Your website is the front line of your content marketing strategy, so don’t cut corners with the copy. If you enjoy our copywriting tips, get in touch with us to speak to the men (and women (and cats)) behind the machine.
The stats on 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 must be something special to grab their attention, inspire action and drive up your website conversion rate.
But, it’s not brain surgery – just tweaking your existing copy can make all the difference. In fact, in one study, 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.
Warm-ups to get the ball rolling
- 1. 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 72 percent decrease in conversions after increasing the amount of copy on their home page. There are some exceptions to this rule, but not many.
- 2. 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.
- 3. Be conversational. Write as you speak, within reason. Use ‘you’ and ‘we’, rather than the third person, and avoid florid language.
- 4. Keep it focused. One topic per sentence, one topic per paragraph, one message per page. Any more and you'll confuse the reader.
- 5. Stay active. Avoid passive sentences and use active words.
- 6. 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.
- 7. 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.
- 8. Make it scannable. Don’t be afraid of sub-heads, bullet points and maybe even a little bold.
- 9. Be objective. Don’t use hype and marketing language, such as ‘couldn’t get any easier’. Instead use the rule ‘show me, don’t tell me’.
- 10. Be descriptive. Convey the information a potential buyer needs to make a decision.
- 11. Use clear visuals. Give potential customers a better idea of what the item or service they’re buying actually looks like.
- 12. Good writing is also essential for SEO – it will bring in free, organic search traffic.
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 six tips below.
Super-boosting website conversion tips
- 13. 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 faced by your personas, and the keywords they use in search queries.
- 14. Align copy with ads you’ve run. Keywords need to match the keywords targeted in any adverts you’ve used. It ensures that the language is consistent between the page and the advert, increasing reader confidence.
- 15. Metatags. Custom write the page title, description and keywords to tie in with the keyword list.
- 16. 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.
- 17. 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) to guide visitors to relevant content and offers. Use hyperlinks in the content to help visitors navigate your website.
- 18. 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. Your readers are busy. Make your copy worth their time.
[This post was edited and updated in 2019]