The website is the new storefront for many companies in that it’s often the first interaction potential customers have with your brand. It’s the one place where you have all the space you need to tell the story of your company and product or service, so it is essential that you use it in the most effective way possible.
Writing copy for this vital touchpoint can certainly seem like a daunting task, and even more so when you realize that a website is one of the best education tools a brand has in its arsenal. The value of the words you chose can’t be overstated. Here are a few things to consider that can help make writing for your website seem a little more manageable.
Know your audience.
The key to writing effective website copy is to first make sure you really understand exactly who will be reading it. To tailor your website copy to your audience as much as possible, make sure you have solid answers to these important questions:
What’s the profile of your target consumer? What is their age, gender, and job title? What is the problem that you’re trying to solve for them? What is their life like on a day-to-day basis? The more you understand how your ideal reader thinks, the more you can write in a way that will speak directly to them.
How familiar is your audience with the industry? Is your target consumer familiar with industry jargon, or is there more education involved in explaining your product or service? While you always want to be as clear as possible, you also want to speak in a way that your audience can understand, such as avoiding jargon unless you’re sure your target user speaks that language. This can also lead to the style choice of going formal, or keeping things a little more colloquial across your site.
Less is more.
While your website is your platform to tell readers anything and everything about your product or service, that doesn’t mean they want to read it all. There are several ways to combat losing your user’s attention:
Get to the point. Even keeping individual sentences short and sweet is important, so make sure to identify the most important information and keep it at the beginning. In journalism this technique is called the inverted pyramid, aka writing with the most important info first, then moving to the less essential.
Break it up. Even in the body text of your website, avoid long paragraphs as much as possible. Try using bulleted lists or other graphic treatments to break up the information into quickly digestible chunks.
Use your headers effectively. When users visit a website, they tend to click around quickly to try and find the particular information they’re looking for. Clear and concise headers can help a user quickly understand what information they can expect to find below.
Think about the funnel.
When deciding what information to place on which pages of your website, it’s important to consider the purchase funnel, or the ideal path you want a consumer to take on your website. The information and even the way you speak to your audience should vary page to page. For example, the home page should feature copy that stays high-level to pique the interest of the reader and guide them to pages deeper within the site that house more specific and technical information about your product or service.
Keywords, keywords, keywords.
Getting into the nitty gritty of optimizing your website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a whole different animal, but it is still important to keep it in mind when writing copy for your website. Identify keywords that relate to your brand that users would be likely to use in searches, and work them in throughout your copy. This does not mean, however, that you should “keyword cram” your copy with each term over and over again. You are writing with the search engines in mind, but never forget that at the end of the day, you’re writing for a human reader. The more they use your website, the more a search engine will deem it valuable and move it up in the ranks.
Your website is your brand’s stage, the one place on the internet where all eyes are on you. Keep these things in mind when developing copy for your website and you’ll get a standing ovation every time.