How does your website smell?
A responsive website with poor quality content is about as attractive as a skunk! It looks kind of cute, but you don’t want to get too close. So, once you have made sure that your site design can reformat itself for browsing on all sizes of mobile device, take a little time to freshen up your content. The following questions will help you review your website copy in order to make it more “visitor friendly”.
1) Does it accurately represent what you do now?
Many small and medium-sized businesses are good at adapting what they do and how they do it to suit the changing needs of their customers. In my experience, they are not so good at updating their website to reflect these changes. Take a look at your website objectively . Is it selling the products and services that you deliver now, rather than what you did two or more years ago?
2) Is it unique?
As a copywriter, I use an online content checker to ensure that all my content is unique and that I am not, accidentally, duplicating the words on another site. When refreshing an existing site, I always check their current content using the same tool. It’s not uncommon to find that large chunks of text, if not whole pages, have been simply cut and pasted from a competitor’s website. This may seem like an easy way to source copy, but it can have serious consequences for your search engine rankings.
3) Are your headlines compelling?
The purpose of a headline is simply to grab your visitor’s attention and to get them to read the next few lines. Dull, boring, mundane headlines will turn off visitors before they get to the interesting stuff buried further in (assuming it is there, of course!)
P.S. Headlines are just as important for web pages as they are blog posts or news articles.
4) Is it clearly relevant to your target visitor?
To sell anything, you first need to establish the needs and wants of your ideal client, and then demonstrate how your product or service addresses them. Don’t fall into the trap of talking about what you do, until you have outlined the most common problems that you solve. Showing that you understand their problems, needs and wants first will arouse their curiosity. After all, they do not want to buy you; they want to buy a solution to their problems.
5) Is it formatted for scanning rather than reading?
We read text on a website differently to the way we read a written report or a newspaper. We tend toskim and scan online information, and so you need to take this into account when you write your content.
- Simplify big blocks of text and transform them into short sharp paragraphs or bullet points.
- Add self-explanatory sub-headings that make your content easy to navigate.
- Highlight relevant keywords and concepts by the sparing use of bold text .
6) Is it easy to read?
Writing for the web is a lot different to writing a novel! You may have a large vocabulary and enjoy using long, complicated words, and long, complex sentences but does your audience? Nobody likes a show-off! When it comes to the web, less is more.
Use simple, accessible words and short sentences that are understandable to the majority of your target market. It’s also good practice to use a sans-serif font like Ariel, Verdana or Calibri as they are easier to read on a screen.
P.S. Make sure you get someone who knows what they are doing to proofread your work before you publish it online. Believe it or not, it’s a fact that poor spelling and grammar will damage your credibility and lose you business!
7) Is there at least one call to action on every page?
A website without a call to action is like a fishing line without a hook. For each page of your website ask yourself “What do I want my visitor to do next?” Then state it explicitly as a big bold instruction .
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Gavin Meikle Presentation and influencing skills training that improves productivity and generates more business
If you’d like any help with improving your website copy, I’d be delighted to help you. You can find my contact details on my copywriting website http://www.webcopydoc.co.uk
If you’d like a reliable proofreader, I use Peter Clarke from PPG Proofreading, www.ppgproofreading.co.uk