Hands up if the thought of re/writing the copy for your website makes you want to hightail it out of dodge and back into Instagramland faster than you can double tap? Can I get a tap tap!
I have been working with a clients on new websites over the last couple of months and undoubtedly, one of the hardest things has been, nailing their web copy.
Tricky Truth Bomb!
Almost every website designer needs to have your copy before they can even start designing your site (if you want it to flow and have impact). And almost everyone thinks that once they see their website designed, they’ll then know what to write for their copy! #canwesaychickeneggchickenegg
To paint the picture. My web client discovery calls go something like this - literally 95% of the time.
Client: I need a new website?
Me: Great, what’s your timeframe?
Client: As soon as possible really - like yesterday?
Me: OK, do you have your copy, images and branding all ready to go?
Client: Well, I have branding and some images and I’m working on the copy. I am thinking about outsourcing to a copywriter, but I might have a first pass myself. I’m not quite sure what I need to include and I’m still deciding on my services because I want to do x and also y and then one day z, too!
Me: [deep breath], [smile], [set expectations].
If this at all sounds familiar to your experience in getting a website out into the world, then please don’t feel guilty and creep away into the shadows.
The easy thing is knowing that you need a new website or a refresher. The trouble starts when you need to wrangle your words into shape and find the sweet spot of balancing enough with too much.
And I find with people just starting out in their biz, the challenge is doing just that…starting where you are best positioned to make money, rather than getting carried away with all of the big plans you have in mind for world domination.
And as with almost anything, stripping it right back and keeping it simple is the best course of action.
So in an effort to help you whip those words into shape faster than you can say “go live”, here’s a quick guide to knocking out 5 Perfect Pages - a perfect place for start-ups to start.
General Rules to live by.
As a general rule, you should apply the following to each of these pages:
- Always have a call to action on every page - no dead ends.
- Know what people are looking for and provide the answer to them early and upfront - e.g. if someone has clicked on a page that offers a type of exercise class, give them the where, when, how and how much up front and centre.
Page 1. Your Home Page
With today’s web and marketing trends leaning towards long single scroll websites, the traditional homepage now has many roles and scrolls! But it’s inevitably where people first land and it’s where first impressions really do count. So whatever information you choose to display on your site (blog exerpts etc), make sure you have the following focus areas covered.
- Your most important content should be above the fold - that is before people even have to scroll.
- This should include a clear statement of what you do/offer and who you do it for - a succinct and clear statement so people immediately know they’re in the right place.
- Use clean, high quality, non-sucky-stock image.
- Include a call to action, inviting people to join your email list - this is where your opt-in comes in.
- Have a testimonial of your #1 service/offering - it doesn’t have to be above the fold, but it should be close to the top!
Page 2. Your About Page
An about page is partly about you, but mostly about the problem you solve for your client…so really it’s about them!
- use narrative and personal storytelling to connect with the person about why you do what you do and for whom.
- be clear on who you are talking to when you write this page and use that vision to speak directly to your reader about why you are the person to be able to solve their problem or fulfill their need.
Page 3. Your Sales Page
You might want to write a book one day, have an online course, a thriving mastermind, a TV Show and sell motivational tees in an online shop, but what service/product are you ready to deliver today?
Ok so that thing, is “the thing” that you need to focus on selling. If you are selling multiple things, prioritize them accordingly. A bit like the about page, a sales page is about painting a picture, but with a lot more clarity on the details of “the thing”.
- Outline, who “the thing” is for and importantly who it’s not for.
- Be clear on exactly what problem you are solving or desire you’re fulfilling.
- How do you deliver “the thing”.
- What exactly can people expect to get from you - what are your deliverables (aka the RESULTS).
- Use FAQs as a way to break down any last barriers to entry for the person.
- How can people buy “the thing”.
Bonus. What systems and processes can you put in place in your business to make the last dot point as easy as possible for both you and your client. I’m talking, immediate online payment/scheduling. I’m constantly amazed at how this very important detail (getting the money) is not a consideration up front and centre. The more you can automate this, the better! it’s not part of the copy, but it is part of your strategy so have it all worked out before you get to the website part.
Page 4. Testimonials/Portfolio
We’re all part of a tribe and those tribal feelings stir when we see other people doing things that perhaps we are thinking of jumping into. Call it pack mentality, herding or just good ol' social proof, it works - and it can take someone who’s sitting on the fence to jump right in shouting “where do I sign”.
Depending on what type of business you run, your client love can be:
- just a written testimonial,
- your portfolio pieces + testimonials,
- photos of your client on your safari/mastermind/event + testimonial.
You get it.
- Always include the name of the person giving the testimonial.
- If you have a picture of them, include it with it.
- Only use testimonials for the work/services you want to continue doing and building on. Two great testimonials for something you are actively promoting in your business, are better than 10 testimonials for things you don’t want to do any more in your biz. Remember "your vibe attracts your tribe", so put out the good vibe!
Page 5. Your Contact Page
Contact page is going to be different depending on your business and how you operate, but here are a few things to think about when it comes to how you want people contacting you.
- If you want people to email you, have a form on the site that also links to a database so you have their details stored in a list somewhere.
- If you run a physical store/location based business, include an address and map coordinates/map (Google is amazing like that these days). Also include your hours of operation.
- If you run an online/service based business, and part of your business model is to have “discovery calls”, make that clear and use a scheduling app for people to make an appointment then and there.
Basically, have this all ready for your web designer - it’s small details that only you know and they can't even begin to guess!
Bonus Page. Your 404 Page
The 404 page is a little bonus, but it’s one that you should definitely think about having.
A 404 page, is a page that every website has if someone lands to an “error” page. It can either be because the page no longer exists, or there is a wrong URL.
- Always use the 404 to drive people back to your most important content - this could be your portfolio, the latest offering you have, a tour that’s coming up, a collection of your favorite blog posts.
- Have some fun with it and use the 404 to give people a little more of a glimpse into you and your business, share a little secret with them, serve up a funny video.