Let’s take a second and start out with a scary truth about website content, shall we?
Your content will make or break your website.
It’s SO important that your content draw in your prospective customers or clients. Sure, a beautiful design will catch their eye for a moment, but the content is what makes them stay, what makes them reach out, and what makes them want to work with you.
Today, I’m going to cover some truths about copywriting for your site, and some tips on how to shape your writing around these content rules of the web.
[Truth #1]: Your visitors are going to scan—not thoroughly read—your pages.
Website visitors won’t spend loads of time reading through dense, information-rich paragraphs on your website. No matter how beautifully crafted your content, if it looks even a little daunting to get through, your visitors are more than likely going to nope out pretty quickly. Most folks find themselves on your site in order to solve an immediate problem or need they have, so they’re most likely searching for something pretty specific. With that in mind, here are a few tips to make sure your content doesn’t get passed by:
- Use eye-catching headlines to break up paragraphs. Long paragraphs will likely get overlooked completely, and you better believe that if you don’t have headings or logical separations in your content, visitors are likely going to skip pages of content entirely. To combat this, aim for an eye-catching introductory headline every two or three paragraphs. This makes it much easier for readers to scan for words or phrases that stick out to them, allowing them easier access to the content they want to consume. The trick here is to really make your content as easily digestible as possible.
- Keep it short and sweet. Don’t use three paragraphs for something you can easily and clearly sum up in one.
- Use formatting to help break things up. Varying the structure can help make your content look a little more inviting (and less scary!) to your prospective readers. Whenever possible, consider using things like numbered or bulleted lists, change things up by inserting images or videos, and vary the length of your paragraphs.
[Truth #2]: Your site isn’t really about you—it’s about your prospective customer or client.
You’ll of course want to inject some of your killer personality into your site’s content—there’s nothing less interesting to read than something stuffy and robotic sounding—but the real point of your site isn’t to go on and on about yourself. Instead, your site is the place to address your prospective client or customer and his or her problem(s) that you’re here to solve.
After you’ve taken an initial pass at your site’s copy, re-read everything, paying special attention to the word “we” or “I” and your company name, then delete those and rephrase them so that your content is 100% focused on what your prospect gets by working with you.
If you’re really just itching to tell your client all about your awesomeness (and I encourage you to do so!), it’s totally fine to talk yourself up on your about page. Include a bio, some info on your background, your mission—whatever you feel called to share.
[Truth #3]: Your readers want to know you’re a human.
Ugh, boring copy with no personality = big ‘ole snooze fest. Copy without personality is such an easy way to lose prospects quickly on your site. Your content should be conversational. I like to do a little exercise when I’m writing where I pretend that I’m having a one-on-one convo with someone about my business: what I would tell them (and the way that I would tell it), is often a good starting point for the content. No one wants to read copy that sounds like you’re writing a high school essay.
And whenever you can, tell a story with your copy. Human brains love to follow a narrative and tend to pay more attention when there’s a good storyline involved, so use this to your advantage. As long as the stories you’re sharing are compelling and relevant, share away!
[Truth #4]: Your readers can sniff out that fluffy, filler content.
Ever been to a website, saw their main headline and maybe the first few lines of their site’s copy, only to wonder “WTF are they talking about?!” Lots of times, this happens when we try using lots of buzzwords paired together to make some sort of smart-sounding phrase—which is usually something your prospective customers won’t understand or give a damn about.
At best, this crummy copywriting tactic can make your prospects feel insecure for not understanding what the heck you’re talking about. At worst, it can make them feel put off or suspicious of you.
Whatever you do, try to speak your prospective client’s language. “We’re a digital agency that focuses on helping small businesses succeed online through beautiful design and pixel-perfect development” sounds a heck of a lot better—and way more understandable—than “We’re a multi-disciplinary digital agency with a results-oriented approach helping our clients to craft strong visual identities through effective communication design.”