An impressive online presence matters.
It’s the difference between visitors learning more about you or losing interest in your brand. To grab your target audience’s attention, upgrade your copywriting skills to engage with visitors.
Effective copy helps your business sell more products, boost brand awareness, and dominate the competition.
But, several factors influence how you write online. From the specific audience to your existing content, you must weigh what will work best for each piece. It also doesn’t hurt to add your unique personality to the work.
Ready to level up your writing skills? Try these online copywriting tips to create a memorable visitor experience.
1. Research Your Audience
According to CoSchedule, “successful marketers are 242% more likely to report conducting audience research at least once per quarter. And 56% of the most elite marketers conduct research once or more per month.”
Bloggers can break the mold in their writing by becoming better researchers. Knowing about your audience gives you the intel to cater to their interests and maintain their attention.
Research comes in many different forms. You can survey your existing audience and ask them particular questions on what topics they would enjoy reading. You could review your Google Analytics reports to assess the type of blog posts people visit the most.
Tools like Social Mention also can help you discover new insights. This social media search and analysis platform tracks and measures what people are saying about any topic across social channels.
While researching, your goal is to identify themes and patterns. You want to pinpoint ideas that will debunk myths and offer inspiration.
Take the time to learn about your audience. Understanding their wants, needs, and behaviors helps your write better content.
2. Write in an Easy-to-Read Format
The reading habits of an online visitor varies from a person offline. Research shows that site visitors read 20% of the text on the average web page.
Your readers’ intentions are only to scan your content. Some individuals are too busy to read every word. Others just want to get the high-level concepts and move to the next topic.
No matter the reasoning, be prepared to adjust your content. Best-selling author Jeff Goins offers his thoughts:
“Sure, people can read. They just choose not to. You need to learn how to communicate to people who are functionally illiterate. Or perhaps, more appropriately, aliterate—that is, they’re able to read, but just choose not to do so.”
You can make your writing easy to scan by using shorter paragraphs—limiting them to no more than four sentences. You can create scannable chunks by adding multiple subheadings throughout your blog posts.
Draw the reader’s attention to important information with numbered lists and bullet points. It’s also wise to use bold and italic formatting to give your words more emphasis.
There’s no doubt that your readers will scan your content. It’s up to you to assemble it in an easy-to-read format.
3. Insert Specific Keywords
Organic search is the lifeblood of generating traffic to sites. If people can’t find your blog on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, it’s difficult to get new visitors.
Keywords make it possible for potential readers to land on your site. When a person types phrases in a search engine, they get directed to content related to those keywords.
Consumers are searching for specific terms with a particular intent. Impact reports that “50% of search queries are four words or longer.”
Bloggers must match the searchers’ intent with remarkable content that solves their problems or answers their questions. As a result, readers will locate your blog and discover relevant information.
Google Trends analyzes the popularity of top search queries in its search engine. That way, you can observe what people want to learn and write content that fits their needs.
It’s not necessary to overload your blog posts with keywords. Stick to the basic search engine optimization guidelines, like adding keywords to your headers and meta descriptions.
Writing for the web means getting your content seen. It all begins with including specific keywords in your work.
4. Highlight Notable Experts
We’re often taught that writing is a standalone activity. When you’re ready to write, you should go in your perfect writing space and begin jotting down as many of your own words as possible.
However, writing doesn’t have to be a lonely process. Writing for the web is also about collaboration. Your audience wants to hear new perspectives from other industry experts.
The good news is that you can introduce them to notable people through your blog posts. John O’Nolan, founder and CEO at Ghost, agrees:
“Is your brain tired? Borrow someone else’s! Who do you look up to in your industry who your readers might be interested in? Drop them an email and ask if you can do an interview. Your only challenge is to come up with some interesting questions which will get your subject talking.”
Choose experts that your audience respects. When formulating interview questions, it’s important that you touch on different topics not present on other blogs. Exceptional questions will provide a fresh perspective to your post.
Don’t limit your writing to just your ideas. When you feature thought leaders, it’s a special treat for your readers.
5. Provide Actionable Steps
Web writing shouldn’t conclude like a suspense novel with a cliffhanger ending. Your audience wants actionable steps on how to move forward. Whether it’s leading them to a YouTube video or the checkout cart, it’s your responsibility to guide them to that goal.
As an expert blogger, it’s easy to forget that your reader lacks the knowledge you possess. So, you may slip up and write with jargon or skip important details.
That’s perfectly fine for your first draft. But, in the editing stage, you’ll want to scan for specific words or complex procedures that may hinder your readers from taking action.
i am a food blog is a powerful example of how to showcase actionable steps in online writing. The instructions to prepare the dish are straightforward. Any reader can easily scroll to this section of the website and immediately begin cooking.
Website design also is essential when writing for the web. You can include your steps in a colorful graphic to gain more attention from readers.
What next steps can you offer your audience? Give them a reason to turn your words into productive action.
6. Write Targeted Copy
Your website is an opportunity to establish your brand in the market. When people arrive to your site, they want to know what you do and what you stand for.
Use your site copy to reflect a clear vision of your business. Rather than offering unnecessary details, select a primary goal that your copy will accomplish.
“It’s important to give every piece of copy you write a single objective…Focusing on one objective at a time minimizes confusion and prevents you from including extraneous text,” writes Sujan Patel, co-founder of Web Profits.
Targeted copy will pinpoint the solution you offer visitors. You’re not just a food blogger or a website designer. People want to know how you can help them with their problems.
In the image below, The Art of Sculpting tells you exactly how they serve their potential customers—taking their fitness to a new level.
7. Make the Visitor the Hero
Let’s set the record straight: your copy isn’t about you, your business’s achievements, or even your latest TV appearance.
If your desire is to transform visitors into leads (or customers), your copy must focus on your audience and their needs. All the copy should center around helping the visitor.
It starts with telling a great story and creating a journey that involves the visitor. Much like the movies, the copy will discuss the challenges and the triumphs of the hero.
Copy isn’t always about getting someone to take action. It’s also about etching a unique memory into their minds. That emotion will stay with them after they leave your site.
8. Express Your Value
Visitors are interested in knowing how you can change their lives. What value will you provide to customers to improve their outcomes? This value will separate you from the competition.
In-home care startup Honor establishes value quickly on its homepage. Their team offers services to help seniors live better, while offering families peace of mind.
Be descriptive in your language and avoid the over-the-top tone. It’s perfectly fine to boast about the benefits of your product. However, you don’t want to over-exaggerate.
“People don’t want to be sold to. Tone down the hype and write your web copy like you’re talking with your ideal customer face-to-face. Your audience can tell the difference, and will be more likely to participate,” says Christina Walker, a professional freelance web copywriter.
To show your value, highlight the results of your services. Get people engaged in doing things differently with your business.
9. Craft a Compelling Call to Action
Effective copy leads visitors to your desired next step, and that’s where your call to action comes in.
Your website consists of several pages with different purposes. If you’ve worked with marketers, they may have suggested creating pages consistent with your sales funnel.
For instance, with new visitors, your goal may be to turn them into qualified leads. The call to action might convince your audience to sign up for a free ebook or checklist.
While for your returning visitors who already possess interest in your products, the call to action would be a 10% coupon or a bonus gift after an initial purchase.
No matter the call to action, it should speak to the audience’s needs and desires. They should be eager to receive your offering and ready to move down the sales funnel.
10. Add Social Proof
Your brand centers around perception. It’s about credibility in the eyes of your future customers.
They want to know that your products and services are worth their hard-earned money. Moreover, visitors are curious about whether or not they should associate themselves with your brand.
With so much competition in the marketplace, sometimes the only differentiator is the prestige and external validation of your brand. People want to be affiliated with success.
We buy cars to transport us from one place to another. So why would anyone want to purchase a Lamborghini or a Tesla? Because customers also seek vehicles to represent their status in society.
11. Avoid Jargon
Have you ever sat in a meeting where you didn’t understand anything? Everyone was talking in your native language, but every word seemed foreign.
You probably felt confused or as if you didn’t belong. It’s an overwhelming feeling that just makes you want to stand up and exit the room.
That’s a similar feeling your visitors experience when landing on a site stuffed with jargon. They don’t understand the content, so in a split second, they decide that this brand isn’t for them.
To keep your target audience interested, you must speak their language. Instead of using unfamiliar terms, stick to words your audience knows.
Pay attention to the words your current customers use to describe your business. Use social media to learn how your audience talks about your brand. With this insight, you can create copy that invites them into your website experience.
12. Experiment With Different Versions
Your first draft of copy isn’t your last. Just like other aspects of business, the best way to learn if something works is to test it.
So try not to fall in love with your copy. Remember that every word on the page is to help visitors understand you better. It’s important to keep that principle in mind when A/B testing your copy.
Experts suggest changing only one variable in your experiments. You might test the headline, then the call to action. If you test everything at once, you’ll lose sight of what your visitors actually like about your copy.
Below is an example of an A/B test on the call-to-action-button text. The new variation focused on what the company’s offer provided the visitor.
Be willing to experiment with your copy. It’s the best way to learn what connects with your visitors.
Smart Copywriting that Conveys Your Brand Message Online
When visitors land on your site, your goal is to gain their interest and establish trust quickly. Copywriting is a critical component to telling your story to your audience.
Write compelling copy that makes every visitor the hero, and use social proof to add to your credibility. Improve your website with better copywriting.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.