuable leg up from Google; helping you reach even more of those prospective customers.
About the Author
Tam Henderson runs Gather Creative, a Cambridge PR and copywriting agency and has 14 years’ experience raising profiles for some of the best-known consumer brands and B2B organizations. You can follow her on Twitter @gathercreative.