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5 Tips to Writing Better Website Copy

Nearly all your communication roads lead to your website. Relationships with your clients and customers may have been sparked by a digital ad or social media post but, in a massive number of cases, they’re solidified on your website. This begs a big question; is your audience comfortable when they get there? A positive brand impression is invaluable – especially if it’s someone’s first real interaction. And that impression is usually made within the first 10 seconds of their arrival. How your website is written plays an enormous factor in how your brand will be perceived and how effective it will be at converting prospects to customers. Let’s walk through 5 simple – though, not necessarily easy — ways to bolster the copy on your website.

  1. Know who you’re talking to.

    Unfortunately, many websites stumble before they even get to the starting gate. Why? Because very little has been done to truly understand who their audience is. Most organizations have a general idea of who they sell to and service – often by way of rough demographics. However, a simple stroll through your neighbourhood will reveal that “women, aged 25-54” didn’t all come off the same assembly line. Developing User Personas can be a great exercise to help you understand who you’re talking to. You’ll delve into how they spend their time, what they do for fun, what they find entertaining, even other brands they surround themselves with. This can all be very effective in helping you shape your word-choice, writing style, and tone of your website’s copy.

  2. Be clear. Be concise. Remember, you’re on the clock.

    When writing a website, it’s always wise to keep in mind how quickly you tear through the sites you visit. Yes, as captivating as we may find our own service or product offerings, the audience’s attention is fleeting. A study done by the Nielsen Norman Group found that visitors read, at most, 28% of the words on a webpage. And, interesting – though predictably – that number drops lower as the word count increases. Use your words wisely. Those who say the most may be heard the least.

  3. Let the benefit drive.

    “So what’s in it for me?” is the key question your website needs to answer. Maintaining a benefit-focused approach is crucial; especially on pages or sections where the copy is of an introductory nature. Your visitors want to know how you are going to make their life better. That’s not to paint a picture of your audience as a completely self-absorbed, self-entitled segment of society. It’s simply recognizing that they’ve arrived for a reason and want to understand how your solution suits them. An old adage always provides some communication clarity: “People don’t want ¼” drill bits, they want ¼” holes.”

  4. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation.

    Make your website a personal interaction. Write it almost as if you’re having a real conversation with a fellow human being. Remember, someone arriving on your website isn’t so different from a customer walking into a store or a neighbour dropping by for a visit on the front porch. Explain, in real language, why they’ll like what you’re offering. Feel free to use personal pronouns like “your” and “your”, too. That can make your visitor feel much more comfortable than being addressed as something impersonal like “our customers”. It’s a subtle difference that can have a big impact.

  5. A few facts will go a long way.

    Now that we’re focusing on the benefits in a conversational way, let’s not leave out a few facts to help seal the deal. Skepticism is also a natural and healthy trait among us humans; so the quicker we can quiet the doubts, the better. Generally, the finer details – and fun stuff like technical specs or installation instructions – may be served up as the visitor delves deeper into your site. But you can earn some positive reassurance with a reputable fact or two that supports your benefits. A nicely designed infographic or even a testimonial quote can provide your visitor with the confidence that keeps the conversation going.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a website. The product or service being offered is going to include varying demands on copy and content and, as mentioned, the people reading your copy will have varying tastes. But by remembering a few communication fundamentals, your website can quickly become a lot more engaging.