Entries Tagged 'website copywriting' ↓

Website Checks to Make Before 2013

As yet another year draws to a close, isn’t it about time you gave your website a quick review to make sure its ready for the New Year?

There are many great sites out there that are bursting with powerful and persuasive web copy, eye-catching images and uber-friendly navigation. But on the flip side, there are that have useless content, dire navigation and as for the images…

What follows are 8 quick tips to help you make your website a nicer place to be for your visitors. They have been compiled from my pet hates and the things that I see done badly time and time again.

1. About Us

Copywriters around the world speak with one voice when they tell clients that their web copy has to be written for their readers. That means no ‘we’ and lots of ‘you’ and benefits.

A lot of business owners have a real problem with that because they just want to shout about their company and what they’ve achieved. Well, to cheer you all up, the About page is the one on which you can talk about yourself – kind of.

Your About page should tell you readers what makes you different to everyone else, your ethos, why you do what you do and also some personal information about you (to show that you’re human) and your team along with a few mug shots (to prove you’re real).

It shouldn’t just start ‘We’ve been in business since 2001 and are the best thing since sliced bread…’

2. We’re here

If you want people to do business with you, why are you making it so hard for them to find you?

Make sure you provide your physical address and a Google map so they can find you. Plus, pictures of your premises are a great idea so they recognise it when they arrive.

3. Hanging on the telephone

How many times have you been on a website only to get thoroughly frustrated when you can’t find a phone number?

Make it easy for your customers and potential customers to get in touch with you. Have your phone number clearly visible in the top left hand corner of your header.

4. Banish typos

Proofreading is sooooo important. Typos could well put people off getting in touch with you so make sure, before you publish any content on your site, that you get it proofed by someone.

5. Rules

This one is for all you site owners out there with customer logins. Now, the Internet is a wonderful thing as it means you can get all your Christmas shopping done without having to fight your way through town.

The downside is most sites want you to create an account in order to shop with them (or use their service). If you’re site is one of these and you have rules about how many letters passwords should have and whether they have to be a mixture of numbers and letters, please, please, please tell the user before they think of something.

There’s nothing more annoying than having come up with a password only to be told it’s not long enough or doesn’t contain the right combination of characters.

So if you must have rules, make them known.

6. Mobile

More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the Internet. In fact, mobile devices account for over 20% of all traffic to e-commerce sites and 1 in 3 mobile users access the Internet through their phones.

That’s why it’s so important your website is mobile friendly. After all, if they try to access your site and it’s slow or unreadable, they’re going to head off in search of another site that’s easier to use.

7. Social

Yes, social media is taking over the world.  Unless you want to be left behind, you must make sure your site is social.

Offering customers the ability to share your stuff with their friends is vital to spread the word. Twitter, Facebook and other social sites mean customers can talk to you easily and help promote your amazing service (it is amazing, right?) by telling their friends.

It’s here to stay so get with it.

8. Fabulous photos

How many websites have you seen with woeful photography or stacks of stock images?

Come on people be a bit more inventive. Don’t be tight, splash out and get some decent shots taken of your premises, stock, people etc. Make the images on your website unique.

Right, that’s your homework for December – check your website and make sure it’s firing on all cylinders for the New Year.

Is Your Website Giving Your Visitors What They Want?

When you designed your website, what was at the forefront of your mind?website visitors' wish list

Was it your colour scheme, the graphics you used, the font or perhaps ensuring the latest ‘must have’ gizmos were present?

At any point in the process did you think about the visitors to your site?

Granted, your site has to reflect you and your business, but it also has to offer your visitors what they want.

Yup, sorry, it’s all about THEM.

Your visitors’ wish list

In an ideal world your website has to satisfy these 4 visitor wants:

1. Does it have what I want?

Although they probably found you through a Google search, so in theory your site should be offering what they searched for, have you made it obvious?

The minute they land on your site they have to be able to see that you are offering what they’re looking for.

If your home page (because that’s probably the first page they’ll come to) is full of information about you – how wonderful you are, how long you’ve been trading, what colour your offices are decorated in – they will hit the back browser and disappear faster than a fast thing.

Instead, it should be all about THEM. Tell them how they’ll benefit from what you’re offering. Write your website copy in the second person to make it personal to them; keep the language simple and chatty to engage with them. In other words keep the focus firmly on THEM.

2. Are you trustworthy?

The Internet is a wonderful thing and has opened up all sorts of opportunities for businesses and customers that would otherwise have been closed to them. But because your business is ‘virtual’ and your customers can’t walk into your offices or showroom for a chat, you must use your website to show you are a real company that they can trust.

How do you do that?

Well, a professional site with a good design, great information and clear content is a good start. Throw in an About Us page with substance (showing awards etc.) and testimonials that are attributed to real people to add weight to your reputation.

If you’re mentioned in local newspapers or magazines, again link out to the articles or include a PDF that can be downloaded from your site.

All of these things show your credibility as a company.

3. What do you do?

There’s nothing worse than landing on a website only to be bemused about what the company actually does.

Because first impressions count, make sure your design and images reflect your business activities to strengthen your message.

Your products and services should be clearly stated. Clear navigation should be able to effortlessly steer your visitors to the pages they need for more information. Again, the About Us page that we mentioned earlier should also outline what you can do for your customers.

4. Easy to contact

Making yourself easy to contact will also help the trust issue.

Having a contact form is all well and good, but if you want to be completely transparent make sure you also show your email, phone number and physical address. At least then they are reassured that you really do exist.

And make sure all that information is easy to find. Don’t hide it away in the darkest recesses of your website so only the most skilled of surfers can find it.

Over to you

Have we missed anything?

What are your thoughts about what your visitors want?

Leave a comment below and let’s see how many we can come up with.

Making Your Home Page Copy-tastic

Your home page is probably the most important page on your website.

Creating content to make it effective takes time, skill and quite a lot of know-how.

So, where do you start?

Well, although your home page is probably the page visitors are most likely to arrive on, it isn’t a main sales page.

If you think about it, when you walk into a department store (or any store for that matter), all the goods are set out in relevant departments to make it easy for you to find what you want.  Your home page should be the same; it is the place that directs the visitor to the section of your website they need.

Before you begin creating the content for your home page, you must decide what your objectives are. Do you want your visitors to:

  • Buy something?
  • Sign up for a newsletter/report?
  • Fill out a contact form?

This will determine how you write and lay out your home page.

Let’s take a look at a few of the essential elements that should appear on your home page.

1.  The content

This must talk directly to the reader (i.e. be written in the second person) and tell them what your website is about. It should be obvious from the start what you do and, more importantly, what you can do for your customers. In other words it must show your audience how you are going to make their life better.

2. Establish trust

If you want someone to do business with you, they have to be able to trust you.

How do you create that trust?

Simply by being transparent – show your full contact details (email, postal address and telephone), have a photo of you so they know whom they are dealing with and show testimonials from past clients.

If that sounds a lot for one page, take a look the home page for my copywriting company:

3. Calls to action

You can also see in the above illustration the calls to action.

These are vital to make sure your visitor is taken to the area of your site that is relevant to their needs. You can have more than one, but make sure they are clear and not overwhelming.

4. Clear navigation

Although your content will contain calls to action that will take your readers further into your site, it’s also important to have clear navigation at the top of your home page (and all your pages) so users can easily get to other pages within your site.

5. Links

Your links are like the transport infrastructure of your website so it’s essential to test them to make sure they work. Broken links won’t do anything for your reputation and may lose you potential clients.

There are other elements you could also add in such as search boxes and videos etc., but the elements listed above are really the bare essentials you need to create a good impression, help your visitors find what they want and ultimately, make it easy for them to buy from you.

Over to you

What other elements would you consider essential for a home page?

Leave your comments below.




How Useless is Your Website?

Normally, I write about how to create a strong website, but for the purposes of this post I want to concentrate on the 6 elements that signify your website isn’t working for you.Is your website useless?

For many people, internet marketing means having a website and that’s it.

But just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’ve got it made.

Even though it’s often a long and tortuous route to getting your website published, once it’s pushed live that’s when the hard work really starts.

So how can you tell if your website is useless?

6 characteristics of a duff website

1. Where’s the traffic?

If you’ve just launched your website and wondering where your traffic is, I have some bad news for you. Just because you publish a website doesn’t mean people will come flocking to your door. You actually have to do some work to help them find you.

Blogging, article marketing and social media will all help get your name out there and your website found. As will number 2…

2. Search Engine Optimisation

If your website and its content aren’t optimised, you won’t get found.

Make sure your web designer fully understands SEO and then start reading about it yourself. If you don’t have time to constantly monitor and tweak your website’s performance, invest in someone who can.

Being found in the organic search results is important.

3. Call to action

A website without any calls to action is like a sieve without holes.

If you want your readers to call you, email you or complete an enquiry form, tell them.

You might think they are intelligent enough to work out what you want them to do, but I can assure you, if you don’t spell it out to them they’ll merely wander off to another website.

4. You, you, you

Is your website content all about you?

Is it full of ‘we’, telling your reader all about your company, its achievements and staff etc.?

Well, guess what? They don’t care about you; all they care about is what you’re going to do for them. So make sure your content is written in the second person, concentrates on the benefits they will get and is totally focused on them.

5. Analytics

The last thing on my list is analytics.

Without those, you have no idea how your website is performing or where your traffic is coming from.

But, one word of warning, the new EU Cookie Regulations come in to force later this month (May 2012), so you must ensure your website complies by asking users for their consent to use cookies.

6. Being social

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay.

Make your website social by adding links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts (you do have those, don’t you?).

Engage with your followers, chat with them and offer advice to help make a name for yourself as an expert in your field.

Over to you

Do any of those apply to you?

If so, your website may not be performing as well as it should.

You Need Website Copy – Who Y’a Gonna Call?

Exciting times!Power of website copywriting

You’ve decided your business needs a new website, so it’s time to start planning and budgeting. For many companies, their website shopping list is a bit like this one…

  • Find a great web designer
  • Get a photographer on board for some arty shots
  • Think about keywords
  • Come up with a colour scheme
  • Think of some cool graphics

But there’s something missing, something very important – what about the words?

Nine times out of ten, website copy is overlooked. After all, it’s not that important – anyone can throw a bit of text together…can’t they?

Why web content should be at the top of your list

Why do I need a copywriter? I know my business better than they do.

There’s no denying that, but copywriters don’t profess to know your business better than you because they’re not experts in your business. But they are experts in creating copy that sells.

If you’re still not convinced about the importance of your website copy, think of it this way.

[You’ll need your imagination for this bit.]

Your website is your online showroom.

The design, colour scheme, photos and graphics are your shop fittings – what makes it look inviting.

The copywriting is your sales team patrolling the shop floor, ready to help your customers.

Now, if you write your own copy it tends to be focused on your business, the features of your products and contains lots of ‘we’. That is the equivalent of your sales team huddled together, chatting about what they did last night while your potential customers mill around, get bored and head for the door.

When your copy is written by a professional copywriter it is focused on your customers, their needs and highlights the benefits of your products and services. That is the equivalent of a sales team that:

  • Greets your customers as they come through the door
  • Offers advice about which product/service that would suit their particular needs
  • Counters any buying objections they may have
  • Closes the sale

I know which sales team I’d rather have.

Make your website work

If you don’t make your website copy a priority and get it written professionally, the chances are your website won’t perform.

It won’t attract visitors, it won’t inspire them to do business with you, it won’t answer their questions – basically, it won’t sell.

By understanding the power of words and investing in good professionally written content, you’ll create a website that:

  • Attracts visitors
  • Answers their questions
  • Convinces them to buy
  • Closes the sale

It’s a no brainer.