Your Website Copy Is One of the Most Important Contributors to Your Website’s Success
From getting the right message across to your customers, to helping Google understand what your website is for, and even improving the design of your site, website copy can be key to boosting your website’s success, but is regularly overlooked.
Here’s why spending more time improving or updating your website copy is fundamental:
Website Copy: The Basics
Decide Your Purpose
What’s your website for? Are you selling products or services? Are you trying to get customers to sign up to your emails or newsletters?
Before starting, try and identify what each page on your website is going to be doing. Think about this:
- What is this page trying to achieve?
- How can I get readers to do what I want them to do?
- What sort of audience am I aiming this page at?
- How do I grab my customer’s attention?
If you’re not answering these questions, you could be spending money on marketing, ad campaigns, website designs, efficient sales funnels, all to get people to your site, only to drop the ball at the last second with poor copy.
Look at Other Websites for Ideas
Struggling to write interesting web content? Pick a big-name brand, look at their content, and see if something similar would suit your website. They probably have copy written by the best content writers around, so it makes sense to pinch some of their ideas. (Don’t copy it word for word though!)
For example, it only takes a quick look at Apple’s website to understand what they’re selling, what their products do, and how well they do it. In fact, Apple can advertise the main features of their products with a header alone. That’s some seriously good copy!
Keep in mind that some of these businesses are so big that it’s not as important for them to write a huge amount of content for their landing pages. They’ll write enough to market their products and ride on the back of their own popularity. You might need to explain your products in further detail.
Another option is to have a quick peek at what your direct competitors are up to. If they’re outranking you, or if their copy is good, try and identify what they’re doing that you’re not, and how you can do it better.
Show Off Your Business’ Voice
Are you formal? Are you fun? Are you classy? Identifying your voice influences how your customers view your business as much as the design, images, colours, and logo will.
For example, Brewdog describes its craft beers in detail, with descriptions about taste and the history behind the business, each recipe, and each product page even lists product specs about the beer. This caters for the craft beer geeks, which is their ideal audience.
- If you’re a lawyer, make sure to sound formal and professional, but also there to offer a helping hand for those going through a difficult or emotional situation. Aim to keep it helpful, understanding, and stress-free.
- Host kids science parties? Make yourself sound fun, friendly, and exciting, but remember that parents will want to know you aren’t going to blow up their kid in a freak chemistry accident. Reassure them you’re a safe place for their child to be.
- If you run a dental clinic, think about creating a calm, relaxing voice for nervous patients, but come across as knowledgeable and professional, too. Try to avoid specific, gory details about drilling into teeth.
It Boosts Your SEO
Google ranks your site based on what it can read. You can have the most beautiful pictures ever taken, the most flawless website design, and the most incredible website functionality, but bad text content will still hold you back.
Pick your target keywords before writing your content. If you know what you’re optimising for before writing, it makes the whole process much easier. Aim to drop these keywords into the copy naturally (about 1-2 per 300 words). Take care not to stuff it full of keywords; if it sounds spammy to you, it sounds spammy to Google, and it’s not worth risking readability and a Google penalty, just for the sake of an extra keyword.
Don’t be afraid to add a bunch of keyword variations to the page also. If you’re finding that your copy is starting to sound unnaturally keyword rich, rephrase them with different keyword variations. For example, let’s say you’re looking at a product page:
- My product
- How to use my product?
- Where to buy my product?
- How much is my product?
If you can get your chosen keyword in the main header, subheader, and first paragraph of the copy without sounding spammy, you’ll be off to a great start. Remember to add your location to your headers if you’re a local business, too.
How much content should I write?
Aim for around 500 words per page as standard. Google needs to read enough content to understand what your page is about, but your customers will be turned off reading large amounts of text. We’ve found 500 words to be the happy medium and recommend that amount whenever possible.
Remember to write for humans!
When writing optimised website copy, make sure it’s human-friendly. If you’re at the top of Google but your customers can’t make any sense of what’s on your website, they’ll leave. Google also uses the rate of people leaving when ranking your site, so make sure people want to stay and read it by writing awesome content.
Website Copy: It’s Getting Hot in Here!
HEY! Want to Grab the Reader’s Attention? Use Headers!
A big, bold, well-written header should explain everything you need to in just a sentence or less. Your header and subheader are the only two things your customer will ever read on each page.
When writing your headers and subheaders, think about the following:
- Are they explaining everything they need to?
- Is the brand voice set from the very beginning?
- Does it capture and interest your customer?
- Is it offering the information they’ve asked for?
As mentioned above, headers also have some SEO value when it comes to getting ranked. Google will look at the headers to identify what your page is about in order of tag priority. H1 tags first, then H2s, H3s, and so on.
So the perfect header would have the following:
- Information about the page content
- A keyword or keyword variation
- Eye-catching and easy to read content
- Offer the information your customer wants
- A mention of your location if you’re looking for local customers
Coschedule’s headline analyser
If you’re struggling to come up with good headlines, Coschedule’s awesome headline analyser can show you what you can do to improve yours.
Succinct Writing Gets Read
Web users skim read, so write content that can be skim read! That means that sentences should be no longer than two or three lines at a time and should supply the most important information first.
CAPITALISED, italic, and bolded text also helps to drag the eye towards specific parts of the content too. If there’s a significant selling point, make it stand out!
If you’re starting to notice long unbroken walls of text, bullet points are a great way to keep the flow going nicely too:
- They’re so easy to read
- They stand out from the rest of the text
- They give your reader a break from the wall of text
- They’re great for showing off product specs on your product pages
- They’re awesome for listing off the most important parts of your message
If you’re struggling with writing super punchy web content, the Hemingway app shows you how to make your copy flow. It’ll spot areas of the text that can be simplified, point out awkward sentences, and show other web copy no-nos like adverbs and passive voice — and the basic version is free!
Avoid We, Me, Us, and Our
These four words are a sure-fire method of losing the interest of your customers. People are coming to your website to find something that will benefit their lives in some way, so your web copy needs to focus on what they get personally — not just what you do. Take this phrase from an imaginary bakery for example:
“As London’s #1 cake decorating company, we’ve won awards for our delicious and beautiful cakes. We sell wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and can custom design cakes for all our customers.”
It’s clear what they do, but at no point does it reach out and connect with new customers. Despite mentioning their customers in the text, it’s not mentioning you as a potential customer.
After rewriting the phrase with this in mind:
“Looking for your ideal cake? As London’s #1 award-winning cake decorators, we can make your special occasion even better. If you’re looking for your ideal wedding cake, birthday cake, or custom designed cake, you’ll find it here.”
Your customers want to know what they can get from you. Aim to include them in the copy before they’ve even contacted you.
Use Internal and External Links
Putting internal and external links throughout your pages is a great way to help both Google and your web users navigate around your website, or to find other useful information elsewhere on the web.
Internal links are awesome for pointing your customers to other interesting areas of your website. For example, your home page should be pointing to your service pages, which then should point towards product pages or subcategory pages. Internal links get your customers from your landing page (usually the homepage) to the page where you can sell your products or services.
Google uses these links as a way to find out which content it should be indexing. By writing good anchor text that’s relevant to what you’re linking to, you’re telling Google what it’s going to be looking at.
“Find out how to promote your business with our Ninja SEO services”
Gaining external links from other sites is one of the best ways to get better PageRank too. Google assumes that since links from popular websites are so difficult to fake that it’s a good measure of a site’s worth, so it ranks it higher.
That’s not all though, popular and relevant bloggers or publications linking to your site give you a good source of traffic, income, and better authority online. If you want to know more, check out our Digital PR book: “The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing & Digital PR”.
External links to other sites shouldn’t be used too heavily if you want to keep your customers on a page. In particular, product pages shouldn’t link to other websites if you’re trying to get the customer to buy that product for example. That said, Google does like to see links coming from your site as it looks more natural that way. If you have a blog (and if you don’t, you should get a blog going) then this is a perfect place to put those external links.
Get Your Customers Moving with Flawless Call to Actions
You’ve got traffic coming in, you’ve got your customer’s interest, now it’s time to hit them with a hard-hitting call to action.
Call to Actions need to be laser focused on the sale, pushing your customers to the contact form, phone number, or whatever you’re trying to get them to do.
Similar to headers, your CTAs should be summing up what you do, what you want your customers to do, and say it as succinctly as possible!
Case study: Moz
Quick, descriptive, simple, and takes you directly to the product page. Awesome!
Exterminate Grammar Errors, Bad Spelling, and Consistency
It’s easy to miss the odd typo, but leaving too many of these errors in your text can give your customers an unprofessional impression of your business.
There are some awesome tools you can also use to polish up the quality of your copy:
One seriously powerful web copy tool, Grammarly looks at your text and notifies you of spelling errors, bad grammar and other critical errors, and suggests helpful fixes. The free version works well enough for basic copywriting.
Remove Duplicate Content
While it’s tempting to repeat text from page to page, you see absolutely no SEO benefit at all from duplicating text. In fact, although Google has already stated it doesn’t look at duplicate content as a huge issue, it will look into the issue further if it looks like you’re attempting to manipulate the search rankings.
Also, it gets boring if each and every page has the same content. Keep yours fresh, unique, up to date, and interesting your customers!
Oh, and if you need a tool to help you find out if you have any duplicate content on your site, check out Siteliner. It’ll spot anything you may have missed!
Time to Get Started!
Web copy offers some incredible opportunities for SEO, usability, brand voice, marketing and more. Make sure yours is working at top form. And if you need any help with yours, get in touch with our Ninjas and we’ll point you in the right direction!