When you’re first building your brand and strapped for cash, hiring a creative copywriter might not exactly be a feasible option for your budget. But, not to fear. If you’ve found yourself in the boat of writing your website content on your own, I’m here to rise the tide. Today, I’m letting you in on my go-to pro tips for turning homespun copy into a whip-smart conversion tool. Read on—and get ready to craft content like a pro.
Listen, we creatives and wedding pros love to tackle a task faster than Trader Joe’s puts out pumpkin-flavored everything the second it hits October 1. But, writing your website content is one area where you absolutely need to slow down and think some things through before you begin. Before you ever put pen to paper (or start furiously typing away), gather the following:
Thoughts on brand voice:
Do you have a defined brand voice? If not, it’s time to think through you how you want to sound on your website to ensure your content uses a consistent tone throughout, and one that resonates with your audience.
You can check out a few tips for defining your brand voice on my blog—but the gist of it is this:
How do you want your audience to feel when reading through your website copy?
If your brand were a person, what would her (or his) personality be like?
What words and phrases will you use to reinforce this feeling, and which will you avoid?
Your website content plan:
What pages are included and, more importantly, what’s your content plan for each page?
It’s no longer as simple as, “I’ll list my services on my services page”—today’s websites are far more focused on creating a strategic user experience that’s designed to convert. Writing short bullet points for each of your offerings and calling it a day will no longer do it. Each page needs:
An enticing intro that captures your audience’s attention and addresses one or more of the following:
Their pain point(s)
Their worries or concerns
Page content that’s focused less on the nitty-gritty details of what you offer and more on how what you offer benefits your ideal client
A clear call to action (or “CTA”) to keep driving users through the sales funnel that is your site
Bonus: A testimonial that speaks to the story you’re telling on the page. (I.e. If your services page is focused on how effortless your team makes the wedding-planing process feel for couples, include a testimonial somewhere on the page that speaks to this exact benefit.)
If you want to be found through organic searches (i.e. if you want your website to be served to someone when they’re searching in Google), SEO needs to be a part of your website plan.
What keywords do you want to capture and how can work them into your content in a natural way?
Headings (text that’s tagged as ‘H1’ ‘H2’ or ‘H3’ in Squarespace) are more valuable real-estate for SEO than plain ol’ paragraph text. If you have certain keywords you really want to capture, look for ways to work them into your website headings.
If you’ve begun writing your website content simply because, well you know, you have to have a website these days—step away from the keyboard (right now) and rethink the way you’re framing this. If you’re simply treating your website as an obligatory passive information source, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to write your website copy in a way that converts leads and generates sales on your behalf.
Great websites are active—they act as a sales tool behind the scenes (while you’re sipping margs on the beach) rather than a freeloading information source that’s just floating around the World Wide Web and doing nothing to convert leads for you. Strategically-crafted copy is the key to guiding your clients through the sales funnel that is your website through enticing headlines, clear CTAs, and content that draws them in and converts them from an inquisitive lead to an enthusiastic client.
Before you begin writing, ask yourself:
What order do I want them experience my website in?
From my home page, where do I want to send them next?
From that page, where do I want them to go after that?
…and on and on, until they take the final action you want them to (reach out, download a lead-magnet, schedule a meeting, purchase a good, etc.)
What’s the main action I want them to take while they’re on my site?
Should they reach out to book a consultation?
Opt into my newsletter?
Download a freebie?
Say what? This is the number-one piece of advice I give to friends and family who are attempting to write their own website content. Great website content (and by “great”, I mean content that’s written with the goal of conversion in mind) isn’t at all about you; it’s about your audience. You want them to understand how what you offer solves their problem or makes their life better, easier, or more badass.
Here are some tips for reframing the way you write your website content with the notion of addressing your clients’ needs in mind:
Instead of writing a laundry list of your experience, write how your experience makes you the best person for the job.
What experience of yours is relevant and what isn’t? Does listing your degree make a difference and/or does it have anything to do with your job?
What inspires, motivates, and drives you in your current role?
What experience allows you to solve your clients’ pain points effectively (and, preferably, more effectively than your competition)?
Don’t write about what your services include; write about how they help.
Rather than a bullet-pointed list of what each service includes, focus on how this service benefits your ideal client.
Talk about who each service is perfect for and how it helps.
Save the in-depth details for a sales packet you deliver after a first touch-point.
“Fun facts” are great for adding personality—but elevate them further by tying them back to the work you do.
If you’re a photographer, people might not care that you like to hike with your dog…but they do care that hikes with your dog are where you learn about playing with lighting and capturing creatures in motion.