If you want to hook visitors and persuade them to explore your new website, there are some essentials it must have; intuitive navigation, fast loading pages that are easy to read, dynamic design and interesting graphics.
Your website can be the most technologically innovative masterpiece. It can look absolutely stunning. It can offer lots of great features for visitors to play with, but…
And it’s a big BUT…
If your copy isn’t having a one-to-one chat with your visitor about your product or service, then your website is going to fail miserably in the customer engagement and retention stakes.
Moreover, your visitor is not going to hang around if you’re not keeping them interested and once they’ve clicked away, they never return.
You’ve just missed a great opportunity and lost a potential client.
WHO WRITES THE COPY?
When a website is being created the copy is often left to the last minute. Now potentially, two things can happen here – and both can mean disaster.
Danger Zone #1
The designer is asked to write the copy and ends up rushing to do this before presenting the site to you at the next project meeting.
Writing is not the designer’s specialist subject.
There’s a BIG RISK that the copy won’t give the same message as your marketing plan. Or worse, copy is taken from your printed material and put on the website – never a good idea.
And was the designer given your Style Guide, detailing your in-house writing style?
Probably not. So you can forget consistency in language, tone, formatting etc.
Danger Zone #2
The designer is waiting for you to provide the copy.
You’re so busy, you end up emailing it the night before the meeting and it’s enough for at least three websites.
Apart from the designer having to work the nightshift, editing is another specialist area.
There’s a BIG RISK your key points and a vast amount of valuable writing will end up in the recycle bin and not on your website.
Keep in mind that web design agencies can be working on several sites at once. If they have to wait for your copy, it screws up their work scheduling, meetings have to be cancelled and rescheduled and worst case scenario – your site misses its launch date.
WHERE’S THE COPY?
Web copy should be the cornerstone of any new website project and there should be a strong alliance between designer, developer and copywriter.
The designer needs to know how much copy is going on the site; the number of headings and subheads, bullet points to highlight specific benefits or features and what needs to be emphasized in bold or larger font size. There can be word limits on some pages due to layout design which can mean your copy has to be drastically edited down.
The developer needs to understand how the copy has to work and flow, to be able to build in the necessary functionality.
WHAT’S GOING WITH THE COPY?
The design team need to know the content that’s supporting your copy, for example;
- how many images, graphs, illustrations or charts you’re using
- is there a video clip or podcast to be embedded
- is there a free doodah that needs to be easy for the visitor to ask for or download instantly from any page
- are there white papers, product data sheets or other resources to be included
- is a subscription box needed for your company newsletter
All this information is essential.
HOW TO AVOID THIS BIG RISK?
Go to that initial website design meeting
armed with your draft copy.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be tweaked later once you see it on the site. Just don’t leave it to the last minute.
Writing powerful web copy takes considerable time. It needs research and planning. You have to get under your visitor’s skin and understand who you’re writing for and what makes them tick. Only then can you start creating seductive copy that get’s them nodding in agreement with your words and grinning as they reach for the “I want it” button.
- is the lifeblood of your website
- builds trust between you and your potential client
- is your powerful marketing tool that can reach around the world
- tells visitors the story behind your amazing product or service
- screams out the Benefits and educates them on the Features
- makes them visualize how your product/service is going to improve their lives
- persuades people to jump up and take action
- gives them a reason to buy what you’re offering
- keeps them coming back for more and most importantly
- puts your site ahead of your competitors
Neglect it at your peril…
You have been warned.
PS: A perfect example of powerful copy – the way Apple “persuades” us that we just have to trade in our few months old, hardly used iPhone 4 for an iPhone 5S…
See you in the queue at the Apple store.
Lauren Mackenzie is a freelance
web copy & business writer
Hand image credit: flaticon.com