Is Your Web Copy Boring? Some Advice From A Veteran Copywriter

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Note from Shae: This is a guest post by Joanne Morley of Brighter Marketing. Joanne is a 20-year marketing veteran who not only knows how to write web copy that converts browsers into buyers but also how to speak the customer’s language. Read on to find out more…

Over the years I’ve written copy for many different websites, everything from beauty salons to industrial businesses through to caterers.

Usually the clients had written the content themselves and it was normally done in such a rush once the design was completed.

I would see all my client’s efforts go into getting a designer to develop a great looking web site.

That’s fine but the biggest mistake they made was not giving any thought about what they were actually going to say about themselves and their business.

The thing is even when their website looked amazing, if the content didn’t engage the visitors, that design went to waste as it didn’t help to convert those visitors in to paying customers.

The content was always an after thought…. it was always came second behind design.

The Key To A Website’s Success

The key to a website’s success both from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective and for getting visitors to stay on your site, is the content. Sure, it’s important to have good images and your brand represented consistently, but what converts people from looking to buying is relevant content that helps them make a decision to buy from you or to make an enquiry about your product or service.

The content needs to make them feel that they have found the solution to their problems, that you can help them or they have found just what they are looking for after hours of searching.

You want to become your target audience’s best friend.

A Boring Website Example

A client of mine had a tired looking website with even duller content that had been put together by various people in the company.

This meant there were different styles of writing, most of it written in a hurry and focused on themselves rather than what they could do for the customer. The website wasn’t getting many visitors on a regular basis and it was generating even fewer phone calls or enquiries.

They were not getting the results they hoped for.

My client believed that if he got a new website designed to look “cleaner and brighter”, he could just take the original content he had and put it back on the new website. With a new design, he believed all his problems with the site would be solved and visitors would start flooding back.

How wrong he was!

The Problem Wasn’t The Design, It Was The Content

Although the website was looking very tired and probably did need a new design, the main problem was the content.

It was boring.

My client repeated the word “we” constantly throughout the copy and there was nothing to make the visitors want to get in touch, other than a tired looking contact form.

There were no call to actions.

So I suggested a different strategy.

I asked him what he wanted the website to do for him? What were his goals and objectives?

Once I understood what he wanted to achieve, I took the re-design from there, developing the site around the content. In this way I made sure that the visitors could get to the information they wanted quickly and easily.

How did I do this?

I re-wrote all the content so that it was engaging, focused on “you” rather than “we” and made sure there were plenty of guides available to help visitors navigate the website. Most importantly, I was able to help my client’s web visitors to make an informed decision and take action after they arrived at the website.

In addition, I created some inviting landing pages for specific keywords, which meant that if the site was found in Google for a particular keyword or phrase it would take the visitor to a specific landing page for that subject area. This meant they got the information they needed immediately without having to navigate from the home page.

The Result?

The result was a well-designed and easy to navigate website with relevant content that engaged visitors and talked to them instead of at them.

Then over a period of about six months, with some additional SEO work on keywords, the enquiries increased – the phones were ringing, information guides were being downloaded and contact forms were being submitted.

The site now delivers a steady stream of good quality leads each month. The addition of a blog has ensured that useful content is being added on a regular basis to help visitors solve their problems and to give them advice.

The site does look good, however, the biggest impact on generating enquiries has been the content and the relevant and helpful information that visitors can find quickly and easily.

What Does This Mean For Your Website?

If you are thinking of a website redesign, or are designing a new website, then take some time to base it around your content.

Are you ‘we..ing’ all over your copy or are you focused on your customer?

Do you write your own web copy or has the website lost it’s voice because too many people are writing the content?

Whatever the reason, take stock of your website. Re-read over your web copy and see if it sounds dull and boring. If you were your customer, would you be motivated to want to make an enquiry?

I know of some average looking websites, which perform much better than overly-designed websites, just because of the relevancy and quality of the content.

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15 Comments

  1. So true! Unfortunately many business owners still don’t get this. I always remind clients about this and try to make them look at it from the visitors/potential buyers point of view. Getting a second opinion and working with a professional definitely helps in reaching new customers and reaching further. Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
    • Hi Linda. Appreciate your comment. It can be difficult point to get across especially to those clients who have had no copywriting experience or who don’t consult a copywriter. I think it’s also a matter of educating people who aren’t aware of what they need to know.

      Reply
  2. Really great point about focusing on CONTENT rather than just design – and one that really hits home for me as I have a big web overhaul coming but have seemed to overlooked the fact that I can still work with my current design and really freshen it up with more meaningful web copy!

    It’s almost like cooking an underwhelming meal, then trying to serve it on a pretty plate with garnish…at the end of the day, it’s still an underwhelming meal ;).

    Reply
    • So many people give content a second priority. But what people need to realise is that the content needs to be considered as part of the design process. I love your analogy about the meal. Awesome point you made. 🙂

      It’s not necessarily the copy or the words themselves. It’s also how you want to structure the content on your website and how you want it to appear.

      Reply
  3. Great post and I couldn’t agree more! I am in the process of writing a whole bunch of content on one of my business websites because when I read it I almost fell asleep. It was all too technical and aimed at my peers in the industry rather than my ideal client. Thanks for the tips and reminder!

    Reply
  4. YES! It’s the ol’ form-over-function trap that soooo many are guilty of falling into! Slick-looking websites, impeccably designed spaces, super hot sales people… with nothing of substance underneath.

    I think it’s just what people think is going to be the “easy way out” – catch people’s eyes and they’ll instantly become your biggest fans. Nope! Doesn’t work that way, unfortunately, or we would all have more clients & sales that we’d know what to do with!

    Reply
  5. There are so many valuable nuggets here. I’ve realised I need to work more on SEO on my site and that will come over time. I found the we stuff really interesting as when I use we on my website I’m talking from the perspective that it’s both me and my clients – we together make mistakes. I’m not differentiating from them but showing that I make the same mistakes. Thinking about the use of we will help me create better blog content – and after wishing I could outsource this I’ve realised that it’s my voice that will draw people in, not others.

    Reply
  6. I love the concept of: Designing your website around your content. Great stuff, thank you!

    Reply
  7. This post really spoke to me (maybe because it didn’t ‘we’ all over me hehe). Seriously though, it’s something I need to look at and it comes at a perfect time while I have a few days off to work on it. Thank you!

    Reply

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