How to Make Your Website Copy Count

Your website is your online shop – a place where you can promote your products and services and show your new and potential customers why they should buy from you instead of someone else.

Unfortunately, too many people rush their website copy, treating it as an afterthought and not thinking about their readers when they write.

You might think that because you don’t get many website visitors, the copy doesn’t matter too much. But what if the visitors you do get are put off because:

  • You don’t make it clear who you help or how
  • You talk about yourself and not your customers
  • Your copy is dull as dishwater and doesn’t inspire action

Your website copy is like a sales assistant. It should welcome customers in, answer their questions and convince them to take action. It shouldn’t be leaving them confused or frustrated. 

Table of Contents

Do you need a website?

If you’re reading this article because you’re thinking about getting your first website, you might still be wondering whether it’s worth it. 

While technically you don’t “need” a website, it’s definitely worth having one. 

A website is yours – you own it. That means you have full control over it. 

If you rely on a third-party platform, you’re always at risk. What happens if that third-party platform closes down, changes its terms or suddenly decides to increase the prices?

Plus, if that platform is a social media platform such as Facebook or LinkedIn, you might be missing out on customers who don’t use that platform. 

A website can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. 

And you can design your website to suit your business.  You can put whatever content you want on there. You can sell products directly through your site. You can add booking forms, contact forms, and email sign-up forms. You can add videos, blogs, images – whatever you want. 

If you’re worried about cost – don’t be.  You don’t have to spend a fortune getting a site designed – in fact if it’s your first site, you shouldn’t. 

A simple drag-and-drop website is often enough to get you by while you grow your business. 

Think of websites like houses – your first one doesn’t have to be your forever home. You can upgrade, extend, renovate, rebuild or move completely. 

That’s probably the best thing about websites – you can update them as and when things change with your business. You can change the layout, test different call to actions, tweak the copy, add new testimonials and update your blog. You can do it a page at a time or all at once. 

Your business doesn’t stay the same forever, nor should your website – think of it as a work in progress.

5 common website copy mistakes

Before we look at ways to improve your copy, let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make. If you’re guilty of doing any of these, there’s good news – they are easy to fix. A few tweaks and you can transform your website copy. 

Mistake 1: Not optimising the opening line

“Welcome to our website”
“Welcome to <company name>”

If the first line on your home page reads something like the above, change it today.

It’s a nice sentiment – perfectly pleasant. But it’s also a wasted opportunity.

When a potential customer lands on your home page, they want to know whether you offer what they need. They don’t want to search for the answer. They want you to tell them straight away.

So rather than welcoming people to your website, tell them what you do, who you help, or why they should hang around.

“Delicious cakes delivered to your door”
“Accountancy services for busy salon owners”
“Guaranteed ROI or your money back”

These are all far better openers than a welcome message that tells readers absolutely nothing about you.

Mistake 2: Talking about yourself before talking about the reader

It’s amazing how many people open their website by talking about themselves.

No mention of the problems they solve or outcomes they deliver. Nothing about the reader. Just straight in with an “About Us” section.

If you met someone at a party or networking event and all they did was talk about themselves for the first twenty minutes, you’d be looking for any excuse to ditch them. 

Why would your website visitors be any different? They don’t want to know about you – they want to know what you can do for them.

So focus on your reader first. Let them know they are in the right place and give them a reason to stick around. 

Opening with a question or a couple of questions can be a great way of ‘starting a conversation’. Identify a problem they might be having or a need they might have.

“Is your website copy letting you down?”

“Are you tired of attracting the wrong type of enquiry?”

By asking questions, you’re helping your readers figure out whether they are in the right place. And if they are, they’ll keep on reading.

Mistake 3: ‘We-ing’ on people

Some people have a weird tendency to talk extensively about themselves on their website:

“We have over ten years of industry experience and we are passionate about what we do. We offer a wide range of services, and we can tailor our support to suit the needs of any business. We are friendly, reliable and professional. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent service.”

We. We. We.

I refer to this as we-ing on people, and it needs to stop. It’s boring. As I said above, readers don’t want to know about you – they want to know how you can help them. 

And in case you were wondering, this totally applies to the use of the word “I” just as much:

I am a qualified X. I have over ten years of industry experience. I am passionate…”

I don’t care, and nor do your readers.

Because despite what McFly said, it’s not all about you.

So stop talking about yourself and start talking about the reader instead.

Here’s how…

Mistake 4: Burying important information

Your website visitors are busy people, and they don’t want to waste time searching for information. Make it easy for them to navigate your website and find what they are looking for.

Think about each page – what needs to be on there? What questions would readers have about your products or services? What concerns would they have about buying?

Ensure the most important information stands out – don’t hide it. Make your pages scannable by including subheadings or clearly labelled text boxes, so that readers can find what they are looking for quickly.

Include frequently asked questions and testimonials on the pages they are relevant to so readers don’t have to hunt your site for them.

 

Mistake 5. Not including a call to action

Readers expect you to tell them what the next step is, so don’t leave them guessing. Make sure every page has a call to action.

If your reader reaches the end of a page and there is no call to action, you’re putting the responsibility on them to make a decision. Should they call you? Email you? Hunt your website for a contact form? Search for your Facebook page?

People like getting clear instructions as it makes life easier – they don’t have to figure it out themselves and are less likely to make the wrong choice.

So tell people what to do next.

Make your call to action assertive. Put a verb at the beginning – an action word.

Instead of “If you like our content, subscribe to our newsletter”, try, “Subscribe to our newsletter for more great content.”

Instead of “Our new brochure is available to download here,” try, “Download our new brochure here.”

And make it as easy as possible for people to take that action. If you want them to follow a link, include a clickable link or button. If you want them to call you, make sure your number is there in front of them. If you want them to give you money, add a payment portal.

The easier it is to take action, the more likely readers are to take it.

How to improve website traffic

Simply putting your website online and hoping people will find it isn’t enough. You’ve got to let them know it’s there. Otherwise, it’s like building a shop in the middle of a field and not putting a sign up or telling anyone it exists.

Check your Google Analytics to see what kind of traffic you are getting – if the numbers are low, then this is where you need to focus your attention.

The good news is there are several ways of driving more traffic to your site:

Paid advertising

If you have the budget for it, paid advertising, using tools such as Google Ads, can be a quick and effective way of getting visitors to your site. Just make sure you do your keyword research properly, so you maximise your return on investment.

Improve your SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about ensuring that your site gets found in searches. There are lots of technical things you can do to your site, which any good web designer should be able to help you with, but there are some easy fixes you can make yourself too.

Creating blog posts around key search terms will help you get found. And getting quality links back to your site will also help improve your rankings.

This article covers the basics of SEO:

Beginner’s guide to SEO success (Ahrefs)

Blogger outreach

Blogger outreach is about finding bloggers (or journalists) who share a similar audience to you and asking them to link back to your content.

Getting quality backlinks to your website not only helps with SEO, but it also drives extra visitors to your site. After all, if a site they trust is recommending you, then you must be good, right?

Look for blog posts that would logically link to your content, or create content that complements existing articles. The more value-adding your content, the more likely it is that people will agree to link back to it.

For more in-depth articles on how to do blogger outreach effectively, check out these articles:

Attract traffic from social media

Use social media to build up a following and then share links to blogs, vlogs or other content on your site. Think of your website like a shop, your blog like a shop window and social media as the high street. A good shop window will attract high street shoppers and draw them into your shop.

Monitor which content gets the most clicks, likes, shares and comments and then create more content along these lines.

Content marketing

Creating valuable content is an excellent way of generating traffic – as long as you are sharing that content. If it’s keyword-focused, it helps you get found in searches. If you share on social media, via email newsletters, and get others to link back to it, you’ll start to see an increase in visitors to your site.

Check out my guide to content marketing for more tips on using content to win business. 

How to convert more visitors into customers

If you’re already getting lots of visitors to your site, but your conversions are low, then the problem is probably your site itself. Issues could include:

  • Slow to load
  • Links not working
  • Contact forms not working
  • Not optimised for mobile
  • Not clear about what you do
  • No call to actions or contact information
  • Poor content

Check that every page functions as it should, that all the links work and that any contact forms send information to the right place. If everything is working properly, then it’s time to take a look at your content.

If your website copy doesn’t do its job, then it doesn’t matter how well-built your site is or how amazing it looks, you won’t get those conversions.

10 tips for better website copy

1. Tell the reader they are in the right place

When a reader clicks on your website, they will decide within seconds whether you are offering what they need. If they can’t work out quickly whether they are in the right place, they’ll click off and you may never get them back. Get straight to the point and let readers know that you have what they want. Don’t overcomplicate what you do with fancy words and phrases. 

2. Make it personal

Talk directly to your reader. Use “you” as much as possible to make your copy feel more personal.

Instead of; “we are excellent at customer service,” say, “you will benefit from excellent customer service.”

Instead of; “all our clients get a special welcome gift,” say, “you will receive our special welcome gift.”

3. Establish credibility

Building trust is vital and establishing your credibility goes a long way towards doing this. There are numerous ways you can do this on your website:

  • Use feedback, reviews, case studies, testimonials or survey results to show readers that you deliver 
  • Write informative blog posts to demonstrate your expertise
  • Offer guarantees, free samples or trial periods to show how confident you are in your products or services
  • Include accreditations, awards, recommendations, accolades or specialist certifications to prove competency

4. Focus on the benefits

People don’t just want to know what your product does, they want to know how it will benefit them or improve their life. As well as giving information about the features, explain what they mean for the customer.

“It has extra padding to provide greater comfort

“The 12-megapixel camera ensures a high-quality picture

“Made from lightweight material for easier transportation

5. Answer questions

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What would they want to know about your company, products and services? What questions would they want you to answer? Give the reader all the information they need to feel confident investing in you.

6. Use emotion

Emotion has been used as a selling tool since sales began; a desire to belong, fear of missing out, vanity, greed, doubt, lust, curiosity, impatience, intrigue. Words such as ‘free’, ‘discount’, ‘exclusive’, ‘limited’, ‘easy’, ‘quick’,’ luxury’ and ‘unique’ all invoke emotions that inspire people to buy.

7. Reassure your reader

People will have doubts about buying from you, so you need to address these. Price may be one of the biggest deciding factors but if you can convince someone of the value you provide then the price won’t matter. Reassure your reader that they are getting value for money.

Nobody wants to make a bad decision. Offering a money-back guarantee, free trial or extended warranty makes the purchase less of a risk to the customer.

8. Highlight key information

You never know which page of your website a reader will start at or which pages they will visit. Make sure you repeat key information such as your unique selling point, special offers or the main benefits of what you provide on each relevant page.

Even if you only have a one-page website, the reader may only skim the copy; make sure the key points stand out.

Use bullet points, sub-headings or bold text to make it easy for your reader to identify important information.

9. Take time to edit your copy

Don’t rush to get your copy live. Take time to go through it and remove any waffle, repetition and unnecessary words. I always recommend leaving at least 24 hours between writing and editing so you can come back to your copy with fresh eyes. 

The examples below show how a little bit of editing can reduce your word count and improve your copy at the same time. There is nothing terribly wrong with the first version, but the second version is far more appealing. Not only is it shorter in length, but it gets the points across more concisely and it sounds more confident and assertive. 

Cut unnecessary words and phrases to make your copy as concise as possible.

10. Include a call to action

Every page should include at least one call to action; ‘buy now’, ‘add to basket’, ‘donate’, ‘sign-up’, ‘join now’, ‘register today’, ‘request a quote’. ‘contact us’. Whatever action you want the reader to take, make it clear to them what you want them to do next. Include clickable links, share buttons, booking forms or payment facilities. The easier you make it for the reader to take action, the more likely they are to take it.

One last thing…

Write in a tone that is suited to your business and use language your audience will understand. Always remember that your website copy is not written for you, it is written for your visitors.

5 easy ways to update your website

Once your website is up and running, it’s easy to forget about it. Unless you are adding content regularly or changing your product range, you probably don’t look at your site much at all.

Even if you are regularly adding content, it’s unlikely you spend much time reviewing the sales pages. But if you don’t read through your copy often, it can easily become outdated, and that won’t give visitors a good impression of your company.  

The good news is you can quickly freshen up your copy without having to give it a complete overhaul. Here are 5 easy ways to update your website copy…

1.Update testimonials & case studies

You can tell the world how great you are at what you do, but they are more likely to believe it when they hear it from someone else. That’s why testimonials, reviews and case studies are so beneficial. They give you credibility and show that you can actually deliver what you promise.

When you first built your website, you probably added all your best testimonials and case studies, but how many other projects have you completed since then?

Ask clients that you’ve worked with recently to provide a testimonial. Write up the details of your latest projects and use the case studies to showcase your services. Remove any testimonials or case studies that are no longer relevant, for example, those that mention any services that you no longer provide.

Keeping your testimonials and case studies up to date shows potential clients that your work now is still as good as it’s always been (if not better).

2. Check the relevance of date references, accreditations and awards

Skim through your copy looking for phrases such as “last year we…”, “in the last 12 months we…” or “we started our company X years ago”. These type of phrases quickly go out of date.

Pay particular attention to any awards or accreditations that you have mentioned. Is it really going to impress a potential client if you are still talking about an award you were nominated for five years ago (especially if you’ve won even more since then)?

If you are showing accreditation or certification logos on your site, check you are using the most up to date logos and that you are still accredited. You don’t want to get caught out listing a certification that you no longer have, or claim to be a member of an association that no longer exists.

Ensure that any awards, certifications, accreditations and associations you are referencing are up to date and relevant.

3. Update your services

One of the most important things to check is your services pages. Many businesses change, even over a period as short as six months. Maybe you’ve started offering new services, or perhaps you’ve recently stopped offering a service that wasn’t very popular or profitable.

If you have packages, make sure these are listed correctly, and if you are advertising your prices, ensure you have the most up to date prices on your site. If you are still promoting last year’s rates on your site, you could be misleading your customers which won’t impress them.

4. Check your links work properly

It’s a tedious job but going through your content and ensuring that all the links still work is important. Not only does it prevent readers getting frustrated by broken links, but it can damage your SEO if you are linking to any dodgy or expired websites.

Go through all your pages and blog posts, and make sure both the internal and external links work as they should.

It’s also a good idea to test out any enquiry or contact forms to ensure that messages are getting through to the right email address. Otherwise, you might be missing out on lots of new enquiries.

5. Update your blog

I’ve lost count of the number of websites that haven’t updated their blog since their site went live. It’s disappointing to click on a blog and find one post promising loads of interesting content, top tips and updates that have never materialised. If your blog has not been updated in the last 12 months, then visitors might wonder if you are even still in business.

If you have a blog page on your website (many web designers add these in as standard), then either ask for it to be removed or make sure you add content regularly.

Of course, my recommendation would be to maintain your blog and fill it full of valuable content. Blogging regularly can help improve SEO, generate more website traffic and win more business…

Does your website need a blog?

Many marketers will tell you that it takes more than a good blog and decent website copy to win business, but nobody will deny that these two things will help. There’s loads you can do to generate leads and improve your marketing, but working on your website content is a great place to start.

There’s no point sending loads of people to your website if the copy is dull and uninspiring. And an engaging blog, packed with advice, tips and useful information will help you attract more readers.

Benefits of having a blog:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase social media engagement
  • Improve search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Build relationships with potential and existing clients
  • Establish yourself as an expert
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Generate leads
Starting a blog might sound daunting, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be very good at writing. But with all the benefits a blog can bring, it’s something you should definitely consider. And blogging doesn’t have to be tough. You don’t have to post daily or weekly – a quality blog post once a month or an in-depth article once a quarter is more than enough to get started. 
 
If you’re new to the world of blogging, check out my beginner’s guide to blogging.

Hi – I’m Lisa

If this is your first time here, thanks for reading. 

I’m Lisa – owner of Make Your Copy Count Ltd, and author of the ‘A-Z of Blogging’ and ‘The Freelance Fairytale‘. 

I help freelancers and small businesses attract more of the clients they want by providing copywriting training and business mentoring

If you’d like to get to know me a bit better, sign up for my daily email here