5 things you need to know

How the hell do you write good web copy for yourself? 

Everyone hates writing their own web copy. Every copywriter I’ve ever spoken to about this has said they hate writing their own web copy. If you’re not a copywriter, then it’s really not surprising that you hate it too. 

I know how it goes. 

You write something. It sounds a bit rubbish. You sigh, close the laptop and go and do something else. It’ll be easier another day.

You go back to it again a few days later. You tinker, you rewrite, you hate it. You close the laptop and try and forget you’ve even got a website. 

Hey, it’s all about social now anyway…right?

No. You do need a website. I know some people will tell you otherwise, but when did you last buy from a business without a website?

Knowing you need a website isn’t the same as knowing how to write good web copy. Here are 5 things that will help you do just that. 

1. Solve problems

Everyone tells you you need a rock-solid ideal client profile to help you write your copy. I agree. But when it comes to writing web pages (by which I mean, your home, about and service pages – not your landing or sales pages), your ideal client profile isn’t always so useful. It’s hard to write for just one person when, well, you’re not. 

Your home page in particular is probably going to need to appeal to more than one client. Even with Google Analytics to help, you don’t always know much about the people who’ve landed on your site.

What you do know is that if they’re there, they want something. They might not know that much about you yet, but something has driven them there. They need a solution to a problem –  can you help them? 

  • For each page you write, focus on the problem that page can solve. 
  • Make sure that you demonstrate understanding of your prospect’s problem.
  • Show how you are the solution.

2. Aim for clarity in 5 seconds

When someone lands on your page, you have 5 seconds to make an impression. That might sound like an impossible task, but it’s actually going to make your life easier. 

The only way you’re going to make an impression that fast is being clear and focussed. Forget about sounding clever. Forget about wordsmithery. Concentrate on telling people who you are, what you do and why they should care. 

If your prospects are anything like me, they probably have at least 10 tabs open at any one time. They probably research stuff while cooking dinner and listening to the radio. They’re distracted and they do not have the time to figure out what your carefully crafted prose means. 

Make it easy for them to understand and trust you. How can you tell if they will? 

  • Find a few willing and ask them to spend 5 seconds looking at your site.
  • Get them to give you their first impressions. Their answers will tell you a lot about whether your copy is doing its job.

3. Write for scanners and flitters

When you wrote essays at school, you were probably told to set the scene first. Once done, you could gradually introduce more information and build up to your conclusion. 

If you write your web copy like that, you’ll see your bounce rates go through the roof. Give your prospects the most important information first. They don’t have the time to go fishing for it. 

Once they’re interested, they’ll read on, but not in a linear way. They’ll jump and flit about the page, scan and move up and down. You can’t control how they read but you can make it easier for them to find the information they want. 

  • Back up your important info with trust-building in the form of testimonials, stats and results.
  • Talk about your process and consider offering a guarantee. 
  • Use subheadings to guide your prospects through the page.
  • Use bullet points to make key points stand out. 

4. Use both features and benefits

You’ll often see advice to focus on features, not benefits. This is a reaction to people writing dull copy that just lists out a load of information about a product without telling you what results it will get.

Obviously, don’t do that. But do think beyond benefits. Features matter too. People don’t just want to know what something will do for them. They want to know why and how. 

Most of the time, benefits are going to be more important and need more emphasis. But for some products and services, and for some audiences, features might be the decider. 

Think about what sets you apart from your competitors. It might be some amazing feature that no-one else has. If so, emphasise that (while of course, making the benefit of it clear too). 

  • Link features and benefits in your copy.
  • Consider what is more important to your prospect and emphasise that.

5. Ask for what you want

Calls to action can be tricky things. It feels weird to be saying to your prospects ‘do this’. It can feel a bit sleazy or even just annoying. 

But think of it from their point of view. If they’re reading your site, they’re interested. If they’re interested, they don’t want to have to do any work to find out what to do next. So tell them. If you do, you’re not being too pushy. You’re helping them out.

Some simple things you can do:

  • Write first-person CTAs (e.g get my free training). These usually get more clicks. 
  • Be specific. Tell people what will happen if they click (e.g save £100, get instant access). 
  • Include CTAs anywhere you think your clients will be ready to click them. They’re not going to buy a £1000 package when they’ve just landed on your home page. They might sign up for your freebie, though..

Want some more help to figure out how to write good web copy? I’m happy to look over your stuff and can create a tailored coaching package (even if you don’t have a big budget). Let’s have a chat.