Entries Tagged 'website copywriting' ↓

2 of The Biggest Headaches Web Designers Face

First off, I’m not a web designer so if you are and you disagree with me, please feel free to leave a comment and tell me (and everyone else who will be reading this post) what it is that really bugs you. web designer headaches

As a copywriter, I work with a lot of web designers.

It seems to me that there are still a lot of people out there who firmly believe that:

a)    Their website comes fully loaded with copy

b)    Once it’s published, visitors will flock to their site

If you think like that, you’re wrong on both counts.

Just because you’ve hired someone to build you a fantastic website does not mean people will be beating down your door to take a look at it.

These days, if you want a successful website you’ve got to do some work – well, quite a lot of work and that means having a budget.

‘Budget’ – the word sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it?

Your outlay doesn’t just begin and end with the design and build of your website. This brings us back to the first misconception listed above.

Your website comes fully loaded with copy

No, it doesn’t.

Your designer will create you a fantastic website, but he or she won’t be filling it with content for you – that’s your job, or if you prefer, the job of the copywriter you’re going to hire.

Yes, hiring a writer means more money, but it will be money very well spent.

Once you have people flocking to your website, it’s the words that will keep them there and draw them in, convincing them to buy or contact you. If you have the wrong words, they’ll keep on browsing until they find a website that gives them what they want. I won’t bore you with the details about how to write website copy here, because there you can read out that in my earlier post ‘How to Create Engaging Website Copy’.

But of course, before your copy can engage them, you have to get them there.

Traffic will just come to you

Err, no it won’t.

This is the other misconception.

Once your website goes live, if you just sit back and wait for visitors you could be waiting a very long time.

No one is going to know you’re there unless you tell them. That means:

  • Getting busy on social media
  • Writing blogs and articles
  • Building links

Yes, in other words, you’ve got to do some work. Again, you can either get on with this yourself, or you can find the budget to pay someone else to do it for you.

Getting a website online is only the start of your online journey. If you don’t have the time, patience or knowhow to do it yourself, the cold hard fact is that you’ll have to find the budget you need to get someone else to do it for you. But just make sure you find someone reputable with a proven track record. Cutting corners by paying peanuts will leave you frustrated with a website full of dire copy and rolling tumbleweed where you should have traffic.

Author: Sally Ormond

Writing For The Web – Keeping Up With The Changes

web writing

OMG – have you heard the latest?

The way you write for the web is changing so fast. There are Google’s perpetually changing algorithms, new social media platforms springing up, +1s, shares, tweets, status updates…

How on earth are you supposed to know how to write your web copy when the goal posts keep moving?


Hang on there.

Who’s moving the goal posts?

Sure, with every new tweak Google makes, or when a social media platform becomes flavour of the month, there are a shed load of blog posts published that claim to have unearthed the one secret you need to know to get Google to love your content.


The only thing they’re doing is driving traffic to their blogs. Day after day, thousands of salivating web writers and business owners pour over their words like hungry caterpillars (I loved that book) looking for the trick that is going to propel them to the top of the search pile.

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no magic secret.

Sure, there are things, such as Google Authorship, that will help, but the only thing that will help you get and retain (that’s the hard bit) good rankings is high quality content.

High quality content is the answer

I know you’re probably fed up reading that the only way to impress Google is through high quality content – but there’s a reason you keep reading it – because it’s true.

Forget about writing for the search engines, keywords and all those other fads you read about. There is and always will be, only one thing that works and that is creating content that is:

  • Well written
  • High in quality
  • Interesting
  • Relevant to your reader
  • Full of benefits
  • Full of useful information
  • Not full of you and your business
  • Written naturally
  • Not stuffed with keywords

Yes, it’s a boring answer, but it is the right one.

There are no tricks or short cuts, just good old fashioned, high quality writing.

Sorry to ruin your day, but the truth needed to be told.


By Sally Ormond

Image courtesy of pixtawan/FreeDigitalPhoto

Why Your Website Copy Must Market Your Business

You have got to be kidding

“We don’t like the first draft, it’s too marketing; it sells our services too much.”

That is a real life response from a copywriting client.

Yes, I was stunned too.

Apparently, the copy had to be more ‘jargonised’ and in the language of ‘high business’ and not focused on what they can do for their clients.

No. That’s not how it works.

Your website is your sales tool

Your website is available to people all over the world, 24/7/365.

It exists for one reason only – to tell readers what you can do for them and how their lives (or businesses) will be richer by using your products or services.

How do you do that?

Through high quality website copywriting that focuses on your reader and tells them the main benefits of what you do.

If your website focuses on you and is full of jargon, at best it tells the world your company exists, but that’s it.

Great, you exist. So what? I’m going to use these other guys who have taken the time to tell me about how their service is going to help me.

You are missing a trick – a potentially very lucrative trick – if you ignore this advice.

How to market through website copy

As mentioned earlier, you have to remember that:

  • Your website is a sales tool
  • It exists to tell people what you can do for them
  • It is not a soap box from which you can rave about your company

The copy that you write has to be:

  • Focused 100% on your reader
  • In the second person so it ‘speaks’ to your reader
  • Focused on the benefits you provide
  • Engaging and interesting

And it should all be topped off with a strong call to action telling the reader to get in touch, buy now, sign up, or whatever action it is you want them to take.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your website is there to tell the world about you. That type of thinking is lame, boring and a disaster waiting to happen.

Please, please use your website as it should be used. Make it all about your reader and not about you.

Thanks for allowing me to get that off my chest. I feel much better now.


Author: Sally Ormond, copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd

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Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield/FreeDigitalPhoto

How to Create Engaging Website Copy

Your website copy must speak to your visitors.

It must engage and inform them, give them something to take away with them.

Google wants high quality writing, that’s natural and that resonates with the reader.

How many times have you read or been told that?

You know Google’s constantly changing, trying to improve the experience for searchers, but how can you be sure your web copy engages?

Engaging website copy

Is it hard to write engaging copy?

Hard is probably the wrong word to use. It’s more to do with standing outside of your business to understand what your customers want to know.

Too many people, when writing their web copy, focus on their business. They fill their web pages with what they offer, the features of their products and services and details about their company.

Believe it or not, that isn’t what your reader wants to know. They want to know what you are going to do for them and how it will help them. It all comes down to benefits – your shoes may well come in an array of colours and sizes and be handmade, but it’s the air of sophistication they conjure and superb comfort for all-day wear that the reader wants to know about.

When writing about your benefits, imagine yourself stood in front of your customer. This will help you develop a more informal conversational style that will really resonate with your reader. They want to feel as though you are talking to them directly when they read your site, because that gives them the personal connection that’s missing from online shopping.

When browsing the web, there’s no eye contact or gestures to help you get your point across, but conversational, benefits laden copy will help over come that.

Constant engagement

You see, there’s no great mystery behind how to write engaging copy, it just takes a lot of practice.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that once you’ve written your web pages you can sit back and relax.

The other thing Google’s looking for is fresh content. That means adding blogs and articles to your website – again focusing on high quality writing.

Use the same informal, conversational style to make your work readable and keep to your niche. You’re an expert, so use that knowledge to help your readers. Make sure every post offers some new information, or a tip they can take away and use.

If your content is found to be useful, the reader is more likely to share it (make sure you have your social sharing buttons clearly visible on your site), boosting your web presence and so attracting more traffic to your website.

So in summary, to create engaging web copy you must:

  • Focus on the needs of your readers
  • Show them the benefits your product/service offer
  • Write in an informal, conversational style
  • Avoid using technical language and jargon
  • Regularly update your website with fresh content in the form of blogs and articles
  • Encourage social sharing

Hopefully, this has shown that you don’t have to a copywriter to be able to write engaging copy. But it does take practice.


The Hummingbird Cometh – Google Strikes Again

The end of September saw yet another Google algorithm update – the Hummingbird. Hummingbird update

At the heart of this little bird is the difference between what people are looking for and why they are looking for it.

Search engines have always delivered ranked results by matching the keywords typed in the search box to the keywords on a web page.

The problem with that is that words can have different meanings, as illustrated by Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Amit Singhal when talking about the Taj Mahal: “Was the search about the monument in India, the musician, or a local curry house? What was the intent behind the search?”

Hummingbird’s semantic search capabilities are an attempt to clarify the context of queries. In other words, it tries to understand how we use language and how the meaning of words varies depending on context.

Hummingbird and search marketing

With all the Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds in the world, it’s hardly surprising that the face of search marketing is constantly changing.

In fact it was only recently that Google announced it would no longer be providing webmasters with data about which keywords were driving traffic from search results to their websites.

Google’s explicit message being that webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share. In other words, engaging website content.

Hummingbird and website content

It’s important you understand how to make sure your website copywriting and content align with Hummingbird’s aim.

What does your customer need?

It’s important to think about why customers want or need your product or service. For example, if you have a travel site, do you offer information about travelling to the destination, what there is to see, local customs, restaurants, galleries or where the best beaches are?


Look at your analytics to discover what people are searching for when they’ve reached your site, but can’t find immediately. This will help you understand what they are looking for and optimise your website content accordingly.

Blogs aren’t the be all and end all

Think about varying your content. Great information doesn’t only come in the form of a blog post; it could also be video, graphics, an eBook, report or white paper.

Just make sure its form and function match.


Don’t just go for an exact keyword match when describing what you do/offer. Use synonyms too, which will provide alternative phrases that people may use when searching for what you offer.

Make sure the language you use isn’t dry and dull. Show your personality through your writing so it informs and inspires.


Make sure all your content is easy to share.

Above all, make sure the content on your website complements your sales strategy by being relevant to your products and services.

A well written website should already have all those features, but it’s worth checking yours out to see if it can be improved in any way.

It may, at times, seem as though Google is playing God with your business, but all these changes are there to make the search experience more rewarding and relevant. Provided you abide by Google’s rules and aren’t tempted to take any short cuts, you should be able to weather these changes with minimum fuss.


 Image courtesy of Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos