Is your website actually working that hard for you right now, or is it a bit of a part-timer? Great design and impactful fonts aren’t enough. Your web site has to say what it is you do in a way humans and search engines like Google can easily understand.
Your website is a vital member of your sales force but are you getting all the work out of it that you expect? It’s essential that you convey the right message you want your audience to hear so your website can do hard work for you.
So, write up trendy marketing copy with the right buzzwords and whack it into your website and job done, right? Well, no. Nowadays, both humans and Google expect to see a better effort.
The bad news is most business owners don’t see results thus they stop trying. The good news is this is fixable. It’s 2020 and a load of marketing nonsense is just going to turn people off, even if you’ve been recommended in glowing terms. So what do you do about it (and can you do this yourself)?,
There are a few rules of thumb (known technically as heuristics) to follow. Here are some of those.
Write as you speak. Better yet, record yourself saying what you would when you would explain something a potential customer would need to know, then type that out. Exactly as you said it. Leave out (most of) the “likes”, the “ahhs & hmms” and unnecessary stuff but say it as you would to someone standing in front of you. If you can, record yourself speaking to a customer. Do not use an “academic register” avoiding contractions, using 15 words when five will do and stringing multiple sentences together. Be yourself as that’s who people want to solve problems for them.
Literally. Put your picture up on your website. Don;t be the poncy, pretentious, pseudonymous blogger-designer that hides in the background dripping in fake humility. Let people see you, and see you at work (and actually doing work). People want to hire you to do work for them. They will buy from big brands and large orgtainsations because there is social acceptance that you can probably trust the company with that logo because others do. But they only buy from brands because they don’t know a local human being that owns the business that can do what they want exactly the way it needs to be done. Let them know who they’re dealing with so when you show up, most of the sales job has been done for you – all you have to do is be nice and confirm the job details.
Use multiple actions words in your calls to action (CTAs)
Further to the designers and content artists who are ever so posh, only use single-word descriptions as a menu item, use multiple action words in a call-to-action pitch for someone to do something. Instead of using “Submit” on a form, change that to “Send this”. Many ecommerce sites use “Add to basket” or worse, a multi-step “elect quantity” then “Select buying option” and only then is there the possibility to give them money for a product. Be concise and state specifically what you want: “Order now” or “Buy now”.
Use headings liberally.
People don’t read web pages sequentially the way they would a book; they scan them for time-worth. To show them your page is worthy of their click and continuing to read, use the first few paragraphs to establish your point, then break your content concepts down to single thoughts worthy of a paragraph and start them with a catchy, but explanatory header. The reason for this is people come to a website looking for a solution to a propblem or an answer to a question. They will scan the page in a set pattern and look for whether they find sufficient content to do that for them. If they do find it they will start a the beginning and read everything (or enough); if not they know where the “back button” is as there are always multiple results on Google waiting for them. When they scan, the headers catch their eye, the first sentences determines whether the answer they’re looking for is there.
Write for your business, not the New York Times.
Journalists like to begin their pieces with an extended anecdote to draw people into a story but keep them there assuming they will spend longer as they have already invested a lot of time reading. Do not do this on your website. People are not there looking for the next Pulitzer prize story; they want a solution to a problem. Give it to them, or tell them enough that they know you can solve their problem. This is not to say don;t go into detail. It is to say be folksy in how you describe your solution to their problem, not in how something Aunt Suzy said to you when you were nine relates to their plumbing issue.
Avoid jargon unless you really need to use it.
Your customer probably doesn’t know your industry jargon or three-letter-acronyms, and most will almost certainly not understand the significance when you use technical language. Both in-person, and on the web, it is always better to use long form instead of acronyms or technical jargon, a least until you define these for customers or in your web content, as well as a sentence explaining the significance if you often use these in person to describe what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. This lets your customer and web visitors know you know what you’re talking about and that you aren’t trying to bamboozle them with technicalities, thus establishing trust from the outset.
Anything you’ve been asked more than once is a Frequently Asked Question.
FAQs, as the web three-letter-acronym goes, is a superb way to outsource work to your website. If you have been asked anything more than once, it should be asked and answered on your website, preferably on an FAQ page. This does four things for you:
- It answers questions potential customers may have prior to them calling.
- It establishes you don;t just know your stuff, but you understand their issues from the outset.
- It saves you time letting the website do work instead of you having a conversation about an issue – if it exists in black & white text, many assume this carries greater significance than words said to them..And…
- You can always refer to an issue in the FAQs via links fro other pages or in phone calls (“…I’m just on a job but have a look at our FAQ page; there’s some stuff on that there.”)
Use images to enhance your page content, not as mere decoration.
Images are great on a page and a well-chosen image can enhance your content by making your page much more attractive and supporting your text. Marketing cliches such as images with several people hunched over a laptop, especially if they don’t directly relate to the content, detract from your text and confuse the reader. Take the time and choose well.
Do your own keyword research.
This is easy, but maybe not for you. What this means is when you write, include text people will use when they search in a search bar for your services. You may know what this is; you may not. It’s difficult being “in the equation”, i.e. being so close to the topic that you find it hard to step away and objectively view a we search from a potential customer’s point of view. There are tools to help with this, but before using them, ask a friend or someone close to you what they would research on to find help with one of the many problems you solve daily and use these with the search tools to find which phrases people are actively using to search. Include these in your copy for powerful on-page SEO.
This is a start to some of the techniques we use to write content for our customers and get their pages seen on search engines. In our experience, we have found our customers get as much as four times as much traffic from Google when spending considerable sums on social media promotion and ads, and over ten times as much when not doing so. If you want people to see your content and see the content to make them pick up the phone, get in touch – we can help!