February 4, 2014
If you’ve been thinking about updating your website lately to boost traffic, you’ve probably been thinking about things like design, functionality, and speed. But there’s one factor you might not have taken into consideration yet that can also help you keep visitors on your website longer: your copy. In the post below, we’re offering a comprehensive guide to better copy.
Why Does Copy Matter?
It might not have mattered as much a decade ago, but today, copy can make or break the overall success of your website.
To meet the demands of online consumers today, businesses need to not only develop websites that are easy to use, but they also need to implement strategies to use on their websites that will help them connect with customers on a personal level. One way to do this is through copy. If you’re interested in improving the copy on your website but you’re not sure where to start, take a look below at some of the most common website copy mistakes that you might be making.
What Are Common Website Copy Mistakes You Might Be Making?
Not knowing the audience: In order to develop copy that effectively connects with people, you first need to know whom it is you’re trying to connect to. One of the biggest mistakes many businesses make when it comes to website copy is not developing content based on the needs (or wants) of your target audience. Have you taken time to put yourself in your clients’ shoes to try to understand how they think, and what their problems might be? If not, spend an hour or two thinking about it with your team. At the end of the session, come up with a list of questions your customers probably have, and put a plan in place to develop content that answers them.
Too focused on sales (and it’s obvious): Online consumers don’t like feeling like they are getting sold to. Instead, they prefer to search for products and companies that can help solve their problems. If you’re too focused on moving visitors down the sales funnel, and not at all interested in providing genuine value through the content you share, your website visitors will be able to tell. Consumers look for brands they can tell are offering value on their websites without the expectation that they will get something (sales, for example) in return for sharing that value — they make it obvious that they simply want to help educate, entertain, or inform people.
Wordy copy: Consumers move fast on the Web. They don’t have time to sift through long paragraphs on your website pages to make decisions about if they will do business with you or not. If you’ve looked through your analytics lately and noticed that your website visitors are leaving quickly after landing on your website, it could be because your copy is just too wordy.
How To Improve Your Website Copy
Now that you are aware of a few website copy mistakes you might be making, it’s time to learn about what changes you can make. To improve the overall effectiveness of your website (which can help improve things like sales, brand recognition, etc.), consider making the following changes to the copy you include on your website:
Make your copy skimmable: Your copy needs to be easily digestible. Consumers coming to your website want to be able to quickly scan the content on your Web pages to decide if it’s worth their time to explore further. You can break up your copy and make your content more skimmable (or scannable) by using headlines, photos, and bulleted or numbered lists.
Make your copy authentic: This one is important. You need to work with your team to ensure all copy that appears on your website is authentic. Remember: when people visit your website, they want to get the impression that you are dedicated to helping solve problems. They want to know that you are an industry leader, and that you genuinely care about them — even if they don’t decide to purchase any products or services right away.
Develop a voice for your brand: Work with the marketing and communications professionals on your team to develop a consistent voice for your brand. This will help improve your copy, and will also help visitors understand your brand better. If you don’t have any communications professionals on your team, consider hiring an intern from a local college in your area.
Use CTAs: Help your website visitors understand what it is you want them to do once they land on your site. You can make your website copy more compelling (and persuasive) by including strategic call-to-action messaging throughout your site.
Develop copy that is worth reading (educate, inform, entertain, impress): This goes back to the idea that you always want to make sure to provide valuable content for the people who decide to visit your website. Developing headlines and a list of keywords to target in your copy is OK, but only if you’re actually producing valuable, original information that readers can benefit from in some way.
Proof before you publish: This should be obvious, but we feel it’s still worth mentioning. You should always have an extra set of eyes look through any content that you intend to publish on your site. Grammar and spelling mistakes in copy can make visitors feel like you aren’t as serious or professional as other competitors in your industry.
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