I have 8 seconds to capture your attention and engage you to keep reading (or take action on my website). I am not a professional copywriter but I do have very useful tips for writing website copy. And... it's true, you only have 8 seconds to engage your reader and convince them that your service, organization, or product will "solve their problem" or "make their life easier and more fulfilled" - so let's get started!
Below are 15 key tips to consider before writing website copy (or rewriting) - each tip is equally important! Grab a cup of tea and read through each and ABSORB.
If you'd like me, or a professional, to write your copy for you - please reach out. Happy writing!
1) Who is Your Target Audience?
Determine your target audience and lean into their world (get in their heads) - what is driving them to your site? Who are they? Why are they in need of your service/product? How are they feeling? What is their life like? What resonates with them?
2) Solve Their Problem
Now... solve your potential client's problem. Your copy should primarily be about describing how your service/product/organization will solve your potential client's problem and make their life better. Once you step into the shoes of your target audience - write your content to them - this builds empathy and trust - which increases engagement with your service or product.
3) 8 Seconds
You have 8 seconds to capture the readers attention, interest and engagement. Your first 2-3 sentences are key. Start your copy with some exciting data, a 1 sentence story, or a question. If you manage this, your next challenge is to get the reader to stay on the site and take action (book as session make a purchase, etc.)
4) 1st or 3rd Person Perspective
The first thing to consider is whether you want distance between you and the audience. If you want to bring readers close to you, first person is the best choice (casual, personal, engaging). If you prefer to create distance, you should go with third person (professional).
5) Benefits over Features
Emphasize the benefits of the service/product to your reader over the features. Inspire them with how you will solve their problem, how they will feel, what they will learn, what they can achieve, instead of what the service entails.
6) Call to Action (CTA)
The purpose of your web copy is to encourage some kind of action (make a a purchase, book a session, subscribe to your blog, or join your mailing list, etc.) By using clear call to action words (like “Join,” "Book Now," “Sign Up,” "Become a Member", “Subscribe,” and “Learn More”) you can help initiate the desired activity.
7) Nuts & Bolts
You've engaged the reader now they want the basic practical details. The who, what, where, when, how, and how much? Searching for this info frustrates viewers so the nuts & bolts need to be easy to read and easy to find. Make services and pricing easy to understand (60 mins/ $100 instead of 55 mins/ $96).
8) Direct Messaging
Use “you” to address your reader: "you can order our services" instead of "the client can order our services". The exception is when your target users are not the copy readers in the case of parents reading the website for a service for their child.
9) Testimonials - Proof
Your existing clients are brilliant at describing exactly what you do and how it solves their problem. They tell your story for you simultaneously providing proof that your work is valuable. Reach out to them and collect as many testimonials as you can.
10) Active Voice
Stay in the active voice: use sentence structure like "Order our services” instead of “Our services can be ordered.”
11) Short & Snappy
Use short sentences – they help to communicate your message clearly.
Limit the use of adverbs and adjectives in order to keep sentences short and snappy.
12) Inspire Don't Tire
Avoid using professional jargon – not all readers are experts, so replace professional terminology with simpler alternatives and provide hyperlinks to other articles with more background information. For example, in the yoga world "embodiment practices" (jargon) can turn into "Change the way you move - change the way you think - change the way you feel."
13) BRIEF Examples
Provide brief examples – readers better visualize your messages with examples rather than high-level statements.
Websites should be scannable - most viewers don't read every word. We will use sub-titles and testimonials to create a scannable story. Photos also speak 1000 words.
15) Energizing Your Written Voice
There is an energy exchange going on between you and your reader so before writing copy lean into your inner super power to increase the vitality and light in your written voice. Be aware of your physical, mental, emotional energy levels - if feeling depleted -come back later when you feel rejuvenated.
If You Get Stuck
It can be cathartic to write EVERYTHING out (your whole story, how everything came to be, all the reasons why your services are meaningful & important, and every detail and feature about each service, etc.) Get it all out there - a real "brain dump". THEN, pull back, look at the whole thing, and see if there's a main thread through it all - the essence - write the essence down in one sentence (it doesn't have to be perfect). Then, take the rest and whittle it down and whittle it down some more. I'm here to help!