In many ways, your website is your best employee, working 24/7 to attract, captivate, and convert new customers.
Yet too often, we see businesses focus SOLELY on bringing in truckloads of new visitors to their online presence WITHOUT considering how effectively their website will capture and convert them.
Investing in your website is one of the best decisions for businesses large and small.
Targeted web content helps steer visitors into your sales funnel, so you can nurture them with the right messages and offers all the way to a conversion.
Not to mention the fact that high-quality web content is great for search engine optimisation – it boosts your authority on the subject, generates backlinks and increases the trust of your audience.
All of which helps your website generate more leads and conversions.
Here are some persuasive stats from Demand Metric:
70% of people would prefer to learn about your brand through content over ads.
70% of people feel like they’re closer to a company after reading content that inspires them.
Whether you’re creating a content strategy from scratch or are looking to optimise your existing web copy, this article is filled with the insider tips to help your conversions soar.
We're not talking about the general tips everyone else tells you – these are tried-and-tested tips from our experts, proven through successful campaigns with our own clients.
Ready to lift your web copy to a whole new world?
1. Give people what they’re looking for.
Imagine your web visitors are wild animals.
Like a lion looking for his next meal, your visitors are hunting for a solution to their problem – whether that’s a product or service.
When they arrive on your website, they decide instantly whether the scent trail will lead to what they want AND whether they can find it easily.
They don’t want to scour your website for minutes looking for what they want. It needs to be fast.
In those first few seconds, if you’re not showing your customers that you can give them what they want, they’ll click away to another website.
Your visitors don’t need to know for sure that you have EXACTLY what they need – they just need enough information to make a quick decision.
That’s why you need to start at the end. And ultimately put the most important information where they’ll see it first (that’s where great designs complements your content!).
By that we mean, find out what your ideal customers want to achieve (user intent) then focus on writing web content that makes it immediately obvious they are in the right place.
How do you know what your potential customers are looking for?
Begin by checking out what your competitors are doing.
There are heaps of tools available that let you do this cheaply – for example, SEMrush lets you find out:
What keywords your competitors are targeting
How many searches those terms get
Where they rank for those terms
The pages they are using to rank those terms
How many rankings they gain over time
Types of search results they’re targeting
Plus, you can even compare the content you create to theirs to see how it performs.
Here’s what the competitor analysis looks like for the online fashion retailer ASOS.com:
Once you have a good idea of the keywords they are using, delve deeper into online buying behaviour of your target audience.
Let’s say you wanted to know how people are searching for women’s dresses. These are the keywords you’d find with the average monthly searches:
When we did this research for a client, we found that women searched for dresses in over 1,600 different ways.
Why is this information important when writing for the web?
Because you can use these insights to create a data-driven content strategy that ensures the type of content on your website is really what people are looking for.
The data is ready and waiting – you just need to put it to work.
2. Create website content that has a clear audience.
Trying to appeal to everyone is like chasing lots of rabbits at the same time — you end up catching none.
Don’t waste valuable effort and budget trying to sell to people who are not interested in your product or services, and probably never will be.
Creating killer website content requires you to know exactly who you’re writing for. You need to start by understanding who your audience is. This is the cornerstone of inbound marketing.
We’re not only talking about their age, location, occupations and interests (though this is also important).
We mean the really meaty stuff that will determine what you say and how you say it in order to invoke action.
What motivates them? What are their challenges? What are their goals? What presses their buttons?
Speak with your sales and customer service teams – they’ll have insights you’re probably not privy to. But you should also go direct to your target audience and have a conversation with them.
Use this information to create buyer personas.
Once you know exactly who you are talking to, it’s time to formulate the kind of content, messaging and language to speak to them.
If you’re finding it difficult to get the messaging and language right, get real-life customers to help!
See how Thankyou uses real parents to provide content for its baby product pages:
Click on Shirley’s photo and this is what you see:
Under Shirley’s profile are the questions for Thankyou:
Then, close to the end of the page you find a product recommendation – the perfect way to get people to click and convert!
Using real parents is an effective way for Thankyou to show their target audience (in this case, new parents) that they get them. They understand their challenges, dreams and daily struggles, and the parents feel closer to the brand as a result.
3. Write great content for a specific stage in the buyer journey.
Just as you write for different buyer personas, you need to write for different stages of the sales funnel.
Let’s be real – it’s pretty rare that people see something and buy it immediately. Most of the time, they go through a sales funnel.
The funnel is made up of different stages, from searching on Google for a solution to their problem to visiting your website for the first time, subscribing to your email list, reading reviews, doing more research, and eventually making a decision to buy.
At each stage, the buyer learns a little more about what you offer. In that respect, the person you’re talking to at the beginning is very different from the person you’re talking to just before a conversion.
That’s why you need to tailor the content you create for each stage of their journey.
This is all part of writing high-quality SEO content. Think about it – if you write content that targets those keywords people are searching for at a specific stage in their journey, you’re more likely to rank higher and be found.
Here’s a quick guide to writing for each stage:
Awareness Stage: The potential buyer recognises their problem and starts looking for answers.
Focus on the problem first
Use emotional engagement – tap into real-life stories and inspirational content
Write top-level educational blog posts
Avoid jargon and industry speak
Consideration Stage: The potential buyer does detailed research on the solutions available (whether product or service).
Focus on your benefits to show why your solution is the best fit.
Write expert guides
Compare your offering to your competitors
Use case studies
Decision Stage: The potential buyer makes a call on what solution they’re investing in - and will work out exactly what is required to purchase said solution.
Get brand specific
Use product features and customer testimonials
Craft a compelling call-to-action
Highlight an irresistible offer
Write informative case studies focusing on features and benefits
4. Use a problem/solution structure.
Reality check – your visitors don’t want to hear all about how amazing your company and products are.
What they really want to know is: What’s in it for me?
That’s why the question every piece of content should always aim to answer is this:
Which problems do you solve for your customers?
Writing about visitors’ problems grabs their attention. Now you’ve got it, you need to give them the solution. This is the problem/solution approach – it’s incredibly effective at driving conversions.
First Round has nailed this. This company sets out to help entrepreneurs who are trying to start a business. In their website copy, First Round zones straight in on the problems they know founders are facing (loneliness, decision making etc) and provides the solution:
Here’s another example by Basecamp:
Again, they’ve focused immediately on the problem they know all business owners have and provided the solution.
Scroll below the fold, and they delve deeper into the problem/solution:
Another thing we love Basecamp’s web copy is their tone of voice – it sounds REAL. That's because they know who they are writing for and use a tone of voice that makes sense for their audience.
5. Always include a clear Call to Action.
You know this. We know you know this. But there’s no way as a reputable digital agency that we could publish this list without it.
Your CTAs are critical in driving conversions.
Don’t expect visitors to figure out what to do next. Tell them what to do in clear, strong language.
One place you might not think about including a call-to-action is on your about page. This is often one of the most visited pages. But what do you want visitors to do next?
Take a look at these examples.
Marketing automation software Mailchimp doesn’t beat around the bush:
While bookkeeping software company Xero gives two options to target two different types of visitor:
Notice how the call to action words are active, not passive?
This is all part of making your writing more conversational. Let’s break that down…
6. Write like you're having a conversation with the reader.
Conversational writing is a mighty powerful way to write for the web.
Check out the benefits for your business:
Your writing is easier to understand, as you are less likely to use jargon.
It helps build trust and empathy, as visitors feel like you're writing for them.
Your writing will be more engaging and emotive, which can lead to more conversions.
So, how do you write as if you’re having a chat with your visitors?
Take a look at any of your web pages, landing pages or pieces of content. Now, edit it using these tips:
Chop up long sentences.
Eliminate difficult words, acronyms, and jargon.
Change the passive voice to active – “It’s possible to collaborate with your team” vs “Collaborate with your team”.
Use the word “you”
Content marketing tools like Grammarly will help you pick up on changes you can make.
Example of active voice
Trello, a productivity app, uses active language on its product feature pages. The words you’re looking for are “Dive”, “Collaborate”, “See” and “Go”:
Example of short sentences
We love this brilliant piece of web writing by denim company, Hiut Denim. Note how it uses short sentences to grab your attention instantly:
We make jeans. That’s it. Nothing else. No distractions. Nothing to steal our focus. No kidding ourselves that we can be good at everything. No trying to conquer the whole world. We just do our best to conquer our bit of it. So each day we come in and make the best jeans we know how. Use the best quality denims. Cut them with an expert eye. And then let our ‘Grand Masters’ behind the sewing machines do the rest.
7. Maintain a consistent tone.
Consistency is key.
Whatever tone you’re writing in, stick with this on all pages. Even the “404 – page not found” (this is something your web developer can do).
Here’s one of our favourites from Skype:
Image Credit: VMO.com.au
Skype not only makes a boring page surprisingly entertaining, they have also included the most important links that a user might need to continue their journey. Very clever.
If you are going to be witty, it’s not just your website you need to worry about; the whole company needs to be on board.
For example, Moosejaw is an adventure gear retailer in the US, renowned for its humour.
The humour extends to their product descriptions too:
With Moosejaw’s particular brand of wit, customers expect to be entertained while they shop. But this falls flat if they go to live-chat and the customer service representatives aren’t on board.
Consistency is key.
8. Be clear and concise.
Okay, we know we just raved about the brilliant writing by Moosejaw. But we’re going to let you into one of our copywriting secrets:
Don’t try to be clever.
Clever writing requires people to think. But your visitors don't have time to think because your visitors are in a hurry. They've got problems to solve, remember?
Keep your writing as simple as possible.
Be careful with jokes unless, like Moosejaw and Skype, you're confident your target audience will get them.
Look at the Trello website. It doesn’t get much clearer than this:
Here’s another great example of concise copy by Qantas Insurance:
9. Write for scanners
How many people read the whole web page – from start to finish?
Research says a user will only read 20% of the content on your page.
People are looking for quick answers. So, what most visitors do is scan the page and click on the first link that grabs their attention or most resembles what they’re looking for.
This is proven by countless eye-tracking studies over the years, which show how the majority of people read online content in an ‘F’ pattern, as shown in this heat map:
So, how can you write for scanners?
Here’s an actionable checklist:
Create bulleted lists.
Write an engaging headline that clearly says what the page will be about.
Use lots of descriptive subheadings.
Write in short paragraph of one or two sentences only.
Create plenty of white space (short paragraphs will help with this).
Highlight key points in bold, highlights, CAPS or italics.
Use different font sizes – people scan large text first.
The good news is search engines love this type of writing too as it makes the bot’s job easier!
Writing for the web is a skill worth learning. Whether you're starting from scratch or reviewing your existing web content, make sure to nail these tips.
Your website content checklist:
Give people what they’re looking for.
Create website content that has a clear audience.
Write great content for a specific stage in the buyer journey.
Use a problem/solution structure.
Always include a clear Call to Action.
Write like you’re having a conversation with the reader.
Maintain a consistent tone.
Make it clear, concise, and easy to read.
Write for scanners.
Speaking of checklists, you can download our Content Creation Checklist for free – right here! It’s got everything you need to create compelling, high-converting content EVERY TIME. Don’t start your content creation process without it.