Let me share with you a secret for a successful website.
The copy. Or content. Or text. The words on a website.
Many people pay attention to the visuals of a website, how graphics look and what colours to use but I would like to add that the best looking website in the world will not catch your prospect’s attention if your website copy/content/words are boring, cold and impersonal.
Website copy is the least mentioned feature of any website.
However, it is one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of a website. (Website copy refers to the text or words on your website.)
In many cases, what is found on websites are just words taken directly from a company brochure or Powerpoint presentation. They’re impersonal, cold and speak to a group, instead of to you, the customer.
Most times, the words are generic – they say the same thing over and over such as “the best in the industry”, “strive to achieve your expectations”, “your best partner” and more.
Big words but also empty words which don’t mean a thing.
The right words on your website can make your business sizzle instead of just simmer. The right words can send the right message. The right words put your business in positive light.
In short, the right words help you sell.
So how do you ensure you’ve got the right words? Here are some tips on website copy.
1. Use simple words.
Oh how the world loves complicated, big and long words although short ones often will do. Look through your own website copy and cut out all the unwieldy words. Use a dictionary and find simpler synonyms. Why short/simple words? People want to understand what you’re saying. If they get a headache trying to understand, it shows you haven’t communicated.
2. Make it positive.
Positive words always sound better on your website. (Who wants to read negative copy really?) Positive words are easier to understand and remember. Leave phrases like “not uncommon” to literature, not on your website. Of course it is not possible all the time to be positive.
In cases where you cannot be chirpy and positive, try to ‘soften’ the negativity if you can. Replace negative words with positive or neutral connotation words. In short, don’t transmit your information negatively if you can do it positively!
3. Look at benefits and advantages.
People go for one particular radio station – the WIIFM. It’s called “What’s In It For Me?” This “station” rules their heads when they read your web copy. If you don’t give them what they need, they’ll disappear. So tell them upfront what’s in it for them.
Why should they read more, read on or buy your product/service? This is where benefits rule. Tell me why this product is amazing for me (I don’t care if it has 10 new knobs or 23 different colours). Tell me why your service is better than your competitors. Convince me.
4. Speak to one, not many.
On the web, assume you are speaking to one person, not a whole stadium. This helps you write on a one-to-one basis which in turn helps you become very much like a friend, instead of a business.
5. Be active, not passive.
When you are writing, replace passive sentences with active sentences. The active voice helps to involve your reader and prompts a reaction. For instance, which of the below sounds better?
a. The book was returned by Alice.
b. Alice returned the book.
So pay attention to the words you write for your website. The right website copy brings an emotional dimension to your business. It helps you stand out from your competition. Now isn’t that a good enough reason to write better?
Tip: Brush up on your grammar (if it isn’t polished already) by reading William Strunk’s The Elements of Style (circa 1918 – just shows good advice is timeless!) available FREE from www.bartleby.com/141