Monday, June 16, 2008

What Does Your Website Content Say About You?

by Sherice Jacob

As much time as business website owners put into finding a good web designer, it's amazing how little time gets spent in actually creating the website content - also known as the sales copy. This is the content that will help the customer make a decision whether to take action - or leave.

It's one of the most important keys of any successful website, and yet it's often ignored or patched together at the last minute and rushed off to the web designer to add to the site. Unfortunately, this can leave a lasting impression on that company's target audience.

Look over your website's front page copy - as this is where most of your visitors will ultimately end up. See if any of the following mistakes appear in your site. You may be surprised at what you learn!

Welcome to XYZ Company Website - This was the most common headline for sites established back in the mid 90's, when just having a website showed that you were "ahead of the technology curve". These days, customers can use the web to comparison shop and do research - much of this research is aimed at which company to do business with.

That said, your very first headline should be one that draws them in and perks up their interest in what you have to offer. A good example is the headline of this article. You were curious enough to click and find out what your website content says about you. Having "Welcome to Our Company" on your front page signifies that your company is "behind the times" and gives the visitor no information to go on about why they should buy from you.

My, I and We - It's great that you want to tell customers what your company does. Unfortunately, they don't really care. They want to know what you can do for them, instead. Rather than focusing on what you can do for them, tailor your website content to emphasize the benefits to the reader.

You can do this as simply as writing sentences that start with things such as "You will learn...", or "You will find that..." and then ending them with a benefit to the customer, such as "how to improve your marriage in less than a week", or "you have a brighter, whiter smile".

Your readers will almost automatically imagine themselves better off as a result of your product or service - and this kind of "written visualization" will help them see that your offer is the logical choice to get the desired result.

Lack of a Compelling Headline - This ties into point #1 - but a compelling, action-oriented headline gives your customer the impulse to read further. That doesn't mean you should take your headline to the extreme and dress it up with bright red text, heaps of exclamation marks and CAPITAL LETTERS. Those are major copywriting "turn-offs" for a professional business and they show that you're unenthusiastic or bored with the product.

You know your product is the best - so why not share that enthusiasm with your reader? What is it that you enjoy or admire about the product? What can it do for the customer? Say it up front in your headline. That's what urges them to keep reading more.

Lots of Tech Specs - It's great that your product is powered by an X250Q fusion engine and 220ZX turbines. Unless your end user is intimately familiar with those products and specs - they'll simply leave confused. And they probably won't come back.

On the other hand, if you tell them that 1. They'll never have to buy gasoline again and 2. They get the kind of hauling and drive power they need to move those heavy loads - NOW you've got their attention! When you write your website content, after everything you believe is a benefit to the consumer, ask yourself, "So what?" Eventually it will boil down to the core reason why the customer needs it - and that's the gold you're looking for!

When you keep these copywriting suggestions in mind, you not only help make your website content stronger and more compelling for your reader, but you also instantly improve your product or service's credibility in their eyes. Give these tips a try and watch your conversions go up! All the best!

About the Author

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this article, you can find even more web design tips at http://www.iElectrify.com/resources/

Sherice Jacob holds an M.A. in Media Studies and has played an integral role in creating several successful web businesses - for herself and others. She currently manages a full service web design and internet marketing firm at http://www.iElectrify.com