Your website content smells like last week’s fish.
It’s so bad that most of your visitors make a snappy exit as soon as they get a whiff of it.
But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Millions of businesses around the world are making the same customer-losing mistakes when it comes to wording their copy and delivering their message.
So it’s time to reflect. And swallow your pride.
Is your website copy as sharp and compelling as it could (or should) be?
Do the words on your site convert most of your visitors into cash, or simply bore them off?
How many people simply bounce from your site in the first 10 seconds, without delving deeper? (Check your Google Analytics stats to find out!)
If you think your website content isn’t packing a powerful punch – you could well be committing one of these 5 common copywriting crimes.
So as you soak up this tasty knowledge (right to the delicious end) – have a good hard think about what you’re doing wrong and how you can change it.
1. We, We, We (Not You, You, You)
If I had a penny for every site that makes this self-harming error… (I’d be a guilty, rich man).
Focusing on what you do as a company, what your goals are, how much experience you have, why you’re so darn amazing etc – is not going to grip your reader’s attention. Nor will it persuade them to eagerly whisk out their credit card.
Because your visitor is selfish.
He or she wants to hear about him-or-herself. What are you going to do for them? How is your product or service going to make their life simply awesome? Which one of their problems (or pains) are you going to solve?
Paint a picture. Set the scene. Get them to visualise their amazing new life with your product or service.
The word ‘you’ is one of copywriting’s most awesome power words. So use it (a lot).
Of course describing the features of your product or service still has its place – but always explain how each feature will directly benefit your customer. Don’t just state the feature.
Even your ‘about us’ page should be jam-packed full of customer-focused benefits.
So… How can you make your copy more customer-focused?
2. Big, fat, chunky paragraphs (which are too damn large to swallow)
People searching the internet want answers fast. They want to skim through your copy like Johnny 5 (my favourite 80s TV Robot) – til they get the answers they’re looking for.
So chop your paragraphs up into bitesized, edible chunks. And make it easy for your readers to skim – by using sub headers, bullet points and key phrases in bold.
But be warned: bullet points can come across as retail-y. So if you’re pitching an exclusive matchmaking service to high end clients, (for example), it might not be the best approach.
Bitesized paragraphs, however, always are.
3. Headlines that make us yawn
Your headline needs to act as your hook. It’s that crucial element which either persuades the visitor to stick around – or loses their attention entirely and bores them off.
So you need to get it spot on.
For blog posts: Use copywriting headline formulas which have been proven to work. ‘How to…’ headlines and ‘7 reasons why…’ headlines are two of many headline formulas which lure readers in, and have proven themselves to do so effectively time and time again.
How can you find some winning headline formulas?
Easy peasy. Just search Google for ‘winning headline formulas’ and you’ll find a ton. Then follow them.
For your homepage: Use an instant clarity headline. Something that tells your visitor exactly how you’re going to benefit them within a few seconds. (Because your visitor is selfish and impatient, remember?)
Here’s a brilliant example from Domino’s website:
Hot Fresh Pizza Delivered to Your Door in 30 Mins or It’s Free
It’s simple. Clear. Customer-focused. And powerful.
Oh – and a ‘must’ for all types of headlines: avoid cliché’s! They suck.
4. Talking to the crowd (from the crowd)
Great copywriting is always personal.
Not only do you want your copy to sound like a real person is uttering those very words – it should also sound like it’s been written for an individual person.
Think of your audience as one generic customer. And write your website content like you’re sitting down in front of that guy or gal, having a good ol’ chat.
Sometimes you’ll need to be more formal, sometimes less – depending on who that individual is – and on the personality of your brand. But always talk to them in a personal way.
And never write about your company in the third person! That is simply a horrendous crime, deserving of severe punishment.
5. Industry-specific jargon (that we neither understand nor give a flying crap about)
Some of you might work in pretty technical fields. Perhaps IT. Maybe law.
Whatever it is – if you’re website’s going to be read by an average Joe, or those who don’t know your industry inside out – then leave those technical words for the instruction manual!
There’s nothing worse you can do than packing your website copy full of industry-specific jargon. Or any jargon at all.
Even workers in your field are probably sick to the bone of reading it.
Are you starting to see how you can make your site’s copy much more juicy, seductive and effective?
If you’re committing any of these 5 crimes, then go do something about it.