When is the last time that you looked at your website's copy? (Think about it for a minute.)
Unfortunately, so many businesses throw content on their websites without thinking about it strategically - and what ends up happening is, the content they publish doesn't connect with their target audience, doesn't ask their readers to make a decision, and doesn't generate leads or sales.
As you develop your website design, you need to take extra care that the content you're posting delivers the right message for your brands; not just because people will be reading it, but also because Google will use that content to evaluate whether your site is unique and worthwhile enough to rank higher, or whether it's just another of ten million websites out there that just don't provide readers much value.
What happens to those dime-a-dozen-sites? They don't rank. They don't generate traffic. They don't gather leads or sales. They end up in the dustbin of the world wide web.
But worry not, reader, for there is hope! Once you realize why you need better website copy, you can begin actively working to turn your site into a lead-generating machine by crafting compelling, creative, gotta-read-it content with rich calls to action that will turn mere prospects into decision-makers ... and eventually, buyers and raving fans. So let's cut to the chase.
You need better website copy because...
Your current copy is hopelessly inaccurate
We opened this post with a very important question: just when is the last time that you took a discerning look at the copy on your website design. If your answer is anything other than, "We review our content on a regular, ongoing basis," then you're just not doing it enough.
Your copy needs to evolve constantly to reflect the landscape of your business and your industry, If your site's copy is stagnant, chances are it's inaccurate. The statistics you cite, case studies, your product or service offerings, the people you employ, and even the mission or vision or capabilities of your business might be completely different than what they were when your content was originally written.
Remember, we live in an era of 24-hour news cycles, content overload, and moment-to-moment changes in the public discourse. The result is that people are constantly looking for new information to consume. If your content is stale and outdated, not only is it likely to be totally inaccurate, but it'll leave your potential repeat customers bored and uninspired.
It's not optimized for the search engines
There are keywords that pertain to your business which should show up with some regularity throughout the copy of your website. While "keyword stuffing," or simply littering your copy with keywords that you want to rank for, is a huge SEO marketing no-no, your content must still be keyword-rich.
You see, Google has a powerful robot spider that's judging you. GoogleBot is a "crawler" that looks at your site every seven to ten days, and it wants to know what you're all about. One of the things it looks for is the relevant keywords that people will naturally use to find you in a search. This crawler literally attempts to interpret what your business is an expert in, and it evaluates you against other sites that offer similar products and services.
Strategically and naturally including the keywords you want to rank for within your content is one of the best things you can do to help optimize your site for the search engines.
It contains duplicate content
If the copy on your website appears anywhere else online, it is considered "duplicate content," which is a massive Google faux pas. Why? In a nutshell, Google's goal is to make sure that the content you're presenting to the public is:
3. Demonstrates your competence within your industry
When Google sees duplicate content, it can't tell which version to index or de-index in its search results, which to build link authority to, or even which to rank. It usually ranks the site that posted it originally or the site that is more authoritative. "Duped" content includes any or all of the following.
- Copy from other websites that is copied and pasted to your own.
- URL parameters that create multiple copies of the same content on your site.
- "Printer-friendly" versions of your web copy.
- Distinct session IDs that refer to the same content.
Yes, this sounds scary - and yes, it can become a complicated issue. Moz actually has a great resource for dealing with duplicate content issues.
There are grammar and spelling errors galore
"Grammar and spelling don't matter to the people who visit my site!"
Wrong! There's honestly no easier way to discredit a business as an intelligent, powerful, and authoritative resource than to have a site that's rife with errors. This isn't an issue of being some poetic, prim-and-proper grammarian like your high school English teacher would praise.
In fact - if you write web copy that way, it's probably not appropriate for your audience (more on this below). What's more important is showing the world that your business truly cares about the details.
Typos and misspellings make it seem like you didn't bother to even give your copy the once-over before you decided to share it with your site's visitors. It also demonstrates that you haven't taken the time to review it since you posted it.
Pay close attention to your copy and ensure it's free from those persnickety little things that might cause a customer to view you as unprofessional. A simple review of your copy, or a second fresh set of eyes to look for any errors you might have missed, will go a long way in improving the readability and developing the authority of your site.
There's not enough of it
Too little copy is just as problematic as too much. In order for a page to be properly optimized for the search engines, you simply can't get by with fewer than 300 words. That means your message will have to be carefully crafted to grab your readers' attention and propel them to take some action.
Remember that one of the primary purposes of your site is to generate leads. You want to ask visitors to your website to make a decision, which in the marketing field is referred to as a call to action.
In general, follow this rule. Bearing in mind that 300 words is the minimum, shoot for that benchmark when you're writing web page copy. Use exactly the number of words that you'll need to get across a powerful point, an idea, and generate a call to action - but use no more words than you'll need.
There's way too much of it
Slow down there, Dickens! When you go to a website to find useful information and you have to scroll endlessly searching for the nugget you're looking for, chances are you're going to bounce to another website that gives it to you upfront.
When people come to your website they're typically looking for information that answers a problem they're looking to solve. If those answers end up buried in a wall of text, they're not going to bother reading at all. It's more likely that they find another site - perhaps one of your competitors - that pay mind to their issues immediately. And rest assured those answers will build loyalty to that competitor, resulting in a future sale and perhaps an ongoing relationship.
A less important, but still critical, issue is that walls of text can cause your pages to load slower. If the text density of your site forces people to wait, rest assured that they won't.
It's all about you
How many websites do you visit that read something like this?
- We're the #1 provider of insurance solutions in Tuscaloosa!
- Since 1960, we've grown from a one-man business to a team of 12 HVAC professionals.
- Our firm has handled hundreds of personal injury cases.
We, we, we. But the fact is, most people who visit your site don't care too much to hear about you. They're far more interested in what you can do for them. It doesn't really matter to them whether you think you're number one, or whether you've been around since 1960, or how many people work for you, or the number of cases you've "handled." (What does "handled" mean, anyway?)
Make your copy customer-focused, messaging that identifies problems and offers solutions. Your business will naturally be mentioned from time to time, but it won't be the focus. For example, instead of the snooze-fest listed above, consider how powerful these businesses' messages could have been if they were framed around customer benefit:
- Worry-free. Hassle-free. Time-saving. We offer comprehensive coverage that you'll love.
- ABC Heating and Cooling: Delivering comfort solutions for your entire family.
- Our family firm will take care of your personal injury needs and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
It's written to the wrong audience
Sometimes the tendency to try and sound overly intelligent or verbose ends up making your text wordy, dry, and really unappealing to your reader. Maybe the product or service you offer is the best in the world, but if you bore your reader by instructing them rather than having a conversation, you'll only end up losing them in the process.
Do you know who your ideal customer is? Write to her or to him! Speak at their level, show them that you understand their struggles and demonstrate that you - not your competitor - are the best company to meet their needs.
There's no use being wordy or highfalutin when you write your web copy. Instead, focus on being persuasive and engaging. The companies that truly understand their ideal customer and write to them are the ones that generate conversions. Never underestimate how much people love feeling understood.
There's no use being wordy when you write your web copy. Instead, focus on being persuasive and engaging. The companies that truly understand their ideal customer and write to them are the ones that generate conversions. Never underestimate how much people love feeling understood.
It wasn't written by a professional
It can be extremely difficult for a business owner to view his or her website's copy objectively. One of the best things you can do to ensure that your copy is targeted, free from error, lead-generating, accurate, highly persuasive, and fully optimized for the search engines is to work with an expert in all of these things.
Copywriting services are generally cost-effective, and in terms of the leads and sales that powerful copy will generate, outsourcing your website's messaging will pay for itself many times over.
Whether you hire an agency or a freelancer, make absolutely sure that you know what you're paying for. The person with whom you work will need a full understanding not only of your business, but of your ideal customer.
You'll also need someone who's reliable, easy to work with, and someone whose past work resonates with your business. Make sure that the terms are settled before beginning the project so that you can manage expectations, and make sure that you hire someone with a sterling reputation and a great body of work.
The way your website is written says so much about your business.
We'd love to answer any questions about your website needs so leave a comment below or get in touch. Get in touch with our website design and SEO company today!