Website first-aid

You’ve got so much to say and of course, your website is the place to say it. You know who your audiences are and you have worked hard to ensure you speak to their needs. To top it off, you’ve got great tone of voice and you can really hear yourself in the pages.

So why aren’t more people taking action on your site?

Copywriting for the web is a special kind of beast and it can simply take time and testing to figure out how best to connect with your people.

But there are also some simple elements you can use (or tweak) right now to hook your reader and make your website instantly more sticky.

Headlines

It can be tempting to skip over headline and jump right to the body copy, especially when writing is not your strong suit. But headlines are simply too important not to include on your site.

So what are headlines actually for? In the simplest of terms, headlines exist to give your reader a hyper-brief snapshot of what they are about to read. Just as your intro is designed to get your reader to read your second paragraph, your headline should simply get your reader to read your intro.

Online, headlines are also used by search engines to assess how your page matches with a search.

So your headline should serve two basic functions, to hook your reader enough to get them to keep reading and to make your page highly findable by those who are looking for you.

Calls to action

What is the ultimate action you want your audience to take? Your entire website needs to reflect this one thing. Your website should be organized to gently guide your audience to their destination. Don’t require them to go on a treasure hunt, clicking and searching until they find what they need. Including a call to action on each page of your site will help your audience navigate your content quickly and easily.

Calls to Action are far more than simply that ‘Book Now’ button at the bottom of your page. Before you even put pen to paper, think long and hard about what you want your audience to do on each page of your site.

And above all else, make your calls to action crystal clear. This is not the place to use jargon or words that don’t specifically tell the reader what they’re about to click on.

Sub Heads

Remember, every sentence you write has just one goal. To get your reader to read the next sentence. Online readers will rarely scroll through swathes of copy unless it’s a white paper or an e-book. In other words, unless you have created a highly informative, instructional piece of content your reader has actively sought out, you’ll want to keep your copy short and to the point. And when you must use long form copy, break it up with sub heads. Sub heads are what will hold your piece together and dramatically enhance readability.

Think of subheads as milestones within your copy. They tell a story all of their own so even if your reader fails to read the text in between, they can grasp what you are trying to say.

Priming

The thing you have invented - it has to be better than the alternatives, it has to be different, it has to work so well that it turns one customer into two, then four, eight and so on.

But it also has to be packaged in a way that people recognize. That helps them overcome the fear of switching, the cost of making the wrong choice.

Because believing you are better isn’t enough. You also need to communicate why you are better in a way your customers are primed to hear.

The content trap

When you think of online content for your business, how do you feel?

Obliged?

Overwhelmed?

Content marketing can quickly become just another thing on your to-list. Just block out a couple of hours per week to churning out the next batch of posts. Quantity over quantity. Keeping up appearances.

But the way we read online is even more frenetic than the way we read print. The old upside-down pyramid of news journalism is even more relevant today than ever.

Every single word counts.

When you write for your audience, everything you say needs to be tighter, sharper, shorter, clearer.

Give yourself time to write it. Then more time to tighten it, clean it up and write it again.