The top 3 mistakes most people make when writing for the web

Writing for the web is similar to writing for any other medium but it does have some unique protocols that must be followed. This article outlines the 3 big mistakes business owners make when writing website copy and how to avoid them.

  1. No relevant key words on the Home Page:

Google ranks your website based on the number and density of key words featured on your website and, in particular, on your Home Page. The only way Google can tell if your site is a relevant search result is by the words you use on your web pages.  As a result, it’s definitely in your interest to load up your page with significant key words.

For example, if you were called Melbourne Family Lawyers, you’d make sure that your pages were liberally sprinkled with key words like: Melbourne, Family, Lawyers; and the phrase ‘Melbourne Family Lawyers’.

So how do you know what key words you should use?  Simple.  Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and figure out what key words they would type into Google to find you.  You can also use programmes like Word Tracker and Overture to help you identify your key words.

By the way, you can’t just dump a bunch of key words on the page that don’t make sense and hope for the best – Google is smart and can pick up context too! Finding a copywriter who can write elegant copy whilst incorporating your major key words is a good investment in your business.

  1. No attention-grabbing headline:

Think about it.  When you land on a new website, what’s the first thing you look for?  Relevancy, right?  In other words, does this site give me what I’m looking for?

The only way you can find this out is by reading the headline and the first paragraph. If those two sections don’t answer the key questions of:  ‘So What?’ and ‘What’s In It For Me?’, then your website is a lost cause.

Your headline also needs to be specific. Take a look at this headline. It’s not particularly clever but it’s very specific which helps attract attention and convey credibility.

‘The Australian Education Programme helps 32,000 families put their children through school every year. Established in 1971, it now has $2.2 billion funds under management.’

What gains your attention are the specific figures of 32,000, 1971 and $2.2 billion.  Taken in isolation, each of these figures serves a function.

  • a)     32,000 – this figure demonstrates that a lot of other people have put their trust in this company and therefore it’s safe for you to do so too.
  • b)     1971 – by promoting longevity the company reassures prospects that they’re not fly by nighters’.
  • c)     2.2 billion – this proves the company is large, reputable and a significant player.

In just 25 words they’ve told us what they do, when they started and how much money they manage.  Not only that, the specificity builds the all-important credibility factor that every site absolutely must have. Which brings me to my next point.

  1. No attempt to build credibility:

The fastest way to encourage people to purchase online is to remove doubt and build credibility.

Written and videoed testimonials, case studies and statistics all provide evidence that you are worthy of the consumer’s trust. We all know that testimonials can be works of fiction, so include as much detail as you can so there’s no room for doubt.

For example, take a look at these two testimonials. Which one sounds more credible to you?

  • “With Harry’s coaching, profits have increased from 22% to a whopping 67%.” – J.S., Brighton.

Or

  • “With Harry’s coaching, profits have increased from 22% to a whopping 67%.”  – Jonathan Seery, Managing Director, Subaru City, Brighton, Victoria

It’s fair to say the second testimonial is more powerful because it’s clear that Jonathan Seery is a real person.

Investing time to make your website the best it can be is time well spent. Look at your site as if you were looking at it for the first time and see if you’ve made any of the mistakes listed here. If you do, pick one thing you’d like to change and start with that. Don’t get overwhelmed with changing everything at once. Start small, hire a good website copywriter and you’ll find your site will be listed on Page One of Google in no time at all.

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