Writing website copy is like writing a Choose Your Own Adventure story.
You should presume readers won’t read your well-crafted messages exactly the way you want. They’re going to jump around and flip back and forth between pages; your website visitors are going to create their own versions of your story.
So how do you make sure every page tells the story you want your readers to hear? You create website content that has GOLD on every page.
The essential pages of credible websites
Some Web pages are compulsory for an online business to appear credible. They include the following:
- An About Me or About Us page
- Services or Product pages explaining what the business offers
- A Contact Us page listing multiple types of contact information
These pages explain who you are, what you offer and how to contact you. You get bonus credibility points if you have pages with these:
- Case studies or portfolio pieces that show off your experience
- Testimonials that show off how people have reacted to your great work
- A FAQs page listing believable questions and useful answers
And, of course, every website needs a homepage.
A homepage is often the first page people see. Unless your marketing promotes specific pages, most people will ‘land’ on your homepage. So it’s an important page. The homepage is your ‘elevator pitch’. It should do all of the following:
- Explain what your business does
- Promote the big benefit on the table (key value proposition)
- Point out how your business is different from its competitors
- Set the tone of your business’s personality
- Help visitors navigate to other pages
Think of your homepage as an excellent concierge. It lets people know they’re at the right place, sets the tone and expectations, and guides people to their destination.
It’s also usually one of the shortest pages because many design themes limit the amount of space on a homepage available for text. Therein lies the challenge of homepage copywriting, and homepages often take the longest to write.
To test if your homepage copywriting has achieved everything it should, ask: If a visitors don’t go to any other page, can they get a sense of what you’re and what you’re like?
About page copywriting
The About Me or About Us page is one of the most important pages on a website; it’s certainly the most frequently visited on most websites. This page often talks about the company’s history and how many staff members there are. It also typically explains how many collective years of experience everyone has and, sometimes, contains a bland company-mission statement.
These kinds of About pages are RUBBISH!
An About page is the story that will help someone connect with your business. This page is all about humanising a business, whether you’re a sole trader or a national corporate entity.
When writing About pages, weave a story together from answers to questions like these:
- How did you get started? This can often spark and interesting story that helps differentiate and personalise a business.
- Why are you trustworthy? Experience counts for a lot.
- What keeps you doing what you’re doing? Big passions usually crop up here.
- What values guide how you/your team behaves? The mission of the business is secondary to the values that dictate how everyone behaves, every day.
- Finally, explain what all this means for your customers. This is the most important part of how a company operates: how customers benefit.
This last entry raises an excellent point about the focus of an About page: Though it might seem your About page is about you and your team or company as a whole, it’s not.It’s really about what your customers get from you. You should link every idea you convey back to what it means for your customers:
Been operating for 57 years? Why should your customers care?
Do you have low staff turnover? So what?
Your About page is all about bragging in a way that’s meaningful for your customers. And, lastly, beware of using the same terminology everyone else is using.
For instance, a lot of businesses say they are ‘professional’ but what does that mean for customers? Does it mean you are always polite on the phone and punctual? Does it mean you do what you say you will or that you follow industry guidelines?
If you tie everything back to how your customers benefit, you’ll connect with and engage them more meaningfully. And remember: Always include an action to encourage people to take action.
Product and services copywriting
As mentioned in a recent SEO-copywriting case study, it’s best to focus each Web page on one topic. It’s not only good for search engines, it’s good for people. So, if you offer several services, break them into subpages and explain each in full on its respective page.
If your budget’s tight, one page containing a few short paragraphs on each service is okay.
At any rate, the questions you should answer when writing Internet copy are the ones you’d answer in any marketing copy:
Who’s your audience?
Remember: Different services can have different target consumers.
What problem brought your visitors to your site?
It’s important to understand the journey that leads someone to your website. Generally speaking, people don’t search for products, services or brands; they search for solutions. And, each second they’re on your website, they’re deciding if you have the solution.
How do you uniquely solve your visitors’ problems?
Now, we start looking at what the solution is, how you provide it and why that’s unique: As with an About page, copywriting for products and services is less about what you do and more about your customers’ needs and how you help them. Answering ‘What’s in it for me?’ is critical.
Remember: Website visitors spend eight seconds or fewer on a Web page, so your persuasiveness is working against the clock. You must get straight to the point.
Contact page copywriting
Copywriters often forget the Contact page when creating a new site’s content. Consequently, some details and a form are plonked on the page, and that’s it.
But your contact page might be the last page someone looks at before deciding whether to trust you. It’s an opportunity to show potential customers how interested you are in speaking with them and a chance to show your brand personality. As a minimum, write a line or two inviting visitors to contact you–it’s just more personal.
And include a few types of contact information. (You do want people to contact you, don’t you?) Enquiry forms are handy, but some people don’t like or trust them. For these cynics, include a phone number or e-mail address they can use as an alternative. Preferably, you should provide both.
A postal address is also great for credibility. It makes your company look real, even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar place of business. If you do have a physical store, a widget that displays a pin of its location on Google Maps is a nice touch.
You goal is make taking the next step easy and inviting. So don’t ignore your Contact page!
The bookends of good marketing
Every single page on your website should, nay must, have the following: 1. A compelling headline 2. A call to action Every page.
Your content map to a great adventure through your website copywriting
So now it’s over to you….
Copywriters. Do you use a content map like this when you plan out website copywriting?
Business owners. If you review your own website content, can you any content gaps you can fill?
The Copy Detective