Want to know the #1 request I get from clients?
“Will you re-write my website content?”
Most people are completely perplexed by writing web content. They’ve taken a shot at it, and it’s not performing. Is this you?
You know the importance of outstanding content. You’ve seen it on other websites. And yet, you’ve tried to tackle your website’s content on your own. Hang in there. It can be done. But if you’re going to take a stab at it, you need the right tools first.
Let me help by offering a few tips.
Tip #1: Be conscise. But give enough information too.
This isn’t the place to publish your first novel. Give readers just enough information to reel ‘em in, help ‘em scan, and most importantly, get to your main call to action (CTA), usually to buy or schedule an appointment. Here’s what I do to prevent my copy from being wordy:
I make an outline—and stick to it!
I look for passive voice and switch it around to make it active.
I delete repeated words and sentences.
I scan the copy for the word “that.” Do I really need it?
These are just a few tips that make your copy read better, but ultimately, some of this is subjective. Ask yourself:
What information do I need to sell my product or service?
What can I share in a meeting instead?
How does my content differentiate my business?
Once you’ve published an initial draft, the good news is you can always go back and revise and edit. Use analytics to discover the pages that perform the best—and the worst.
Tip #2: Address your reader (you)
Forget what your high school English teacher said. Third person doesn’t work well on the web. Stick to first and second person in your web copy. It keeps the content conversational, approachable, and makes your brand more enticing. Try to focus on your reader first by using second person (you) even more than first person (I, we).
Tip #3: Put the most information first.
Back in journalism school, we called this the “inverted pyramid.” I studied this model back in 2003, and it still works today. You have just a couple of seconds to grab your reader’s attention before they navigate away. Put the best information first. Keep your CTA high on the page.
Tip #4: Write for search engine optimization (SEO).
You’re not just writing for customers, but you’re also writing to get Google’s attention. Either work with a smart SEO vendor to get a list of short and long tail keywords, or use Google’s keyword planner to research keywords. You’ll want to weave these keywords into:
Headings (h1, h2 , h3)
The first couple of sentences on pages
The key here is to avoid sounding like a robot. Work keywords into copy naturally. This takes time and practice, but you can do it.
Tip #5: Write for UX (yup, humans).
While you’re busy adding keywords throughout the copy, don’t forget to write for humans. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of user experience (UX). Think about your reader first and how your copy can help them achieve a task or solve a problem.
Aside from being clear, concise, approachable, you’ll want to:
Keep your copy consistent in its messaging. This is especially important when giving directions.
Use clear, actionable sentences, especially in CTAs.
Avoid long paragraphs of copy.
Apply bullets and lists to help readers scan.
Remember mobile. Make it short. And then make it even shorter.
Think about your customers’ questions. Then answer them in the copy.
Once you’ve applied these 5 tips, keep a close watch on how your site is performing. You can evaluate your web content by looking at the bounce rate (% of people who left after visiting a web page). I also look at conversion goals. Did people sign up for my email list? Start a live chat? Submit a form? If so, my content is working.