At some point on your target customer or client’s buying journey, it is very likely that they’re going to look at your website. So it’s vital that the site is set up to enable to help them take the next step on that journey, and your copy is a vital part of that process.

Writing effective copy isn’t just a case of being able to articulately summarise what you offer, or making sure there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. There is so much more it can help you do, and understanding this potential is the first step towards unlocking a much more effective website.

Here are five things your website copy should be able to achieve:

1) Guide your visitors to their required destination

While you’ll know your ideal target client and hopefully have at least one client persona, every person who arrives on your website will be slightly different. They may be at different stages of the buying journey, for example, or perhaps they have different criteria for assessing whether they need your products or services. Some will want to know more about the team they could be working with, for example, or the journey behind the brand - the kind of things you’d find on an About page. Others will want specifics about the various services, while some will just want to find a contact number so they can give you a ring. Your web copy needs to get them to the right place as quickly as possible, which is why navigability is so important - something copy helps with through things like clear subheads and calls to action.

2) Convey brand personality and values

Every element of your marketing mix builds towards the impression people have of your brand. Brand voice is an incredibly important part of this, helping your target audience to get a sense of whether you’re a good fit for them. Two things that a strong brand tone of voice will communicate through your website copy is your brand personality and values. In other words, by reading just a few lines of text on your website, a visitor should be able to tell whether you’re a fun, friendly brand like Innocent Smoothiesor Mailchimp, or an innovative one like Dyson or IBM, and they should know if you care about the environment or are focused on being a pioneer in your field.

3) Communicate both benefits and features

Your website needs to be able to communicate both what it is that you do and how that will benefit your target audience. Benefits should be immediately apparent, because they are what cause the emotional reaction that will hook your target audience’s attention and get them to explore your site further. But it’s equally important to ensure you provide at least some key features about your products and services, and about your business itself, so that when they come to evaluating you, your potential client has some facts to work with. That might be anything from a break down of service packages to your team’s qualifications and other businesses you’ve worked with.

4) Improve your search rankings

While SEO experts agree that content should be produced first for the reader and secondly for search engines, it’s still important that you factor in search when creating or commissioning your website content. Good website copy will include relevant key words and phrases in such a way that Google and the rest of them understand which search results your site should be included in, but without ruining the reader experience with clunky phrasing. In particular, key words need to appear in header lines, as well as ‘hidden’ places like meta tags and image alt text.

5) Drive action in your visitors

It sometimes feels like the goal of all marketing is to get people to visit your site. But if they visit and then leave without doing anything, have you really achieved your goals? Surely the idea is to get people to make contact by phone or email, fill out an enquiry form, book a consultation, start a free trial, sign up to a newsletter or some other tangible action that moves them closer to a purchase decision. That’s why your website copy needs to include strong calls to action that positively and consistently move visitors towards a desired result.

Have a look at your website now, and see which areas you’re doing well in and which ones could be improved. Ask a few trusted individuals to give you their feedback, perhaps even current clients who can tell you about their user experience.

If you'd like a thorough assessment of your website from me personally, drop us a line and ask about our new Website Health Check service.

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