The copy on your page is more than just information; it’s an opportunity to direct the attention of users and compel them to perform the actions you want them to take.
Copy that is written decently informs your viewers as to who you are, what you do, and the benefits of doing business with you.
Copy that is written well does all this but also makes users engage with you.
In eCommerce, this means more sales. For lead-gen, this means more leads. Email signups, click-throughs, whatever success in digital marketing means to you, great copy paves the way to it.
You don’t need to be a professional writer to understand the principles that make great copy great. Learn them, and whether you’re paying professionals or taking the DIY approach, you can better access all the benefits that great copy provides.
1. Aim Your Attention At Your Audience
Too often businesses will write their copy from the wrong perspective. Knowing their products and services better than anyone else, their writing will reflect a comprehensive understanding of what they provide, but will lack an ingredient critical to engaging their audience.
Value to the reader.
You know exactly why your product or service is better than your competition for prospective buyers. Understanding the many advantages your business can provide is not a challenge to you or your reader.
The challenge is relating this value to the precise needs, wants, and expectations of those who land on your website.
You might be offering a product or a service, but what your audience wants is a solution to a problem. Talking in terms of products and services doesn’t speak to what customers want, but it is a terminology those inside businesses are often biased towards.
Switch Perspectives With The Right Questions
When writing copy, you can put yourself in the shoes of potential customers by asking the right questions.
- “What is the purpose of this page?”
Are you looking to educate your visitors, or are you looking to turn them into customers? It’s possible to do both, but doing so requires you to craft your copy in such a way that it elicits action from a reader. When finished reading what you’ve written, are they prompted to engage with your business, or hit the back button?
- “What is stopping readers from engaging?”
Your customers have doubts about doing business with you. Does your content address them? Maybe they’re lacking critical information that, if provided, would remove their doubts and allow them to do business with you. Write a list of potential doubts and craft content to address them!
- “Is there anything I can cut out?”
Look through every sentence on your page, and ask yourself what it does to make customers do business with you. If it isn’t providing a reason or erasing a doubt, chances are its dead weight. Less is more, so cut it out!
2. Focus on Headlines
For readers and Google, headlines make or break copy quality.
Online readers are moving too fast and have too many competing sources of information to focus their attention exclusively on your copy to read it comprehensively. That’s what books are for.
Unlike books, our devices play our music, ping us with notifications, allow us to talk with our friends, etc. Your copy exists in this competitive arena, which is why successful copy always has solid headlines. Readers online want to skim through a page in seconds and know everything they need to. Emphasise headlines, and they’ll be able to!
It’s Not Just Readers Who Care About Headlines
Your readers aren’t the only thing skimming your page for headlines. Google also does it, valuing your headlines well above paragraph text when it comes to your ranking. Have high-quality, informational headlines, and you can expect not only more conversions, but more traffic as well!
3. Tactically Use Bold and Italics
Online readers skim.
Bold words and those in italics cause fast-moving eyes to take note and slow down a little bit to read things a little more closely.
So it’s important to use them strategically!
When writing, think about the claims you make throughout your copy that might cause a reader to take notice. Doing so properly is a sure bet to ensure your copy guarantees your business more money by directing the focus of your audience to important information!
However, it’s important to use bold and italics sparingly. Peppering your copy with emphasis arbitrarily creates a confusing user experience, and confusion is a massive conversion killer. Bold and italics work to produce conversions, but only when used tactically!
4. Don’t Get Too Technical
Technical terms build trust, but they can also intimidate and confuse users.
The key is to strike the right balance.
You want to ensure that your readers believe you to be an authority on whatever you’re writing about, but you don’t want them to think they have to be an authority to understand it!
One great way to help strike this balance, and build your SEO rankings, is to hyperlink technical terms to pages that contain their definitions. These will not only help your reader easily understand content on-page, but help to build your link profile!
Some content-heavy websites in highly technical domains will also build glossary pages. These serve all the above purposes, but also keep visitors clicking through your site.
Balance is Key
Even with convenient links to the definitions of technical terms, it’s still important not to overload your copy with them. One of George Orwell’s rules to good writing is to never use a technical jargon word if you can think of an everyday equivalent, and this is a rule worth remembering when writing your copy online!
5. Keep It Simple
Online audiences don’t like to see blocks of text.
While your 6th-grade teacher may have stressed the importance of the 5 sentence paragraph, you can throw that advice out the window when writing copy for sales. Nobody expects a lecture from a salesperson.
If you can say it in fewer words, say it in fewer words!
Among the best-performing sales pages online cut straight to the core of their readers needs with short, to-the-point sentences.
Find great sales copy online, and you’ll find short, concise sentences that cut straight to the heart of a market’s needs, wants, and expectations:
6. Include Keywords, but Don’t Spam Them
All the above tips deal with getting visitors to convert, but they don’t do much to drive traffic to your site.
Great online copy is written both for readers and search engines. Striking a balance between these two ‘audiences’ is one of the most prominent challenges to writing online.
Here’s how to get past it:
If you write just for readers, you can’t be sure that Google will rank your page.
If you write just for Google, you can be sure that your readers won’t convert.
So priority one is to write for readers. Priority two is to write for Google.
Pick the keywords you want to include on your page, and find clever ways to include them in headlines and at the start of paragraphs. Google values keywords in headlines and the first 100 words of paragraph text more than anywhere else on your page, so placing your keywords here is your best bet to get maximum value from them.
After that, you can focus exclusively on providing value to the reader, knowing that Google has been taken care of!
Quality Copy With WebMarketers
Copywriting is a deep and comprehensive discipline. While this guide is sure to be enough to get you started and improve conversions, there’s always more that can be done! To learn how your copy can be improved to cultivate conversions and make more money, send us a link for a free evaluation of your website. We’ll take a look, and let you know what we think can be done to improve your on-page experience!