Forget SEO. Ok, don’t forget it entirely but for a minute, let’s pretend it isn’t even a blip on the radar screen of what’s important when writing website content. How do you write copy that turns visitors into customers?
Put yourself in your visitors’ position
How do your visitors feel when they arrive at your website? Do they feel relieved knowing they have found the information they searched for? Or do they feel less confident than ever about what it is you do, sell or offer? Do they land on your website and unwittingly dive deeper and deeper into its pages being drawn in by the wonderful, compelling content? Or do they glance at the first sentence and click out to try someone else’s site?
These are all vital considerations when writing copy for your website. Have you ever distanced yourself as the business owner and really looked at your website to see how inviting it is to others? If you don’t find the content interesting, informative, entertaining or powerful, how would anyone else?
The thing is, Search Engine Optimisation – or SEO – has a lot to answer for. There’s an awful lot of information out there on the World Wide Web about how to attract traffic to your website. You have to do some pretty serious research on keywords and determine which are high-ranking and which are highly competitive. You also have to determine which ‘long tail keywords’ will help you cast a wider net and broaden your audience. Then you have to write your copy to incorporate all of that wisdom without it seeming like it’s written for the so-called ‘Google-bots’.
Frankly, SEO is important, but when it comes down to brass tacks, your website content has to drive your visitors’ buying decision. The best SEO in the world will attract heavier traffic than 42nd Street on opening night of Les Miserables. But, just like the famous New York City thoroughfare, the traffic may not be targeted to that one particular attraction. Each page on your website has to have its own SEO optimisation to attract the right visitors to the specific page they’re looking for. Sound complicated? It can be! And you’d be forgiven for thinking that hiring a copywriter would be the best way to attack the issue.
Website visitors arrive via more routes than Google search
Remember, visitors don’t only arrive at your site via Google search, and this is a factor that escapes many people’s minds when they think about writing their website content. Website visitors also arrive at sites via:
- Paid Google or Facebook ads
- Social media links
- Recommendations from friends or colleagues
- Referrals from other sites
- Banner ads
- Typing the URL in from a business card, car signage, T-shirt or shopfront sign
- Information in print material including books, newspapers and magazines
- Marketing material such as flyers, banners, special offers
Few of the above rely on SEO at all! But however your visitors arrive at your site, you need to ensure that their needs are met once they get there. Your website content must perform on several key fronts:
- Does it answer as many questions as possible that a potential customer may have?
- Does it speak to the potential customer in a language they would expect from a company that offers what yours does?
- Does it alienate with too much tech-speak and corporate mumbo jumbo?
- Does it direct visitors along a clear path to conversion? In other words, does it take them from interest to enquiry or purchase without too many distractions that may make them switch off?
- Does it make it easy for your visitor to do business with you?
- Does it articulate your brand values?
- Does it read naturally … without an obvious concentration of repetitive keywords that make it seem like it’s trying too hard to be Google’s best friend?
Visitors first, Google second
Considering Google recently overhauled its algorithms to make SEO even more complex than before, now is the perfect time to be writing your website content with your visitor in mind. The highest traffic volume in the world won’t increase your sales one iota if your visitors can’t – or choose not to – read what you’re about. Writing for your customer will naturally incorporate many of the keywords that will help Google to help visitors find your site. Once you’ve written your site, then you can retrofit the appropriate keywords that turn up as a result of your research.