A good website should perform critical functions for its company, brand, or entrepreneur. This includes telling potential customers what product or service you are offering, why you are different (better!) than the competition, and giving them an easy way to purchase from you - or at least ask further questions. Behind the scenes, properly written websites boost your search engine ranking, act as the hub of your social media wheel, and establish you as a credible expert in your field.
However, unfortunately websites are often poorly written, presenting visitors with a mismatch of endless paragraphs, random photos and graphics, and an overall confusing layout. This undoubtedly causes them to abandon the page in favor of the next competitor’s.
It’s not that business people can’t write well, it’s more so that they don’t know how to write website copy very well – a totally different animal. When designing a website and writing copy, it’s best to keep the AIDA strategy in mind, an acronym that stands for:
A – Attract Attention
I – Trigger Interest
D – Create a Strong Desire
A – Call to Action
So let’s take a look at 10 methods to write clear, engaging, and persuasive web copy that customers will gravitate towards:
1. Use concise text
If visitors to your website see a vast amount of text in paragraph form, they’ll automatically tune out. Use short words, short sentences, and even shorter paragraphs. As a good rule of thumb, write your web copy and then cut the word count in half, and then in half again.
2. Make sure your site is easy to scan
When it comes to websites (and social media or just about anything online), people want to scan – not read. Research proves that only 16% of web visitors read text word for word and 79% just scan. So break up text with headers, subheaders, numbered lists, bullet points, and even different fonts to make the information easily digestible in chunks.
3. The secret behind writing amazing headlines
Since most people just scan your copy and site, creating compelling headlines is paramount. There is an art to it, but studies show that headlines with numbers (10 Ways To Write Great Headlines), those that promise to solve a problem or provide a benefit, play on words or common phrases, or use the tactic of negative knowledge (5 Things You Need To Know So You Don’t Get Audited By The IRS) perform best.
In fact, a recent study shows that changing general headlines to something more specific and informational improves conversions by 41%.
4. Eliminate fluff
Use clear, no-frills language. Avoid the temptation to fill your copy with adverbs and adjectives. Always write in the active voice and have a professional editor review your copy.
5. Be clear about what you’re offering people
When someone goes to your web page, they should know within seconds exactly what it is you’re offering, what it will do for them, and your unique value or special offer.
Along those lines, your web copy should always highlight a clear call-to-action, which simply and definitely leads them to the next step. It could be entering their email to get a free report, signing up for a product test, or any number of other special offers.
6. Ask people what they want
One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is that they talk to their audience, not with their audience. Any good website should include opportunities for visitors to offer their needs, desires, and feedback. You can do this with surveys, questions, and pop-ups that give them some sort of incentive to share their opinion.
7. Create a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section
Instead of going on and on about your product or service in paragraph form, create a detailed FAQ section, categorized by potential customer questions, and clickable so it’s easy to navigate.
8. Focus on how your business can benefit your customers
Business people are so passionate about their own products or services that they tend to start listing all of the great features, but that’s either irrelevant to the consumer or downright boring. Instead, translate each of those features into a proper benefit for the consumer. Show how you can solve their problems, help them achieve their goals, and make their lives better; you’ve then surely created compelling web copy.
9. When is the right time to bring up price?
The time to introduce the topic of money or price is a delicate dance. You don’t want to list your price tag prominently because that could turn off visitors who are only looking for price and don’t understand the value, and that can make you appear money-grubbing. You also don’t want to bury information about price on back pages or you can be perceived as deceitful. To solve this, list price on secondary product or services pages, have a PRICING button on your main menu, and always list several packages or options for different financial commitments.
10. Be human
People want to engage with a real person, not a robot or a faceless corporation. Tell your story, show your passion, and feel free to write in a familiar voice – just as long as you stay clear, concise, and always appropriate.
Before you even start planning out your website and begin work on your copy, you should map out your target demographic, identify exactly whom your ideal customer is, and write copy that revolves around their interests, lifestyle, and solving their problems.
With these tips in mind, take the time to pull up your website and look at it objectively. You probably don’t need to rewrite all of your site’s copy, but by implementing these practices you’ll likely begin to notice a spike in your numbers – and profits.
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