Your website is the front line of your content marketing strategy, so don’t cut corners with the copy.
Visitors tend to leave websites within 10 to 20 seconds and only read about 20 percent of the content on each page. Your copy therefore has to be something special to grab their attention, inspire action and drive up your website conversion rate .
But it’s not brain surgery – just tweaking and slimming your existing copy can make all the difference. Indeed, changing the description of a shipping charge on a DVD trial offer from 'a $5 fee' to 'a small $5 fee' increased conversions by 20 percent in one study.
First, the obvious ones:
- Cut your copy. No one has time to read paragraph after paragraph across dozens of pages, no matter how well crafted they are. Cut it down and make sure all the text on your website is pithy and relevant. Highrise, the customer relationship management software from 37signals, saw a 22.72 percent decrease in conversions after increasing the amount of copy on their home page.
- Be direct. Don't feel awkward talking about price and prompting people to sign up to something. Being up front and specific tells visitors what's on offer and exactly how to get it. Skirting around the issue just looks suspicious.
- Verbs not adjectives. Saying your product or service 'saves you $15 dollars a month' is much more persuasive than saying that it's 'cost-effective'. Actions speak louder than adjectives.
- Keep it human. Check the readability of your web pages. Avoid jargon, hyperbole, obscure acronyms, excessive punctuation, etc – they’re all speed bumps for the reader.
- Be conversational. Write as you speak, within reason. Use ‘you’ and ‘we’, rather than the third person, and avoid florid language.
- Keep it focussed. One topic per sentence, one topic per paragraph, one message per page. Any more and you'll confuse the reader.
- Stay active. Avoid passive sentences and use active words.
- Make it scannable. Don’t be afraid of sub-heads, bullet points and maybe even a little bold.
Follow these tips and your website conversion rate will increase. But if you really want to see it sky-rocket then get a little more involved with the four tips below.
Super-boosting website conversion tips
- Optimise for your personas. SEO optimisation alone is useless. Your content needs to be optimised for both search engines and personas. In fact, by creating quality content that resonates with your ideal buyers, you’ll naturally improve your SEO. This means tapping into the main issues of your personas and the keywords they use in search queries.
- Benefits not solutions. Customers want benefits, not features and specs. They’re not looking for 'bigger, better, faster, stronger'. They need to solve a specific problem, so acknowledge that by framing their questions and explaining how your product or service answers them.
- They’re here. Now what? You don’t want your website visitors to just read something, you want them to do something. Employ clear calls-to-action (CTAs) – like we do at the end of our posts now – to guide visitors to relevant content and offers and use hyperlinks in the content to help visitors navigate your website.
A CTA leads the visitor to a landing page, where they complete a form in return for an offer. After submitting the form, they’re taken to a thank you page that lets them download the content, arrange the appointment, start the trial or whatever the offer is. It also suggests the next action in the sales funnel with another CTA. This 'CTA–landing page–thank you page' process is the heart of the conversion process – it seamlessly converts visitors into leads.
- Mix it up. Run A/B tests to work out what sort of copy best fuels website conversion. Try 'sign up for your 30-day free trial' rather than 'sign up for a free trial'. This technique is particularly important for CTAs, landing pages and thank you pages but it should be used for every part of your website.
Copy is too often overlooked for the design of the website, but the words are as much a part of the design as the visuals and structure. The copy on your website is what your ideal buyers are there to read so make it worth their time.
(Hat tip to stanjourdan for the photo)