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How to Write Effective Copy for your Website: PART 2

Posted by Kerrie Brooks in General on August 4th, 2016

In our last blog we covered the basics of crafting effective web copy, focusing on language, style and structure. Now it’s time to focus on the content. People frequently ask, “What pages do I need on my website?”, “How much copy should I write on each page?” and “What should I write on them?” Here we aim to address these questions.

Although every business is different, we recommend you include the following six pages as a minimum: Home; About Us; Product/Services; Pricing; Contact Us; and FAQs. Each serves a specific purpose and targets a unique stage of the buyer journey.

When it comes to length, each page should have as many words as it takes to cover everything the reader needs to know about that topic. But remember – be concise.

Now let’s look at what you should include, page by page.

how-to-effective-web

Home

Your Homepage is the introductory page to your site and the place where first impressions are made. According to research by both Google and Microsoft, most people spend about 10 seconds or less on your homepage before making a decision to hit back or look around, so you need to get it right.

The copy here needs to do three things:

  • Immediately draw the visitor in
  • Show them the navigational options
  • Establish your credibility

Your headline is the most important element. Even if people don’t read the rest of your copy they will read this. So make it impactful and persuasive. Never be generic e.g. ‘Welcome to our website’. Instead, use these 6-12 words to describe your most highly desired and unique benefit.

Uber, for example, uses ‘Get there, your day belongs to you’ – this is simple, effective and connects with their audience.

You then need to highlight your key features framing them as benefits. Use bullet points or subheads with short snippets of copy to clarify.

Your Homepage is also a good place to include testimonials as well as social proof. This will help convince people they are making the right decision. Last but not least, tell them what to do next – include a strong CTA and clear navigation.

About Us

The About Us page is the place where you can tell your story and let people know what they can expect when they buy from or work with you. This is often one of the most difficult pages to write. You need to sell yourself but you don’t want to drive customers away by being too self-focused. So ensure you bring each part of your story back to how it can benefit them.

So what should you include?

  • A strong headline that focuses on what you can do for your customers/clients
  • A short story of how your business came to be
  • The nature of your company – big/small, private/public/family owned
  • Your core values
  • What sets you apart from your competitors
  • The problem you have solved

The best way to approach this page is as if you were meeting someone for the first time. You need to focus on building a friendship and gaining trust. Keep the tone conversational and show them that you are a company made up of real people who can change people’s lives.

Include your credentials, awards and testimonials from happy customers or clients. In addition, add links to your professional social media site.

Products/Services

This page is your opportunity to describe your product or service in more detail. It’s your chance to help visitors decide if what you are offering meets their needs. Depending on your business, you might have a single product/service homepage or a series of subpages.

Although you copy here should highlight features, these should again be framed in terms of benefits to the reader.

The overall approach you should take is: the more you tell, the more you sell. If you don’t provide all of the information users are looking for they’ll simply head to a website that does.

Importantly, there are distinct differences between product and service pages:

  • Product pages are about getting the sale, services pages are about getting the lead
  • Trust is more important when selling services. Why? Because products can be faulty and returned, whereas if a service is not up to scratch the recourse is often unknown

These differences mean that service copy should work harder at offering reassurance.

Pricing

If there is one thing users will be looking for when they land on your website, its prices. Therefore, having a dedicated pricing page on your main navigation can help potential customers find what they’re after quickly and easily.

Whilst ultimately your pricing strategy is the most important thing to get right, writing effective copy on your pricing page can seal the deal.

So how should you approach it?

The best way is to keep it simple, straightforward and as specific as possible. Set out the different options and tell them why they should choose each one.

If you don’t want to publish exact prices, include a range or a ‘from’ price. If you don’t include prices ensure you explain why e.g. because prices are tailored to individual client needs.

Be sure to address any fears, uncertainties and doubts that might arise at this point. Offer a money back guarantee, social proof e.g. highlight the most popular pricing option, and point out that you have a secure site.

If your business is international, consider giving currency options. And be sure to include a call to action.

Contact Us

Your Contact Us page should include a variety of ways for visitors to get in touch with you. The more options you include, the more likely you are to have one that covers the preferences of every potential customer.

What to include:

  • Telephone/mobile number
  • Email address
  • Store/office address
  • Social media handles – e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

In addition, most websites today include a contact form. These are best kept to the bare minimum which a field for the users name, email address and a space for their comment. If you ask too many questions people may simply click away.

Your Contact Us page should also begin with a sentence or two introduction. Keep it short, relevant and try to inject a bit of your brand personality. If you do include a contact form, let users know when they can expect to hear back from you.

FAQs

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is often overlooked, but including one will not only help directly answer any questions potential customers might have but it will also save you time by minimising enquiries.

Your FAQ page is your chance to:

  • Include more quality, informative content
  • Speak directly to objections that hinder sales
  • Reiterate your key selling points

What types of questions you ask and answer will depend on the nature of your business. Not only should you include the questions that customers ask most often, but you should also cover questions related to your industry to position your company as an authority.

The key to FAQ copy is to keep it short and sweet. Answer each question directly and in a straightforward manner. This isn’t the place for creativity.

To make it easy to follow, put your FAQs in a logical order. Start off with the simple, most common questions first then move onto the more complex ones. You could even group them together under different subheads.

Pages should both work together and stand alone

All of your pages need to work as a whole so avoid overlap and keep each highly focused. This will also improve your SEO as you can include unique keywords on each page helping Google determine page relevance. They should also standalone so ensure your main value proposition and a CTA is visible on each page.

Follow these guidelines and your website copy will have a much better of engaging and persuading your target audience. Once these are written you can focus on other valuable pages such as landing pages and your business blog.