Most websites fall flat when it comes to copywriting. Their content is not engaging and not optimised properly, either for search rankings or for conversion – for getting visitors to actually take action. The end result is that most business websites fail to achieve both of their primary goals: they don’t attract many visitors, and those they do attract are usually not compelled or persuaded to take action.
Even if your site is already performing ‘Okay’, chances are it’s only delivering on a fraction of its potential. We’re talking in multiples here: if you double your traffic and double the conversion rate of a page, you quadruple your responses. If you’re not optimising your copy, you’re leaving money on the table every minute of the day.
Effective Website Copywriting Tips
I could write a book on copywriting, and there are plenty of good ones, but here are a few of the most essential points distilled down into a quick-fire format:
Your copy should drive at a pain point or an intense desire. People don’t generally respond to copy which is entirely focused on product details and the ‘bells and whistles’ your product offers. In order to convince people to buy, you primarily have to illustrate in an emotional way how you can solve a massive problem more effectively than your competition, or move them toward some big and important goal they have. (Technical details can be important – for instance, when selling a piece of complicated machinery – but they have to come in addition to emotional motivation, not instead of it).
The better you know what motivates your customers, the more effective you’ll be at persuading new ones. This links in to the previous point: in order to strike at that burning desire or big pain point, you first need to know what those are for the types of customers you want to attract. Talk to people who have bought from you, or in your target market, to find out what their biggest frustrations are and their biggest goals for the future.
Speak to the customers you really want. Bad copy tries to speak to too many potential market segments at once. When you try to sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one because your message is too diluted. Focus on your most high value customer ‘profile’ and laser-focus your copy on that type of customer. This will cut down the time you waste dealing with ‘low value customers’ and ensure you spend more time with the right types of people – the ones who love what you do and are willing to pay well for it, preferably many times rather than just once.
Be excited, but don’t over-do it. A lot of website copy is either too bland or too hyped – few get the sweet spot in the middle. To do this, imagine your copy is a conversation with a friend who you are recommending a product to. This will generally give it the right tone and the right amount of persuasiveness, without being too pushy.
SEO Copywriting 101
Now that we’ve covered the persuasive side of website copywriting, let’s take a look at the traffic side of things: how to write copy which works well for SEO (search engine optimisation) purposes.
Don’t go overboard on keywords. You’ve no doubt seen web pages that are ‘stuffed’ full of keywords. They don’t read naturally, and what’s more this practice is now being target by Google’s spam filters. Basically, you want to stick to having your keyword only a few times in the body copy of your web page, and you only need to target each keyword phrase on one page of your site – there’s no need to try to rank every page for the same keywords. In fact, each page should target one main phrase with a handful of secondary phrases mixed in.
Write for people first and search engines second. There’s a reason I put the persuasion tips before the SEO tips in this article. Don’t get so caught up on trying to cram keywords into your copy that you dilute the effectiveness of your persuasion attempts. Make sure the copy reads well first and foremost, then worry about pleasing Google.
Use synonyms. As mentioned above, Google has started cracking down on web pages that use too many instances of the exact same keyword phrase. Even if you do this by accident, you could still get penalised if you trip off the Google algorithm’s red flags for ‘keyword stuffing.’ So you need to make sure you mix it up and use synonyms in your key phrases – this will not only avoid penalties but actually help you get more traffic by helping you rank for a wider variety of searches.
Target keywords of different competition levels. Don’t just write pages on keywords like ‘golf’ and expect to rank overnight. You’re much better off targeting a variety
Just by applying these few simple tips to your copy, you’ll be able to greatly improve the effectiveness of your site copy for both generating search engine visitors and converting them into customers.
If you’re still having trouble with your website copy, go ahead and get in touch with us for a quote on having professional, effective copy written for your site.
Tom McSherry is the founder and chief strategist of Premium SEO NZ. Tom has been in the digital marketing industry for 8 years providing digital copywriting and optimisation services to businesses in New Zealand and around the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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