Audience, tone of voice and the K word.
And you’re writing for…?
Make sure you know your audience. It’s very tempting to write about you, your products, your history, your mission statement, your experience and your goals. But what about the poor reader? They, as always, want to know (as I say in my Top 10 copywriting tips) what’s in it for them.
So make sure you know them. Typically, how do they get to your site? Is it your first point of contact with them, or will they visit the site after you’ve been in touch with them (by direct mail, phone or email)?
What sort of first impression does your site make? What’s the very first thing you say to them?
What do you want the site to do? Is it to inform people, or to educate or entertain them? Do you just want to raise your profile? Or perhaps you simply want to use it as a way of disseminating information or reducing customer queries.
It’s the way you tell ’em
Remember, all writing is telling a story, and web copywriting is no different. You open with an introduction, then elaborate with more detail, then have an ending. And you need to decide what that ending is. You need to figure out what the destination of the ‘customer journey’ is.
Don’t just say ‘this is us, this is what we do, we’re really proud of it, we’ve been doing it for a long time’. Instead, say ‘Hello. We know just who you are and what’s important to you. Here’s what we can do for you and here’s why you need us. And here’s what you should do next.’
Now they understand.
Keywords, keywords, keywords
It’s tempting when you’re writing for the web to pack your copy full of keywords. And to repeat those keywords. And then to use a few more keywords. And if you can squeeze in a few more keywords, that’s good too. Keywords, keywords, keywords.
Trouble is, keyword-heavy copy doesn’t read very well, does it? You’ll get to the top of the search engine listings, but what will people have to read? Nothing but keywords, keywords and … that’s right, more keywords.
It’s a trade-off. You want them to come, but you want to make sure they stay. So watch out that you don’t have too many keywords.
You might just regret it.