As online readers we are fickle and brutal. We bounce away unpredictably at will if a homepage doesn’t hold our interest or have the information we’re hunting for.
Having copy that zings on your homepage will go a long way to making people read and stay. If you’re looking to sharpen up your web copy here are five tips to help you get started.
1. Make it scannable
According to a Neilson Norman Group study on users’ reading behaviour on the web, 79% scanned a new page and only 16% read word-for-word. Making copy more scannable increases usability by 124%. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for readers to pick out the information they’re looking for. Ask yourself:
– Do I have headlines that tell me what it’s about?
– Do I have subheaders that summarise key points?
– Am I using bullet points?
Google Adwords can help with keywords for scanning, although packing your copy with loads of keywords won’t work.
2. Long or short?
The rule of thumb is the shorter the better. But success is also about drafting just the right amount of copy you need to achieve your goal. Do you want an email opt-in? You’ll need the necessary amount of persuasive copy to get your readers to do so.
3. Set a goal for your page
What you want to achieve for your page will also determine the amount of copy you need. To help you with this ask yourself two questions:
1) What do I want my readers to do?
2) What information do they need to get what they want?
It may sound obvious, but one of the common pitfalls we all face when writing about our business is focussing on what we want readers to do and neglecting what they want to achieve with our product or service.
4. Understand what makes your customers tick
When you think about it, you won’t know what will get visitors to take the next step if you don’t know why they came to your site in the first place. If you’re improving your web copy, your analytics tool will help you with this. But it’s also crucial that you start with a clear idea of who your customers are. Then you can draft copy that:
- Answers their questions
- Includes phrases and words they’re looking for
- Includes a call to action to help them take the next step.
5. Address their fears and hesitations
It’s easy to fall into the trap of selling the benefits of your product or service without adequately taking into account the barriers that may prevent a visitor from taking action. Take the time to think about your customer’s concerns and fears. Cost is a common concern, for example. Bullet points highlighting a free trial with no obligation before the call to action, or a few well-placed paragraphs of persuasive argument will help allay hesitations around being locked into paying for a trial.
Of course, your copy has to work with the design of the page, and the page sits within the context of the whole site. But these five pointers will help you get started on crafting persuasive homepage copy.
If you need help with drafting winning copy for your website contact us for a 20-minute no obligation Skype conversation.