6 tips for writing better website copy

make your web copy more conversational

Fifty-seven percent. That’s how many customers make a purchasing decision before calling a supplier.

In today’s content-driven world, it’s the norm for people to do their homework online and read up about products and services before buying. How well is your website performing as your hardest working salesperson?

Use delight to sell

Marketing pros like to talk a lot about delighting existing (and potential) customers during their buyer journeys, but how exactly do you do that with your website?

Delight is just a simple way of saying you should aim to exceed expectations during the customer journey by building a “remarkable experience focused on their needs, interests, and wishes that leaves them so satisfied, they can’t help but go out and sing the praises of your brand.”

As the saying goes, a happy customer will tell one person, but an unsatisfied customer will tell ten. That’s why focusing on customer delight isn’t just a matter of reputation management. It’s a strategy that can also be a competitive advantage and differentiator that helps your bottom line.

Craft web copy that converts

When it comes to ensuring delight is a part every customer touchpoint, don’t forget your website and its content.

Is your website’s copy just a rehashed version of print brochures? Or is it pithy, engaging, and easy-to-read? Does it solve customer problems (and meet their needs)? What does it do, if anything, to help build customer trust and loyalty?

If your website copy is confusing, incomplete, or even frustrating customers, it’s not too late. Do an audit, build a content strategy plan, and start delighting your customers by showing there’s a real team of humans—who care—“talking” to them from behind the screen.

Make sure the words on your website support your business goals and delight your customers. Keep reading to learn six tips for writing better website copy.

Tip #1: Talk to me

Conversational copy makes it about them, not you. It’s all about identifying your customers’ pain points and meeting their needs.

Focus on the benefit your company can provide customers, not what your company wants its customers to do because (psst—spoiler alert!) nobody really cares what your company wants.

If you buy a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, would you do so because you want to help the company meet its goal of “establishing a strong geographic footprint ... to drive incremental growth in developed markets” (business reasons) or because your Aunt Betty Sue’s famous broccoli-potato casserole recipe calls for the cereal to be sprinkled on top to add a special crunch (personal reasons)?

✔️ Write this:
Sign-up for our newsletter to receive tips on how to save money »

Not that:
Share your email address to help us grow our newsletter list »

Tip #2: Be a problem solver

Describing your product or service? Stay positive and don’t lose the attention of potential customers by spending too much time going on and on. People care more about value, so focus instead on how what directly benefits them.

To write web copy that really connects with your customers, make sure it’s focused on what your customers care about the most and how it helps them. Save over-the-top hyperbole for talking to your friends about your favorite athlete.

✔️ Write this:
Employees who use CoolProduct are more engaged, more satisfied, and more loyal.

 Not that:
CoolProduct is THE BEST app there is because it includes the world’s best high-tech tools and revolutionary functionality that will change your life.

Tip #3:  Take the frazzled out of forms

Is there anything more annoying—when filling out a form online—than having your submission rejected because of an unclear or confusing error?

When you update your web copy to improve the user experience for your customers, don’t forget to consider your forms, especially their alerts.

Use your form copy as an opportunity to ease your customer’s mind if there’s a problem preventing its submission. Remove any potential stress that might come with seeing an error message by writing helper text that features reassuring, clear, and actionable advice.

Avoid negative words, and keep your web copy short, polite, and specific to resolving the situation.

✔️ Write this:
Please type your email address using the following format: yourname@example.com

 Not that:
ERROR! EMAIL ADDRESS INPUT IS INVALID. TRY AGAIN!

Tip #4: Less is more

Don’t overwhelm.
Don’t waste time.
Get to the point.
Go for clear and concise.

There are a lot of ways we could say it, but, as savvy advertisers at Nike say: just do it.

Simple and direct is always the way to go with web copy. Unless you’re writing a pillar page, aim to keep each webpage’s copy length to between 300-500 words.

Tip #5: Start with small commitments

My grandma loved to say, “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” Her favorite expression works for writing web copy, too. Getting a small “yes” upfront and then earning trust—by delighting leads—will make it easier to land a bigger “yes” later.

Be realistic and reasonable. Exaggerated claims can raise a red flag, so you’re doing yourself no favors by over-promising when writing web copy.

If appropriate, one way to humanize your product or service is to write authentic web copy to point out a flaw or expose a limitation. By painting an imperfect picture, you’ll end up optimizing your respectability while growing the credibility of your product or service.

✔️ Write this:
Searching is always free. Check out who’s looking for a date in your area—no strings attached »

 Not that:
Join now, and GET MARRIED NEXT YEAR! Don’t delay. Start having the time of your life, and find your one true love »

Tip #6: Get to the point

Staying goal-focused makes it easier to write more targeted web copy. In legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz’s Breakthrough Advertising, he advises, “Every product appeals to two, or three or four of these mass desires, but only one can predominate.”

For each page, highlight what you know your customers want to find out, then review your existing content and make sure it prioritizes providing this information clearly and in an engaging way. If you haven’t done so already, sometimes picking a keyword target makes this step easier.

Looking to optimize a long, dense page of web copy? Improve its readability and make it easier to skim with some strategic formatting. Breakout content with subheadings, bulleted lists, and call-to-action copy to create a dynamic visual hierarchy and help direct people’s attention to what matters the most.

Write more meaningful customer experiences

When you pick the right words, your web copy can build trust and enthusiasm. “Write for the ear, not the eye,” says Purna Virji, a senior manager of global engagement at Microsoft. “We talk differently than we write, so make sure the conversation flows.”

When writing more conversational website copy, concentrate on striking a tone that matches your brand and incorporating really good storytelling to deliver a satisfying balance between helpfulness and authenticity. This doesn’t mean writing to impress or writing exactly the way you talk to a friend. It’s about writing the way you talk—only better—and focusing on your customer’s goals.

Give them something to talk about

When auditing your website, to provide your customers with the best possible experience, go beyond design and functionality and include content as part of your strategic analysis. Check to make sure your web copy consistently provides value from page to page.

Effective website copy can make or break any great website redesign and development project. A great looking website won’t delight your customers if its words aren’t equally great and it’s impossible to navigate.

If your whole website needs a copywriting overhaul, don’t despair. Start improving the web copy on your most visited pages, and do what you can to ensure those words are working for you, not against you.

Need help with your content strategy? Talk to us

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Joy

About the author | Joy Miller

Joy is the creative director at TBH Creative and helps companies use their online communications to build, design, and manage their brands. She likes to blog about latest trends, social media, conferences, and share tools.

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