When building a website or maintaining a marketing blog for your service-based business, it can be tempting to view your copy as the “filler” that surrounds your product or service offerings. But beware of paying too little attention to your web copy: if you aren’t careful, shoddy copy could deter potential clients or confuse them.
Before you draft your next landing page or blog post, make sure you aren’t committing these 10 web copy blunders:
1. Talking about yourself too much. Even if your expertise and experience are key aspects of what you offer, it’s important to avoid “Let me tell you about me, me, me” type writing. Why? Because it puts the focus on you and leaves out your potential clients. Instead, focus on your clients—identify what they want and need and explain how you can help them get it.
2. Using too much industry jargon. Sprinkling industry jargon into your copy establishes credibility, but lay it on too thick and you risk alienating readers who are newcomers to the industry. Focus on clear, simple language that communicates the same ideas.
3. Losing focus of the purpose of your copy. Very few of us are so interesting that strangers will hang onto our every word, no matter what we decide to expound upon. If your web copy dithers out without making a point, your readers will lose interest and leave the page. Avoid fizzling out by sketching out your copy before actually writing it. Get clear on what you want to communicate and stay focused.
4. Not incorporating keywords into your copy. Remember: marketing copy is part of a bigger marketing strategy. To do its job, it must play by the rules, which means it must include keywords that will help it rank in search engine results so that potential clients can find you when they want you. Writing web copy is different from writing books, newspaper articles, or commercials—take some time to study SEO basics and implement them on your website.
5. Forgetting to add metadata to your web pages. You don’t have to be web savvy to understand the importance of metadata: in earlier incarnations, it was the information that appeared in your library’s card catalog. Imagine trying to find exactly the right book without that handy box of drawers. Today, search engines catalog metadata to help users find relevant websites. If you don’t provide “cards” for your web content, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever find it.
6. Leaving out a call to action. Marketing copy is no place to be ambiguous—encourage your readers to do what you want them to do. That doesn’t mean you have to go into “BUY! BUY! BUY!” mode, however. Use an imperative command that appeals to your readers’ desires. For example, instead of “buy my book now,” try “discover how you, too, can learn to whistle like a bird.” And hyperlink to your book-selling page.
7. Boring your visitors. One of the best features of the Internet is that nobody has to politely read to the end of a page that bores them, as they do when talking with boring people face-to-face. Keep that in mind. If you aren’t sure whether you’re being boring, get a good editor, ask someone you trust to read it, or hire an experienced copywriter.
8. Misspelling words. Mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage kill credibility. If writing isn’t your thing, that’s fine—but remember that the written word is the first way many potential clients will encounter you. Plan accordingly.
9. Explaining features of your products / services but not their benefits. Think about technical fabrics that so much athletic gear is made from. While the science that created these fabrics is likely awe-inspiringly complex, they fly off the shelves because they keep sweat off people’s skin. Tell people how they will benefit from the specific features that your products or services offer.
10. Skimping on effective professional web copywriter services. Even if you aren’t a great writer, you can likely recognize the difference between well-written and poorly written copy. Your readers can too. If you aren’t the writing type, save yourself the stress and time of scraping together mediocre web content—you can hire a professional web copywriter to produce top-quality copy that will both read and convert well.