I’ll bet you a big bar of Cadbury Fruit & Nut that the copy, i.e. the text, on your website needs improving.
(If you knew how much I like Fruit & Nut…)
Why does your website need better copy?
Well, as soon as a user lands on your site and starts reading, you’re making an impression.
Think about your favourite web sites.
What do you love about them?
Their copy probably sounds like it’s written for a real human with feelings and emotions.
It’s written like they’re talking to you.
This means it’s probably going to be more persuasive.
Therefore, there’s more chance you’ll convert from reader to customer.
And that’s why your website needs better copy.
Here, we’ve pulled together 16 top tips for improving the copy on your website.
1. Write the way you talk.
And write how your audience talks.
It’s easier to read.
2. Show personality.
People will engage with you and trust you more.
They’re more likely to remember, return and make contact.
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken”
3. Simplify your writing.
This isn’t patronising your reader. It’s just making it easier for them to engage.
Avoid fancy words and sentences.
Get rid of industry jargon.
Use everyday words.
Your reader shouldn’t notice your copy. It shouldn’t get in the way of your message.
4. Describe the benefits, not the features.
Tap into the needs of the consumer and how your product or service meets those needs.
Focus on the benefits - it makes the reader’s decision to buy, click or make contact, much easier.
“Don’t sell the steak – sell the sizzle”
5. Is your web copy easy to scan read?
Make your web copy easy to digest.
People scan web copy, they glance through it. It's different from reading a book.
So, avoid big chunks of text.
Headers and subheaders telling readers what to expect in a section.
Bullet lists for key information.
Look at how the introduction to this article is formatted. Break rules to make your copy easier to read.
6. What are your readers looking for? What do they want?
Your readers are probably:
Looking for information
Solving a problem
Searching for a product or service
So, give them want they want.
Make sure your content delivers what your customers are looking for. Make it relevant to them.
7. Use keyword phrases.
Use keyword phrases to help your users find what they’re looking for.
At a basic level, if a user is looking for a web design agency in Oxford, they type “web design agency Oxford” into Google. So, I make sure my copy includes the phrase “Oxford web design agency” in a header and sentence, making sure the context is still relevant and informative.
It’s obvious – help your conversion rates by using keyword phrases that your users will search with. It’ll help them find what they’re looking for quicker.
Use an SEO agency to audit your site and to supply appropriate search phrases.
8. Prioritise your content.
Put the most relevant information at the top.
Use the first few paragraphs to hook readers and keep them.
Include product benefits, supporting statistics, event details etc. in the upper portion of the webpage.
9. Tap into emotions.
Even though you’re writing for a particular sector or persona in mind, don’t forget, it’s still an individual human who’s reading it, with feelings and emotions.
So, write with a person in mind and talk directly to them.
“People rarely buy features. People sometimes buy benefits. People always buy emotion.”
Glenn Fisher, AllGoodCopy.com
10. Second-person voice.
Use ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘you’re’ in statements and questions (this is called second-person voice). It’s direct, convincing and appeals to readers. Look how many times I used the second-person voice in the introduction. I even used it in the title.
11. Know, think, feel, do.
Does the knowledge, thoughts and emotions in your web copy guide your reader to the action you’re looking for?
12. Use the correct grammatical form in bulleted lists.
This is a pet peeve of mine, but it does make a difference: make sure each bullet has the same grammatical form.
Scroll up and look again at the bullet list in point 5.
Notice how each of the listed points flows correctly from the “…readers are probably” opening?
Now, look at what happens if I write this:
“Your readers will probably:
Can you see (and hear) the difference?
It’s subtle, but it jolts. It makes for a bumpy ride.
13. Use an active voice, not a passive voice.
Bit of a technical one this, but extremely helpful. Passive voice is where you make the object of an action into the subject of the sentence.
The classic example is:
Active: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Passive: Why was the road crossed by the chicken?
Watch out for passive words like: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been.
Use an active voice. This will help simplify and tighten up your writing.
14. Use an editor e.g. Grammarly.
Editors are great for making suggestions, catching typos, highlighting complicated sentences, hitting style targets etc. You’ll be surprised what they pick up.
15. Include visuals.
Readers get put off by large chunks of text. Give them a visual break.
Tip: Imaginative cropping can make so-so images more interesting.
16. And one more thing.
Don’t be afraid to use ‘And’ at the start of a sentence. Yeah, you were taught the opposite at school, but remember point #1 – write the way you talk. And another thing - it helps your copy flow more.
So, there you go. Take a look at your website copy with this new-found knowledge.
Need some advice from a friendly Oxford web design agency about your website or any potential project?
P.S. Use a P.S. – it’s a personal touch that grabs the reader’s attention. It’s a great opportunity to give your reader another reason to buy, click or call. Try a time-limited offer or reward, or just remind them of a key benefit.
P.P.S. Don't forget the Fruit & Nut.