Category Archives: Copywriting

How the feck do you write for websites?

Well hello, nice t – BYE!  Four seconds.  That’s how long it takes someone to decide if they are going to read your content. So why the feck are you writing so much of it?  OK, I know that Google prioritises quality content, and the more you have the better, but what about the people who find you using Google?  Don’t you want them to hang about and actually read what you have to say?

I started working as a Web Copywriter and Editor back in 2005 (that was my actual job title!).  Now I teach others how to do it, and there are two simple truths that will make your website content better every time – are you ready?

Big mind-blowing fact 1:

So here it is – the big secret for writing for websites…are you ready? Write for people not search engines.  I know, I know, mind-blowing.  Imagine if you wrote website copy the same way that you wrote your brochure copy or, even better, the way that you explained your business to real live people at networking events.  Think how much better your pages would sound.

Think about the questions that your customers need answered, the pain points your service solves, and write about that.  Don’t worry if you cannot squeeze your “keyword density” in (that’s for another blog post…) just focus on telling your customers and future customers what they need to know.

Big mind-blowing fact 2:

There is a good chance that I am going to be excommunicated from the secret society of SEO copywriters for saying this but…Google is not the only way that people find your website.  No, honestly, it’s true.  In fact, when you were just starting out, I would bet good money that the majority of your business was not due to you being number one in the search engines.

So picture the scene, your potential customer saw your Facebook advert and has clicked through to your homepage where they are now reading about how you are the ‘best plumber plumbing company plumbers service Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland’.  Yeah, that’s not going to sell it to them.  Instead of writing for a robot, pretend a real person is going to read your page or, better yet, ask a real person to read the copy and see if it makes sense to them.

Super helpful bonus tip

You can still have the really long keyword rich content for the search engines, and not put your customers off.  Use clever ways to break up the text with sub-headings (or cross headings if you’re an old school copywriter like me), block quotes, images and more.  Employ tricks like answering FAQs, telling stories and explaining processes to make keywords flow with your text rather than jarring with them.

TL:DR

Things in the web world change every single year – sometimes even more frequently than that, so I will probably have to come back and edit this blog regularly to update with the new tips and tricks that are working for me and my clients.  However, one thing has never changed in the last 15+ years of me writing for websites: if you write for people rather than search engines, your website will convert better.  So do that.  Please.

If you would like some coaching in your website copywriting, get in touch.

Peace, j x

What is a copywriter?

I do a lot of networking, it’s the nature of running your own business.  Part of me loves it – meeting new people, hearing their stories…but part of me really hates it.  I hate it because at every single event I’m asked ‘What do you do?’ and I say ‘I’m a copywriter’ and they look at me blankly, or worse, ask ‘like patents and stuff?’  ‘No, not copyright, copywrite – oh, never mind.’

So after answering the question so many times, I thought it was about time I just wrote down the answer – if nothing else it’ll give me a URL to pass people when I can’t get beyond the vacant stares…

So what does a copywriter do?

It’s fairly simple – they create original written copy.  This can be for adverts, promotional brochures, websites, PR, radio scripts or even the back of cereal packets.  It really all depends.  Some copywriters work for one company, internally as part of a marketing team.  I’ve held this position before, often along side designers and developers, producing the SEO copy they need for their websites. It means you end up as a bit of an expert in a company’s product, service and even industry, which can only make your copy better.  It’s a great place for a writer to work.

Other writers work on a freelance basis, one day writing a newsletter for a professional clown, and the next writing website copy for an undertaker.  Some write scripts, some write or proof legal documents, some write the content for the back of software boxes, and some do all of them!  This is the type of writing that I love.  I love having to immerse myself in research until I can speak knowledgeably about a subject I previously knew nothing about.  It keeps writing fresh and every day interesting.

Yes, copywriters do come up with product and company names, slogans and snappy advertising catch phrases – but coming up with catchy things to say isn’t enough.  You need to have the flexibility to adapt from client to client, project to project, audience to audience.  After all, it’s not just the topic that changes, it’s the people you are writing for.  Your ultimate goal is to influence a reader to action with just your words, so you need to understand who it is that you are writing for.

Ready to find out more about how I can help your business? Get in touch.