You’ve made the decision: you need a new website. You’re getting it professionally designed and developed. Your brand’s logo and colourways have been chosen. And the layout’s perfect for your customers to navigate.
And then the question comes: ‘Could you supply us with your website copy?’
For many businesses, large or small, this is a bit of a headache. What on earth are you supposed to say? How do you make it punchy and interesting, yet keep it professional? How do you find enough content to keep Google happy, but not overwhelm your audience?
There’s a lot we want to know about you. Oh, and we don’t want to spend more than a minute or two finding it out.
It takes time, research, and experience to get this totally right, which is why many people pick up the phone and cry ‘Help!’ to a professional copywriter. (After all, once you’ve invested in a new website, it only makes sense to get your content up-to-scratch too.)
But when you’re drafting your ideas, there are some fail-safe things to think about to help get you started.
What do you do when you land on a website with pages of scrolling text? With lengthy sentences? And (my pet peeve) plenty of complex words? You click away.
We simply don’t have the time, or the energy, to read twelve dense paragraphs about your life. And we don’t want to have to reach for the dictionary to do it either.
To make your content accessible, structure it properly. Try short paragraphs, snappy headers, and a link here-and-there to find out more.
And keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate things with big, fancy words, thinking they’ll make you look professional. (OK, there are times when the posh jargon is relevant: a qualification you hold, for example. But would you say the word ‘utilise’ in everyday conversation? Probably not. So why put it on your website?)
20 years ago, you completed an advanced fire safety course. You also moved home three times in ten years, had a boss named Nigel, and won your office’s annual award for ‘Most Organised Desk’.
But who really cares?
Background career information is great – if it’s relevant, or genuinely interesting. If you’re an accountant, and you have a qualification that puts you head and shoulders above your competition, that’s brilliant. Let your audience know.
Trekked Machu Picchu on a sabbatical? That’s quite impressive. We might like to know about that.
But a full career history? No thank you. Nothing’s likely to make your audience yawn and click away quite like an About Me that reads like a boring CV. If it doesn’t tell us something particularly impressive about your work experience, or doesn’t set you apart with something that’s a little different, leave it out.
You’re a business owner. A professional. You’re an expert in your field, and you know your stuff. But we probably won’t want to work with you if you sound really dull.
Show us your personality. Love shoes, singing, and skydiving? Run a sideline business that we’d be envious of? Have a unique personal style and a cracking sense of humour? Let us know – but briefly.
Obviously, we need to know you can solve our problem. And we certainly want to know that you have the experience we’re looking for. But we’d like to hear that you have other interests, hobbies, and something that gets you away from your desk. So give away a little about you as a person.
Yes, we want to know you’re the right person for the job. But we also want to know that you’re not as dull as dishwater.
If you’re good at what you do, you’ll know your customer. You’ll have a marketing plan. And you’ll know your target audience. So make sure that it’s them you’re talking to.
Every audience is different. If your clients are corporate city bankers, you wouldn’t approach them in the same way you would those freelance creative types (ahem). And if you’re targeting web design agencies, they’ll probably expect to hear a different type of language than that you’d use for, say, a group of corporate solicitors.
And if you can’t nail who it is you’re talking to, you’ll simply alienate everyone.
Find the tone that suits your personality, your brand, and your audience – and stick to it. No, not everyone will relate to you. But then not everyone’s your customer.
A copywriter can help.
You could use these points to get a draft together, and send it over for an objective review and an edit. Or, you could feel like this is all too much and you’d rather someone else just handled it all for you.
Either way, I’d be happy to help. Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a shout on 07940393086. We’ll keep it straightforward, interesting, and relevant. And we’ll get your audience – the ones visiting your website – picking up the phone to you.