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New companies need to invest in what matters most, and web copy is one of those things. However, not all companies can hire a copywriter right out the gate. And if you’re in such a situation, this article will help you write web copy without copywriting experience.
Why Good Web Copy Is Crucial
People tend to make snap judgments. On the web, it takes 50 milliseconds (or 0.05 seconds) for a person to form an opinion about your website. For in-person interactions, research suggests that it takes a tenth of a second to form an impression.
As soon as someone begins to read your copy, an impression of your business is developed, which can help or harm the brand. That’s why good copy is vital. But it’s not only the copy that matters – both the website design and copy have to work well together.
For your website, WordPress makes it easy to create a site, and you can use pre-designed templates to get started. Copy works better when the design is great.
And if you’re concerned about being able to write good copy, don’t worry. If you’ve ever written an essay or school report before, you can write web copy. The most important aspect of website copy is to address the ideal customer.
Describe Your Ideal Customer
Before you write, visualize and describe the ideal customer in painstaking detail. That can make your copy more personalized and enable it to evoke the right emotions. The reader should feel that you wrote the copy for them specifically.
One shortcut you can take for the process is to identify a current customer with the qualities desired, then describe that person in detail. Why does the customer use your product? You can include demographics details (e.g., age, location, income, etc.), but go beyond that by including dreams, worries, hopes, passions, and other similar characteristics.
Knowing the ideal customer will also help you use the right voice – language that the target audience would use to describe your products. The easiest way to capture the right customer voice is by analyzing reviews for your business and that of the competition.
When you write for the ideal customer, your copy becomes more persuasive.
Emphasize the Benefits, Not Features
Don’t spend too much time talking about how great your product features are; instead, hone in on the benefits. Features describe what a product is; benefits are what the customer can accomplish with the product. People visit your website to solve a specific problem or fulfill a need.
Sometimes, you may have to discuss your product’s features to highlight innovation, for example. In that case, tie the benefits in with the features. Here are a couple of examples.
The following web page discusses all the features of the FLIR Quasar Premium Mini-Dome security camera.
Not once does the above copy mention the product benefit. Maybe the company assumed that a security camera’s benefit is obvious or the target audience only cares about features. Nevertheless, the copy could have started with something like, “Deter criminals, close monitor activities, and keep your team safe in the most demanding environments. The FLIR Quasar…”
The following is an example of a benefit-driven copy from PYCO, a petty cash tracking application.
The headline mentions the prime benefit right away, “Take control of your financials,” and the rest of the copy highlights every other benefit. That’s how you should write your copy; tell the customer what your product will allow them to accomplish.
Think of The Tone
The tone of voice is how the character or personality of your company comes through in words. Do you want to adopt a serious tone or a lighthearted one? Or perhaps, a humorous tone would best suit your organization. Consider how you want to come across or be perceived as a brand and keep the tone consistent across your website and other platforms, such as social media channels.
- “How to Become a Jedi-like Website Auditor” vs. “Learn How to Audit a Website.” Both headings use a different tone to convey the same benefit.
- “About Us” vs. “Get to Know Us” – you can name the sections on your website using the chosen brand tone.
- “Now you can find your keys thanks to our newly implemented feature” vs. “Now you can find your keys no matter what with our new hot feature.”
Try to avoid repetition as it relates to messages conveyed on individual pages – for instance, no need to include the same user reviews on every page. In general, people interested in your products or services will move through the site, visiting several sections.
However, for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, repetition of primary keywords is important. For example, if you sell an eCommerce personalization software, mentioning terms like ‘website personalization’ and ‘eCommerce personalization’ throughout the site is important.
Proofread and Edit the Copy
Proofreading is something that most people know to do – your copy shouldn’t have grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Editing, however, isn’t something everyone remembers to do.
One of the hallmarks of a great copywriter is editing copy while keeping the intent in mind. Aim for short, punchy sentences that balance simplicity, elegance, clarity, and evocativeness.
Consider the following tips when editing your web copy.
- What is the intent of the page? Is the copy meeting that intent?
- Compile a list of benefits, features, and consumer objections relevant to your product, so you can more easily apply ideas and write persuasive copy.
- Tighten your text to boost readability. In other words, keep sentences short and to the point.
- Many on the web scan web pages before deciding whether to remain or leave a particular page. So, consider ‘scanners’ as you edit your copy – use subheadings and bullet points to break up the content strategically.
- Read the copy aloud to make sure it reads well. Is it persuasive? Does it speak to the ideal customer?
Writing is only one aspect of web copy. Hours of research should go into gathering insights about your target audience. When you know who you’re writing for, creating good persuasive copy becomes a bit easier.
As a business, the goal of each line of copy is to advance the reader towards taking action. That could be requesting a quote, buying a product, joining your newsletter, or any action that matters to the organization.
Lastly, while you can get by without a copywriter initially, you’ll need one eventually. It’s worth hiring a professional in the future to go over your copy, address issues, and leverage opportunities. Good luck.