Many thanks to Bonnie Bryant for zeroing in on some of the most popular mistakes you’re making with your website copy!
There are so many important things that go into your website. Good web design? Obviously. Awesome logo and branding? Of course. Good images of your product? Yes. Excellent copy that connects with your customer and gets them to contact you? Wait, what?
Don’t worry. It’s okay if your copy game isn’t an A+ yet. Most people think of website copy as an afterthought, if they think of it at all. However, if you’re reading this, you need to start thinking about it! If your website copy is full of errors, it’ll turn off customers. If it’s dry and boring, they won’t see how awesome you are and might not even try to contact you at all. Wouldn’t that be a shame after all your hard work?
Here are the top four mistakes I’ve found when copy editing and rewriting website copy for clients:
Sounding Like a Robot
Most people freeze up when writing, especially for their business. They think that because it’s a business, the tone of their copy needs to be overly formal, which comes across as stilted at best and robot-like at worst.
Your copy needs to have personality, even in more serious, formal industries like accounting and law. Write like you’d talk to your customer in person, not like how you think a “serious business owner” would write.
How do you do this if you’re not a professional writer? Here’s a technique that you can try at home. (Don’t try it in a crowded coffee shop, because people might think you’re nuts, but at home it can be super helpful!) Pretend your target customer is in front of you, and explain your business to them. Maybe even get a friend or family member to “stand in” as your target customer. Record yourself telling them about your business, and then listen to it. That’s how you want to write your web copy – like you’d talk to them in person. Not like you’re a word robot spitting out stilted sentences full of business jargon.
Getting Too Off Track and Giving TMI
You should have a few simple goals in mind when writing web copy. One of the most important of those goals is showing your customer in a concise way how you can help them.
If you’re talking too much about yourself, your customer won’t care. They’ll get bored and click away. It’s not about you – it’s about how you can help them.
Your website copy should be tailored to connect with the customer — speak to their problem or needs. It should then show how you can help them — give them what they need or solve their problem.
Remember, it’s about the customer. If you’re writing about yourself, it should be in a way that shows how it benefits them.
For example, you’re a family photographer. Your market research has shown you that your target customer wants an affordable family photographer who can manage organizing portraits with toddlers. If you mention your own toddlers, make it about how you’re a mom with lots of experiencing wrangling little ones, and you’re able to effectively do it for your clients during portrait sessions. Boom! You’ve turned your personal experience into a strength that helps your customer. If you mentioned your kids just for the heck of it, without connecting it to your customer at all, they’d read it and think, “Huh? Why do I care about her kids?”
When you’re writing web copy, avoid rambling or big blocks of text. Edit your copy to be as concise as possible. Break up longer topics into headings, and longer lists into bullet points. Make it easy to read!
What’s a call-to-action? It’s a way to tell your customer what to do next. They love your services, they connect with your copy, they believe you can solve their problem – how do they reach you? What should they do? If you don’t add a call-to-action, you’re wasting all the hard work you put in.
The call-to-action depends on the context of the copy. Calls-to-action includes things like:
- Follow us on Instagram at [instagram handle]
- Questions? Reach out to us at [email address and phone number]
- Ready to book your appointment? Click here!
- Interested? Call Randy at [phone number] to request a quote!
Don’t waste all your hard work by not guiding the customer towards what you want them to do. If you make them hunt for an email address or phone number, they’re more likely to just skip reaching out to you.
Grammar, Spelling, and Syntax Mistakes
This is the biggest mistake you can make in writing your web copy. A misplaced “your” when you need a “you’re,” awkward syntax, or a glaring spelling mistake makes you lose credibility with your customer instantly.
Some people recommend asking a friend to look over your copy, but it’s really a job for a professional.
Most copywriters offer an affordable proofreading service where they fix grammar/spelling mistakes and offer recommendations for syntax or wording fixes. Unless your friend has experience in writing or copy editing, it’s better to leave an important thing like this to the experts.
It doesn’t hurt to pick up a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style (the copywriting bible) or a fun, quick read like Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. You can brush up on your grammar and syntax so you make fewer mistakes in the future.
Copy Is More Than Just Words
Your copy is an essential part of your brand – it’s your “voice” to customers who haven’t met you in person yet. These four mistakes you’re making with your website copy are not impossible to fix! If you keep it concise, relevant, and free of grammar, spelling, and syntax errors, you’re well on your way to connecting with your target customers!