It can seem as though “best practices” for generating copy on your website landing pages might be different for every viewer. Yet, you will find that there are some best practices you can adopt to make the writing process simpler for you. These practices will also make sure that your website has the impact that you want.
Attention to Detail is Critical
First and foremost, make sure your copy is flawless. You want everything, from spelling to punctuation to grammar, to be correct. Nothing screams “unprofessional” or “amateur” like misplaced apostrophes and misspellings. Do not rely solely on technology to do your editing for you. Read the text to yourself and ask other people to look over your work, as well.
Secondly, you have to be aware that most people simply scan everything they read. The best practice, then, is to make your copy direct and concise. If you belabor your points, you will lose readers before they even know what your business is about.
Eliminate jargon or use it sparingly. For example, just because you and your team know what a “bradle” is, doesn’t mean your new reader will understand. Use simple terms. You aren’t writing just for experts in your field.
If your language is not in common usage, this can interfere with your search engine optimization (SEO).
Keep Your Readers’ Attention
You can keep scanners interested in what you have to say by avoiding huge walls of text. Bulleted lists are also helpful formatting tricks. Other ways to keep casual readers engaged include:
- Using “pull quotes” (short quotes that are laid out in such a way on the page as to draw attention to them) can grab readers’ attention.
- Lists – but keep the number of items low.
- Keep topics to one per paragraph.
- Triple check grammar, context, and punctuation.
- Place the most pertinent information near the top of the page.
- Consider the purpose of the page. Is it to give information only? Or do you wish to collect leads? If so, how will you do that?
Know What You Want – And What Readers Want
As a publisher, sometimes what you want and need is not exactly what your readers want. Your readers may just want information, but you may want to bring them onto your mailing list. You must decide what you want and need to accomplish with your landing pages.
For example, if you are adding to your list in order to put your sales offer in front of visitors, as HubSpot wrote, “you may need to consider things like removing all navigation from the landing page.”
Part of what a well-written, well-functioning website will do is direct readers to where you want them to go. It would be easy to think that sales funnels are relevant only to direct sales pages, but the truth is that your entire website should direct your readers to where you want them to be.
Explain How You Are Different
Stories are powerful. Many companies have found themselves more successful when they have taken the time to develop and pass along the story of the business’ work.
According to GlobalWebIndex, “Stories cut through the noise….people read information, but they feel stories.” Explain the reasons why your company is doing what it’s doing. What problems are your company solving? How do your principals feel about the work you’re doing, and how are you helping others? Why should your audience care about what you do? How do you want them to feel about you? Answering these questions is an excellent place to start your story development.
The “Elevator Pitch” technique can also be helpful when editing your story or stories. Edit your story in order to capture its essence and shorten it to the point that you could tell it in an elevator as you’re going down a few flights. Explain in so many words how are you different from your competitors. Make your company stand out positively from the rest.
As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Make Sure Your Readers Can Follow
The copy you use on your website should help visitors understand everything they need to know about your product or service. User testing is very important for this process. Just because you and your business partners understand what you mean by a particular sentence or action request doesn’t mean that the average website viewer will.
There are many services online that arrange user testing. One example is userinput.io.
Crafting your website copy is not something that can be done well overnight. Take the time to test your work and adjust it before it goes out into the world. Your company’s website will repay your efforts many times over.
Communication and Leadership
The Humphrey Group, a Canadian-based “leadership communication firm,” says that clarity of communication and thought is crucial if you’re going to succeed.
If you want to be successful, your website and its content need to demonstrate leadership in the field. Engel also states that communication is central to being a leader. It is “the only way that leaders can and do inspire others to act,” which is how he defines leadership.
Take the time to consider the language used by everyone, from frontline workers to the CEO. Doing so will help you develop the verbiage to properly communicate with the people who want and need what your company offers.
Care and attention to the writing and development process will pay off on a number of levels. Don’t skimp on the time and attention to develop the language that will tell your company’s story.