Cheryl’s Note: This guest post is from my colleague Heather Mueller who is one of the most savvy web copy writers around. Her tips on creating compelling copy and setting attributes for it are important advice for every business owner and following them will lead to less frustration and more success.
On the web, you have mere seconds to grab people’s attention. Which is why having a polished, professionally-designed website is so essential.
But what if you’ve invested in a killer website for your business—one that’s mobile-friendly, fast and filled with stunning visuals, readable fonts and a beautiful color scheme—and it still isn’t generating the results you expected? What more can you do?
The answer is in your copy.
Carefully crafted web copy is what turns casual website visitors into paying customers. Add a few SEO (search engine optimization) elements, and more of your dream customers will discover your business in Google, too.
What high quality copy can do for your website
For example, did you know image captions are some of the most-read copy on a web page? Or that image alt tags (for people who are visually impaired) help search engines determine what your website is about? Or that after last year’s big Hummingbird update, Google favors conversational language?
Paying attention to these details can make a big difference in how your web pages are indexed by search engines, where they appear in search results and, most importantly, what people will do when they land on your site.
High quality web content can:
Lead more dream customers to discover your business in Google
And Bing, and Yahoo, and even often-overlooked search engines like YouTube. (Yes, even YouTube has a place for search engine-friendly copy.)
In addition to writing image captions and alt tags as mentioned above, you should spend some time crafting unique title tags and meta descriptions (more on this below), headlines (also known as h1s), subheads (h2s, h3s, h4s) and behind-the-scenes code (called structured data markup) to help your website stand out in search results.
Even your image names and URLs can impact how the search engines “read” your web pages and blog posts.
Convince people to click from search results to your website
Every web page has a title tag that appears as a clickable headline in search results, along with a meta description or, in some cases, snippets of on-page web copy.
Don’t overlook your website’s page titles and descriptions. This is where great web copy can help drive more revenue and profits to your business.
If you spend time on just one aspect of your web content, it should be page titles and descriptions. If you want people to click on your search result instead of a competitor’s, it needs to be compelling.
Keep visitors from hitting the back button
How often have you clicked on a Google search result, only to find the actual website doesn’t offer what you were looking for? Your prospects are doing the same thing. And they’re deciding within seconds whether or not to hit the back button.
Your copy should give them a reason to stick around.
Answer a pressing question. Provide a solution. Include an offer of help. Web copy that sells is typically:
- Free of jargon and acronyms
- Easy to skim (that’s what bullets, bolding and short paragraphs offer)
- Focused on readers and their needs
Great web copy can also inform your website’s calls to action—the language that convinces people to signup for your newsletter, follow you on social media, subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed and hit a “buy now” button.
Make your web content a priority, not an afterthought
Do you have one of those polished, professional websites I mentioned at the start of this post? Great! Now go fill it with compelling, searchable web copy that sells.
Heather Mueller is a website copywriter who went digital with her love of the written word after a decade in journalism and public relations. You can connect with Heather on Twitter and Google+.