Today we have our second guest post from Julia McCoy, CEO of Express Writers.
You’ve purchased your domain and written up product descriptions, an about page, and, of course, the homepage, but it seems that your website is hardly getting any views. You might even notice that you get a few visitors, but they seem to leave your site quickly without looking around. What’s the big deal? Obviously they can’t smell your breath or something like that, and, all-in-all, your website looks pretty awesome, so what could it be?
It is quite possible that your copy needs to be ten times as engaging or that you need to put a little more elbow grease into the written content. As Digital Journal points out, a nice looking website isn’t all you need – you need some excellent content too. If this is where you’re at then this blog is perfect for you! This blog is going to take a look at the different steps that you can take to write high-quality, engaging website copy that you will be immensely proud of.
1. Correct SEO Optimization. How the heck do you do this right…wasn’t there a new Panda, Penguin, etc. just in the past 48 hours? Change that to a couple years, and you’re correct. While Google does change things, their biggest updates have been to validate engagement and honor well-researched, well-written material.
Moz’s description of an ideally optimized web-page is awesome, and interestingly enough, says little to nothing about “keyword density” of a page. In fact, they’ve also started thinking that keyword density is the sure way to destroy yourself in writing web copy. I couldn’t agree more. In over 5 years now of writing web content, I’ve seen a major shift from keyword focus in web content to non-keyword-focused, quality-focused factors in the SERPs.
So, in the end, my advice is to not worry about the amount of keywords you’ve used. Just throw a “few” to your writer to help them see what the theme of the page is, but don’t try counting. Think about your readers, audience, and research instead.
2. Be Descriptive. Were you ever captivated by Tolkien? That awesome author could take up to five or more pages describing a tree. You don’t need to go that far, but you do need to get descriptive with your web copy.
If this is for a product description, describe how it will help people out. For example, if you are selling an all-natural sleep aid, make sure you describe just how well it will get people to sleep without the harsh drawbacks of habit-forming prescription drugs. Use these descriptions to sell your product and make people want it.
If the copy is for your home or about page, still describe things. Describe how you came up with your product or services, describe yourself, the company, and anything else you can think of. This will instantly draw readers in and make them feel like they are already getting to know you.
3. At The Same Time, Keep It Simple. Not to contradict #2—another part of engaging content is simplicity, as well as being descriptive and creative. When you are writing engaging web copy, you need to keep it simple. If you write overly complex product descriptions or other copy, you will find that you don’t keep readers around for very long.
Many people seem to think that if you write high quality, it has to be filled with long words and industry jargon. Nothing scares customers away quicker than copy like that. It is more than fine to write copy that uses simplistic words and describes things instead of using jargon only those in the industry will know.
Kissmetrics even suggests using broken sentences. Yes, we know, that made us gasp too! They use the example of Apple and how well Apple connects with their client base and converts visitors into leads. One way is simply by using broken or even just short sentences. If you don’t feel like breaking the rules of the grammar gods, then consider just writing shorter sentences instead. (This doesn’t mean short content lengths, or shorter blogs – just more readable, simpler sentences and wording.)
4. Address The Problem. It’s simple—but I’ve seen piles of web pages ignoring the major rule of engaging website copy: addressing the visitors’ problems! You know that people are coming to your website because of one thing and one thing only – they want to know if you can help them.
Your web copy needs to show people that you can and will solve their problems. Let’s go back to the sleep aid example. You know that people will be looking for an all-natural way to go to sleep because of all the negative press out there about prescription sleep medication. Present this problem to your readers in a way such as, “Is getting and staying asleep difficult for you? It is for many people!” Then, answer the problem, “This doesn’t have to be a problem for you any longer. Our sleep aid promises to get you to sleep and help you stay asleep without any harsh consequences like prescription sleep aids!” This shows that your product will solve the customer’s problem.
5. Sub-headers: A Tool For Engagement. Sub-headers are some of the best ways to engage with readers. Seems a little strange, but you will find that sub-headers are going to help you out tremendously when it comes to getting people to read your web copy. It breaks up the monotony of reading long pieces and gives information right away as people skim through your copy.
Did you skim this to see if it would offer you anything useful? We are quite sure you did, which is a great example of what the majority of people on the web do daily. This isn’t just for blogs or your About and Information pages, but also for your product descriptions. Yes, they might only be between 250 and 500 words, but those sub-headers are going to help you out immensely.
6. Headlines – The Name of the Game. Headlines are some of the most important elements of any copy, no matter what you are writing. You need something that will convince people to click on your site when you show up in search results and then something that will entice them to buy from you. If you are unsure about how to write a headline, consider writing the first one that comes to your mind and then write two extras; you may find a better one that way and it will get your creativity juices flowing pretty well!
7. Bullet Points Are A Winner. Who doesn’t love a good bullet point list? Bullet points are a great way to follow one of Copyblogger’s suggestions for writing seductive web copy: write about the features your product holds but in such a way that people can skim through and get the necessities without having to work through several lines or paragraphs.
You can also do this for the list of objections you may be addressing and answering for your customers. Whatever the copy, use some bullet points. People will love you for it and will be more likely to purchase a product they can quickly learn about instead of one that they have to work to understand.
8. Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Oops. Like we mentioned earlier, you need to write your content in a simple manner. You must make sure it can be read by anyone. In fact, many suggest that you need to write at more of a fifth-grade level because of the average reading level.
Write your descriptions in laymen’s terms so anyone who happens across it will know what you are selling. If people have to work hard to understand what your copy is saying, they aren’t going to stay around for long. Someone’s reading level might even be quite high, but many people don’t want to work too hard when they are on the Internet – remember this as you start crafting content for your website.
9. Establish The Expert. When writing engaging, high-quality web copy, you must establish that you are an expert. Describe any pertinent information about your product, give statistics and other data to back it up, and always make sure you write in an authoritative tone. If you sound like you aren’t too sure about something, people aren’t going to believe you know your field.
You don’t want that to happen, so instead of feeling hesitant, feel confident. You might be the smartest person in your field, but that can be easily masked if you write in a manner that doesn’t sell yourself or your product. Don’t worry about sounding snobbish – sell your product and tell people why it is the best product out there.
10. Write For Your Audience. Lastly, but most importantly, know who you are writing for before you write content. This is a mistake some seem to make because they have yet to research the audience they hope to reach.
If you are an older individual but are hoping to get your product and service into the Millennial crowd, you need to make sure you truly understand how to reach them. Take some time to research what they like, how they talk, and what websites are their favorites. This goes for any age range or customer background. If you are writing for a counterculture, make sure you understand them. This is crucial to great web copy. Research, research, and research some more!
Following these ten steps will help you write some really great, engaging copy that will sell your business, product, and services. If you are still unsure about writing engaging copy, take some time to practice. As the adage says, practice makes perfect! Have fun and start crafting some wonderful copy.
About the Author:
Julia McCoy is the CEO of Express Writers, an online copywriting agency that she founded in 2011, with thousands of web content pages written to date and more than 50 talented writers in the team. Her passion is copywriting, SEO, and all that pertains.