You might think that poorly written copy or typos scattered about a web page are no big deal, as it’s all about the products, images and videos — but did you know that such basic errors can result in bounce rates as high as 85% and millions in lost sales?
People just don’t like sloppy copy, and mistakes in what you write on your site can leave an incredibly bad impression of your business: that you don’t care enough or make the effort to have professionally written articles, blogs and product descriptions.
Not everyone can write well, for sure, and if you find that that’s you or that no one in your company can meet your writing needs, you can always outsource the task to the skilled writers at a digital marketing agency.
Online, content remains king, and the written — or typed — word is what people most want to see — it gives them the information they need in a clear and hopefully easily digestible way. If you’re handling the content for your website and doing the writing, here’s how to write website copy that sells.
1. Know Your Audience
It’s no good writing blogs and other material for your website if you don’t know who you’re writing for.
Who are the people in your target audience, and what are their general details?
You need to consider their age, gender, education level, income and problems.
To make your copy engaging, you have to address the people in your market as best you can and take into account all of these — and possibly more — factors.
Then you can write copy according to your audience’s ability and help to solve their problems and concerns with the products or services your company offers.
And you need to get the tone right.
If you’re a B2B company selling professional services to a certain sector, for example, and you write your web copy and blogs in a chatty, too-casual way, it’s probably not the best — your existing clients and potential new ones will expect your writing to reflect the professional nature of your company and products or services.
So in that case, more formal would be better. Equally, if you have an online shop and you’re mostly selling to young people, stiff and overly formal language will most likely turn them off, and away, to another online store.
You need to relate to your audience — especially with the tone you address your readers in.
When you’re learning how to write website copy that sells, it’s important to keep one overarching aspect in mind: make sure your writing speaks directly to your target audience.
It helps to imagine you’re writing for one or two people who match your buyer persona because this is how your copy will come across as relatable and of interest.
2. Write Crisp, Clear and Snappy Copy
The online world is full of websites — almost 1 billion, and counting — stuffed with all kinds of copy; some of it is great, but a lot of online copy is poor-quality and not engaging.
It can often be stuffed with cliches and hackneyed sayings, be convoluted and not get to the point, offer an answer to a problem but never actually explain what the problem is and be full of typos and, equally maddeningly, stuffed with keywords.
All of this can make for a deeply frustrating experience for website visitors, and it’s one of the main reasons why Google continually updates its core algorithm — to weed out sites that don’t invest enough in creating top-quality content and reward those that do. It’s good for the reader, Google and the website owners because it’s all about delivering a great online experience, starting with the words you type.
Anything that’s packed with industry jargon is also likely to be a huge turn-off, and if you have to use technical terms, as least explain what they are, instead of just using baffling acronyms that many of your readers might not understand.
Just like with quality journalism, always assume your reader doesn’t know what you’re writing about — even if they do — and explain everything.
And don’t forget to keep your sentences relatively short — attention spans are fleetingly brief online — and separate big blocks of text with subheadings that will give the eyes a rest.
Add images, videos, graphs and infographics to make your blog posts and other content more visually appealing, but don’t overdo it, or you’ll risk cramming too much into one space.
Infographic via: rayedwards.com
3. Be Original and Authoritative
Having a voice online and attracting visitors is not an easy task due to the sheer volume of content on the internet crying out for attention.
That’s why, when you’re writing copy that sells, you need to be as unique, original and authoritative as possible — it means writing what you know about, as an expert in your subject matter.
With authoritative copy that gives insights into your industry, you’ll not only attract more traffic but also get links from other sites that will use you as a source for the articles they write. This will have the big benefit of helping to increase your online visibility and giving you a boost in search engine results pages — the more sites linking to your site, the greater and more authoritative it is deemed to be.
Plus, you can expand your social media reach and followers by sharing your top-notch content on your various channels.
One word of real caution, however: never be tempted to swipe other sites’ copy; it’s a massive no-no and, actually, intellectual property theft. And Google will penalise your site for lifted web copy. (You may also attract ranking penalties if you copy your own copy across your site; each page must have unique content and not be duplicate copy.)
Instead, if you want to use something from another site, ask them for permission first, and either use a quote and attribute it, with a link to the site — good, honest and respectful online content creation practice — or paraphrase and mention where you got the information from.
Being credible with your content is incredibly important, and your visitors will thank you for it.
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4. Optimise Your Copy for Search
Whatever kind of copy you create for your website, you need to get it seen. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The best way of attracting people to your content is to optimise it for search engines.
This means using specific keywords to your subject that are currently being searched for online; you can use any number of keyword research tools online to get the right keywords for you.
The aim is to match your copy with what people are searching for, using the keywords they’re typing into Google and other search engines.
But don’t overdo it, cramming as many keywords into your copy as possible is an old and frowned-upon practice — it makes pieces look weird and is a black-hat SEO practice that will do no favours at all in search engine rankings.
Another element to optimising your copy for search is to write a page title and meta description, a summary of what the article, post or page is about.
This is what people will see when the webpage appears in search results, and it will give them the snippet of information they need to decide whether they should click through or not. Compelling meta descriptions result in more traffic to websites.
Additionally, make sure your copy has a call to action (CTA) somewhere in it, like at the end of a blog post.
You want the reader to do something, and ultimately have them become a customer — the path to getting there might be to subscribe to a newsletter, fill out a contact form or call you for a free consultation.
Whatever it is, you need to include it in your copy, so you get conversions and value from your creations.
Infographic via: coschedule.com
5. Proofread Your Work
After all your hard work in creating website copy that sells, you don’t want to fall at the final hurdle, with seemingly innocuous errors and typos that could have big and disastrous consequences for your site, conversions and sales.
So give it the once-over, or even go through it twice, to check for composition, grammar, punctuation and everything else, including making sure that any facts you mention are, in fact, facts, and you’re able to back them up.
Better yet — ask a colleague, or even a friend, to check your copy for you; a fresh set of eyes are often best.
Now that you know how to write website copy that sells, your sales are bound to soar.
Make sure the website you’re placing your awesome copy on is fully functioning and delivers an outstanding customer experience — helping to generate increasing levels of conversions and sales — by getting your free website and marketing review from the experts at Exposure Ninja today.