As an Account Manager at I-COM, I see project after project which gets delayed by weeks and even months on end because clients take an age to put together the copy for their new website. (You know who you are, clients! You are frustrating, but we love you really…) Having started my career in the web as an SEO copywriter, writing copy for websites in a whole range of different industry sectors, I know how difficult it can be to come up with imaginative and interesting copy. This is not to say that it isn’t possible. But it does take a lot of time, thought and effort.
As a helping hand for those facing the dreaded copywriting mission, here are my top 5 tips for writing an interesting and compelling website.
- Focus on the ‘benefits’ of your company rather than just its ‘features’. A potential company might be interested in the fact that your company is a family business and has been operational since 1922 when Grandpa Joe (known as Gramps) first opened on the high street. But only if they are a historian. A potential customer or client will be much more interested and more likely to do business with you if you make it clear what you can do to benefit them.
- Never ever copy the text from someone else’s website to use on yours. Google can tell if you have copied and pasted from someone else’s website and will penalise you accordingly (us industry bods refer to this as duplicate content). Not only is this a potential risk for your website’s success in the search engines, but it will probably read the same as just about everyone else’s in your sector. Certainly not very unique or exciting.
- Make headings interesting and compelling. How many websites do you see that start with the line ‘Welcome to (company name)’. How very polite. But dull. And essentially useless.& Why not begin with a ‘killer’ statement – be it about what your business can do for the customer, or a lesser known industry fact (Did you know that…) This is much more likely to catch people’s attention and encourage them to hang around to read more.
- Remember that your website is a sales tool as well as an information resource. If you have invested time and resources in delivering people to your website, once you have got them there, it is vital that you give them a reason to stay. Internet users are fickle and difficult to please – and will be off before you get chance to say ‘Welcome to our website’ if you don’t give them a reason to stick around.
- Don’t forget to tell people to ring you. It’s amazing how many websites do not tell or invite potential customers to call them. Internet users are lazy and do not want to have to look too hard for information. So make it easy for them! Finish every page with a ‘call to action’ statement – including the phone number and link to the ‘contact’ page.
If all else fails, hire a specialist. Copywriters have tonnes of experience and know how to best describe and enhance your business via the written word. But a word of warning – make sure the copywriter is a web specialist. Writing for the web is a different kettle of fish altogether to writing for a printed brochure.
The copy on your website can make the difference between landing a new customer and losing him to a competitor. Spending time getting your copy right could be some of the most productive time you spend.