Look, I’m going to be harsh with you.
Your pretty, modern, clean, user-friendly website can only get you so far.
Those expensive photoshoots you did are great, but the pictures aren’t the main thing your customer cares about.
And your website can move at lightning speed, but you’re still not going to win.
What is it, then, that takes your website from everyday to something that actually stands out and converts?
Hint: it’s what you’re reading now.
Your Copy is the Single-Most Important Aspect of Your Website
While all of the components of your website (copy, design, code, functionality, accessibility, etc) should work together to create a harmonious example of your awesomeness, your copy is what is going to capture your customer.
Think about it – that picture may be great, but it’s the words on the page that tells your story, explains how you help your customers (what you do), and invites them to connect with you.
So if your copy is the most important part of your website, what can you do to improve it, right now?
1. Focus on the Problems You Solve, Not Your Features
People don’t really care if you offer this thing over that. If your business is really technical, they may not even really understand why your service or product is so much better than your competitor.
What they will get is how you solve their problem.
Go back through your website right now. In your headlines especially, do you answer what pain point you solve? Are you focusing on the benefit of working with you, rather than the features that you offer with your product?
For example, most of my clients don’t really care that I build them custom WordPress websites with contact forms, blogs, and 5 main pages. What they do care about is that I build them WordPress websites that they can update themselves without ever touching a line of code. They also care that the website I build them will always deliver their contact forms without issue and can express their main services and parts of their brand story.
Look at your copy and tweak to ensure that you communicate the problem you solve and less how you solve that problem. (Most of us don’t care – just fix me!)
2. Write in Your Target Market’s Language
This one seems logical, but it’s incredibly hard to do, even for me. Remember that your target market speaks a different version of English than you do. They have terms that they use for the problems they have and your technical jargon probably doesn’t align with that.
Do some research on social media, message boards, and communities and see how your target audience is talking about what their pain points are. I personally am in a couple of Facebook groups not to sell to the members, but because most of the people in those groups are my ideal audience. I get to read all the time what they find difficult in marketing and how they talk about it. And believe me, the terms they use are decidedly not the ones I do.
Remember, you are the expert in the service you’re providing your client. Sometimes that means you’ve gotten a little deep into your own world and forgotten how your target audience actually talks. Doing the research will help you change up how you write and speak to them, and suddenly you’re able to connect better with them.
(Pro tip: this same research is great for finding hashtags to use on Instagram and TikTok)
3. Keep a Consistent Brand Voice/Tone
I’ve screamed about this for years, but your branding is more than just your logo and a couple of colors. It’s your voice in all of your website copy, social media posts, video scripts, and even how you engage with your audience (and 100% how you make them feel).
As you can see, I have a slightly sarcastic tone (I find it incredibly hard to get rid of in any of my writing) that’s mixed in with a more casual approach. I try to avoid using a lot of tech speak and aim for a lot more conversational.
Part of your branding guide should be your brand voice, but sometimes I find that the true brand voice comes out more natually in social media posts than anywhere else.
Go through your social and your website and see if you’re consistent. If you’re not, tweak it! The Content Marketing Institute has a great Brand Voice exercise that you can go through. Once you have it laid out, make changes on your website to fit and then ensure it stays consistent across your social media and content marketing efforts (i.e. your blogs).
4. Include Social Proof to Back Up Your Claims
Share reviews, testimonials, client success stories, results, portfolio examples, anything that shows what you do actually helps the people you’re claiming it helps.
You can share excellent insights and look like you have the best product out there, but without some kind of social proof to back that up, your sell is harder (though not impossible). Your target market will dictate a little bit what you should be using as social proof, but the best thing to do is to ask a few happy customers for their thoughts.
I’ve even had a client tell us a story of how we’ve helped a customer, had us write the review draft, and then sent it to the customer for their input and final approval. It worked much better for his busy, large business owner type of clientele, and helped him mix in the results that he knew he had provided.
What if you have 0 clients right now? That’s OK. Ask a colleague or friend in your target market to review your product or service (freebies for a review, if applicable, can be OK as long as they actually used the service), or have them just endorse your awesome character. Replace those reviews as you sell and always ask for feedback after a sale.
5. Make Your Copy Scannable
No one wants to land on your website and read a novel.
(Yes, I know that I basically wrote a novel in this blog post. Do as I say, not as I do, OK?)
Introduce sections with clear, concise headlines, keep paragraphs short, include bullet points and lists to break up text, and add sections of bolded text (scroll up, you’ll see I bolded all over this article) to make the important pieces stand out.
Think of your website copy like a college textbook. No one is going to read every single line of that thing. They’re going to skim. Just make sure that when they skim, they get the important pieces.
(Fun fact – I actually told my students this week that they can skim their first chapter of their textbook. I’m a terrible teacher already! Or realistic? Yea, let’s go with that!)
Put All the Pieces Together And….
You get a website that is 100% easier to read, digest, and answers your customers’ questions. That means they’re more likely to buy from you and keep buying from you!
Another cool thing? I promise that if you focus on good website copy, improved SEO will also follow. Google really just wants to ensure you’re answering their clients’ questions; if you’re using their terminology, those are your target keywords; and making your copy skimmable means they keep moving through your site (hello higher clickthrough and lower bounce rates).
Improving your copy takes research and a little bit of time, but the payoffs in the long-run are well worth it! Plus, if you feel stuck at any point, I’m always here to help!