Successful websites do a lot of things right. They have a strong backlink profile, a flowing design, and fast servers.
But none of those things matter if you don’t have good web copy.
The difference between good and bad sites often comes down to good web copy. Every site owner knows the importance of fast server speeds and backlinks. Most site owners understand the value of good web copy, but few people actually invest in good web copy.
You don’t have to hire a professional web copywriter to have good web copy. Follow the tips listed below and your website will be filled with influential and persuasive writing in no time at all:
6) Walk the fine line between descriptive and simple
The best web copy is descriptive. It’s also simple. These two terms are not mutually exclusive.
I’m not just talking about saying things like “This is a leafy green sweater”. I mean being descriptive about everything on your site: from the story of how your company was founded to the exact results people can expect from your products and services.
At the same time, don’t go overboard. You’re not George R. R. Martin and you’re not going to lure in any customers with four-page descriptions of food.
Instead of using three descriptive words to describe your product, pick one really good descriptive word.
Another important lesson is to avoid the use of industry jargon and random acronyms. Nothing turns visitors away from web copy faster than industry jargon and terms they don’t recognize.
If you can comfortably walk the line between being descriptive and keeping it simple, then you’re already writing good web copy.
5) Avoid superlatives
Bad web copy goes something like this:
“We are the cheapest and most reliable watchmaker in the world and we offer the fastest shipping.”
Good web copy replaces those superlatives with words that actually mean something.
“We offer free 2-day shipping and if you find a lower price anywhere online, we’ll beat it by 10%”
This goes back to “being descriptive”. Visitors will glaze over words like “best” and “cheapest” because they’ve seen those words thousands of times online.
But if you provide your visitors with numbers and back up your promises with guarantees that actually mean something, then you’ll do a much better job of writing persuasive web copy.
4) Don’t be afraid to break the rules of grammar
This tip seems counter-intuitive. If I want my business to look professional, then I need to be 100% grammatically correct, right?
Well, I’ve got some shocking news for you: professional writers and copywriters break the rules of grammar all the time. Your high school teacher might have told you not to start a sentence with “and” or “because”, but when writing copy, that’s not always true.
The advantages of “broken grammar” sentences relate to keeping it simple. Sometimes, you might have a good, persuasive sentence. But that sentence is long and wordy and visitors get distracted before they reach the end.
Broken sentences let you do things like this:
“We care about our customers. A lot. That’s why we offer free 2-day shipping and a 10% price match against all competitors. Guaranteed.”
“Guaranteed” and “A lot” aren’t sentences. But they work well within this piece of copy.
Apple is one company that does this a lot in its web copy.
3) Address the problem visitors are trying to solve
For some mysterious reason, many websites ignore the central problem their visitors are trying to solve.
All products and services solve at least one problem. The reason people visit your website is because they think you can help them solve that problem.
Your web copy needs to concisely explain how your product/service solves that problem and why it’s the best option for consumers.
Let’s say you’re selling a pair of running shoes. You might say those running shoes are light and comfortable and have good arch support. They have been shown to increase running times while reducing pain in the shins, feet, and thighs.
Or, as another example, let’s say you’re selling sleeping pills. Your web copy might ask your visitors if they’re having trouble sleeping at night, or if they’re having trouble staying asleep for the entire night. If visitors are already on your sleeping pill retail site, then they’re clearly interested in sleeping pills. Follow up that initial question with an explanation of how your product solves that problem: it promotes a natural and complete sleep cycle that doesn’t leave you groggy in the morning like other pharmaceuticals.
2) Use sub-headings to lure in people who aren’t actually reading your copy
In a perfect world, every website visitor would read your piece from the first sentence to the last.
This isn’t a perfect world, and less than half your visitors will do that. Most visitors will quickly scroll through the piece and try to soak up whatever information you’ve posted, pausing briefly to look at pictures, graphs, and subheadings.
This presents an opportunity. First, you should put valuable information in your subheadings. Instead of simply saying “Rule 3: Use subheadings”, give “glancers” a brief summary of the information they’ll find by reading the paragraph below.
You can’t expect everyone to read your copy. But by using subheadings, you can convert glancers into readers, and then convert readers into paying customers.
1) Write like you’re speaking to a middle school classroom
Lots of smart people use the internet and lots of dumb people use the internet. Online, you need to cater to the lowest common denominator.
That means speaking to your audience like you would speak to a middle school classroom. Think of how you would speak to sixth or seventh graders.
Read through your copy and ask yourself if a 12 or 13-year old could understand it. If so, then you can connect with a broader audience online.
Why does this work? Well, some people aren’t smarter than your average 12 or 13-year old. But even smart people dumb themselves down online. Most people don’t go on the internet to read historical essays or comment on philosophy. Most people go on the internet because they’re bored and want to look at stupid gifs or pictures of animals.
When people are bored, they don’t like to think. Bored people want to waste time and turn off their brains. By writing to a middle school-aged audience, you can cast a wide net that captures people of all intelligence levels and motivations.
You don’t want to dumb down your copy too much – like for an elementary school classroom. You’re just going to sound silly if you do that.
Follow the lessons listed above and you’ll be producing persuasive, high-conversion web copy in no time at all. Need help with web copywriting? We’re experts. Give Renew Marketing a call today at 800-385-7010.