Category Archives: web 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

Make your main thing the main thing

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Firstly, a confession – my name’s Jill and I am a compulsive reader. I read everything, from every piece of junk mail that clears my doorstep, to the instructions (and warranty small print) for the new kettle I’m setting up. Reading relaxes me. I read all day, from online articles to text books to novels. I read for relaxation and inspiration.

Right now I’m re-reading (I do that a lot too) The Innocent smoothie team’s business book ‘innocent – our story and some things we’ve learned’. It resonates with me as a lot of the beliefs they hold about the way a business should be run are my beliefs. I like their approach and honesty and I highly recommend the book whether you’re a small business owner looking to grow, or you’ve just got a crazy idea about a new venture! Continue reading Make your main thing the main thing

How the feed has changed content

Many moons ago, I gave a talk on the mysterious ‘RSS feed’ and how it would change web content writing. This was before Twitter, before Facebook’s News Feed, when RSS stood for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ and just referred to search engine results, and lists of blog posts.

Even then, back in my naive, student days, I knew that to get somewhere in web copywriting, I would have to tailor every story I wrote so that it looked great in Google and Yahoo’s search results, and in the website’s own feed. Now, we write for feeds every day, without even thinking about it. This brilliant infographic shows how RSS feeds (or ‘Rich Site Summary’ feeds) have moved from being how we find the content we want, to how we consume the content.

I won’t bore you with rehashing what’s in the image below – just enjoy a history lesson in digital marketing! Three wee tips of my own though:
Continue reading How the feed has changed content

What is the optimum keyword density for Google?

So, I’m currently battling with someone over the keyword density of an article.  Instead of arguing over the strategy he is using, I have to nod and smile. It’s making my eye twitch with the pressure of being nice.

So this is my sort-of-silent cathartic protest – the all-knowing Matt Cutts talks about the nonsense of focusing on keyword density versus quality content:

Copy before Design?

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Today I met with someone who is commissioning a brand new website for their established business.  Not unusual.  They are getting the copy written first so that the content drives the design of the site.  This is unusual.

In over a decade as a professional copywriter, I can count on one hand the number of clients who have been brave enough to break the mould and let the copy lead the way for their website.  Why is this the minority path when the mantra of “content is king” is sung from the hymn-sheet of every digital agency in the country? I argue that copy first should become best practice. No more Lorem ipsum, give the words the weight they deserve.

Continue reading Copy before Design?