How to Improve Your Customers' Experience with Great Web Content

When you’re creating web content, the golden rules you read from experts all over the Internet can become overwhelming. Add to that the ever-evolving trends and changing SEO practices you need to keep up with - and before long it can all seem a little out of your control.

I always say that the most important point to remember when you’re writing anything for the web is that you’re creating it for a customer. So, when you’re writing your content, think about how it can genuinely improve your customers’ experience of your website.

Not sure where to start? Here are my tips on improving your website’s customer experience.

Write for Humans

Your customers and website visitors are humans. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to begin to distance yourself from your audience, especially if you’re elbow deep in SEO keywords and product descriptions. Take a good look at the content you’ve created and ask yourself one thing: ‘does this sound natural?’

Of course you’ll need to take your own company’s branding into account, and what’s natural for one business might seem unusual or awkward for another.

Make it easy for yourself and put your metaphorical feet inside your customers’ shoes. Take a little browse around your site. Are there any pages that seem off to you? Could your writing use a little less jargon? Make a list and use this to inform how you amend your content.

Be Positive

You might not have noticed at first glance but you may be talking your business down. You need active calls to action in your web content in order for it to be truly functional, but increasingly savvy consumers are getting wise to this, and they don’t like it.

The best reaction to this is not to force it. Don’t try sneaking your ‘Buy it now’ links into text - and instead be upfront. Offer help, support and a friendly team member’s undivided attention to your customers  in return for a quick chat about their needs. It sounds much more positive than a fake offer or a ‘time’s running out’ deal.

Aim to make your customers happy and you’ll be glad you did.

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Offer Something Unique

Your customers are looking for value - and this is called ‘value propositioning’. They’ll understand what your company does quickly, and they’ll even grasp the basics of your products within a few minutes.

What you need to show them is why your business can offer something nobody else can.

  • How can you pique their interest?

  • How can you delight them?

  • How can you fix a problem they didn’t even realise they had?

  • What can you do that goes above and beyond?

  • Why should they subscribe to your blog?

Don’t just list your team members. Talk about who they are, why they’re great, what they can do for your customers. Use your web content to create a connection, and you’ll stand out far above the crowd.

Use More Straightforward Language

Just because you use acronyms within your office all the time doesn’t mean your customers will understand what they mean. Even if your industry-specific products come with long-winded, technical descriptions as standard, break them down so that anyone could understand their benefits and appreciate their usefulness. Think of it this way:

  • A parent could be buying this for their tech-savvy child

  • A newcomer to the industry could be looking for equipment they need

  • Acronyms could vary between countries and within industries.

Jargon can easily be misunderstood and can present a barrier through which your customers are unlikely to try and break. As long as you use the wording expected of your business and industry, speaking simply and in straightforward language will only make you seem more professional, not less.

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If you’d like to find out more about how to create great web content, or you’d like to chat about how I could support you with yours, contact me today. I’d love to help.

Until next time…

How to Run a Website Audit

If you’ve been busy running a business, there’s every chance you’ve not had time to look at your website in a while. It’s understandable. Once your site’s up and running, there’s a big temptation there to let it purr in the background, bringing in enquiries and signposting towards your services without much input needed from you at all.

Although there’s nothing stopping you from using your website in this way, it’s worth thinking about whether you’re getting the most out of this huge resource. You pay for URL and your server space, so why not get the most you can for your money?

Your Website is Your Shop Window

If a shop had the same display in the window day in, day out, would it entice you to go in and spend your money there?

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While it might not be hugely important to look flashy and new at all times, simple housekeeping tasks each month can help to refresh your content and entice returning visitors to take action.

Take a look at the following tasks page-by-page and see if you could fit them in monthly, or even three-monthly:

●     Services - Have you added any new ones? Are any out of date?

●     Products - Are your product descriptions still up-to-date? Do you have more to add? Have you got any new photographs to showcase them? Should some be taken off the site?

●     About Us - Is this still up-to-date? Have you won any awards or new business that could be included here?

●     Testimonials - Who have you worked with recently that you could request a testimonial from? In an age of reviews, new clients are more likely than ever to trust customer feedback.

●     Contact Us - Is this page as enticing as it could be? How many people visitors use it per week? Is there a way to make it easier to use?

If you can keep on top of your content bit by bit, it’ll seem much less of a mammoth task.

Next, you need to think about:

Sprucing Up Your Whole Website

Every once in a while, perhaps every six months or so, it’s really good practice to have a full look through every page of your website to make sure customers are getting as much out of their visits as they can.

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This can be daunting, but there are ways to break it down. Take a look at this task list and see how you could make the job easier for yourself, using your site and site analytics.

Readability

●     How easy to read is your website, on the whole?

●     How many of your key messages or business aims shine through?

●     Do your call to actions suit the content they’re placed in?

●     Are there any parts that stop the flow of information?

Navigation

●     How easy is it to get from page to page?

●     How many clicks does it take most visitors to complete a transaction?

●     Which pages cause the most bounces?

●     Which pages are the most popular?

●     Do any pages take a long time to load or have formatting issues?

●     Are there any pages that are unnecessary? For example: indexing pages, home pages, temporary holding pages, or pages that could be amalgamated with other related pages?

Tone

●     Does the content on your website fully convey your company's attitude?

●     Are there aspects of your content that seem out of place, or copy and pasted?

●     Is there any part of your website you don’t like, for no real reason?

Note answers to each down with examples of pages you’d like to improve, and you can come up with a plan together with your team.

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You can also look into this full website content audit template by the Moz site, which is really comprehensive.

Get a Copywriter to Do It!

Copywriters are excellent digital content creators and spend their lives online. That’s makes us ideal for carrying out your time-consuming, always put-off web content audits.

We look into your web content objectively with a fine-tooth comb, picking out parts you may never see yourself and improving your pages in ways you might never have suggested.

Interested in spring cleaning that website? Get in touch today.

How to Increase Business Sales (In 5 Simple Steps!)

You’re at your wits’ end with your business: your products aren’t selling as fast as you’d hoped, your email inbox is drier than the Sahara Desert, and your mailing list is still just 15 people long. What to do?

First, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Even the most successful companies have to adjust their business strategy from time to time.

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Instead, then, read on for five easy steps to increase sales for your business. No more tearing out your hair in frustration; let's get cracking!

Show You Can Be Trusted

In short, are you credible? It’s not enough to tell clients that they should put their hands in the pocket (or fingers to keyboard to type in their debit card digits!) to buy your products. Why should they trust you any more than a random bloke on the street offering up a dubious-looking 'brand-new' iPhone for £20?!

Here’s where you can whip out those testimonials and case studies we know you’ve been itching to use. Displaying evidence on your website of third-party support, even as small as including the logo of companies you’ve worked with, can show potential clients that you can be trusted.

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This CXL article lists other ways to increase trust with customers, as well as some great tips to boost conversions for your website.

Build Up Your Social Media Presence

You can keep telling yourself you’re fine with your 50 Instagram followers and 15 mailing list subscribers, but if your sales seem to be taking a nosedive, it may be time to build up your following.

Make sure you choose the right networks. Compare social media demographics with your business’s target audience to avoid making a beeline for the wrong people. If you write content for businesses, for example, LinkedIn might be a better platform for you than Tumblr.

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Post regularly and with content relevant to your business, too. You’re more likely to grow a loyal customer base if you stay connected with them once a week, as opposed to once a month (or, dare I say, once every few months). Keeping your social media accounts updated shows your clients that you’re available. 

(Shameless plug: if you need a hand with managing your social media accounts, have a look at my portfolio and give me a shout!)

Offer Freebies

I love free stuff. You love free stuff (and if you say you don’t, you’re probably lying!). Giving freebies to people who visit your website is a good way to give them a taste of the products or services you offer without a monetary commitment.

You can also offer free incentives to get people to join your mailing list. In exchange for subscribing to your mailing list, offer free guides, eBooks, or anything else specifically tailored to your business. It’s a win-win situation for both parties!

Don’t Get Cold Feet About Cold Emailing

Cold emailing isn’t exactly fun. After all, the name itself doesn’t exactly invite warm feelings.

Still, perhaps by reaching out directly to potential clients, you’ll bring your sales from all right to amazing.

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Do your research and personalise your emails to individual clients. People don’t want to get a spammy email that looks like it could’ve just as easily been sent out to 50 other people. Show why you’re emailing THEM instead of the hundreds of other businesses out there. Also be sure to show how you and only you can help them with their problems.

Check out HBR's guide to cold emailing for some more excellent tips.

Promote Time-Sensitive Sales, Discounts, or Promotions

It seems counterintuitive to discount products in order to boost sales, but customers are attracted to savings, even if the savings are marginal.

This can include offering a discount when people sign up for your mailing list, bundling products and services for a reduced total price, or dropping prices for a limited-time promotion. Be sure to clearly define start and end dates for promotions, just in case a client decides to continue working with you after a promotion ends.

Have any other tips to up business sales? Do feel free to share in the comments below.

For updates, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Copywriting for Your Website: Some Dos and Don’ts

Your business’s website is like a shop window: there will be plenty of passers-by, but if the items on display are falling apart, or look to be poor in quality, no one will want to buy anything.

Of course, you’ll want to prevent that from happening in the first place – and this means producing stellar website content.

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Read on for some dos and don’ts for creating copy that will turn visitors into loyal clients (fingers crossed!).

DO: Show What You Can Give or Take Away

Good copy tailors to the client’s needs. Sometimes, website visitors aren’t interested at all in your services, but most of the time, people click onto or around your website because they want to know how you can help them.

Show clients what you can give them. Do they need virtual assistance for their business? A new logo? A redesigned landing page? Tell them you can deliver - and turn their frown upside down!

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On the flip side, show clients what you can take away from them. Do they want to get rid of the headache of updating their own blog? Of writing their own emails? Let them know you’re the man (or woman!) for the job.

DON’T: Rely Solely on Testimonials

In particular, DON’T include only testimonials that have customers showering you with praise. You certainly will receive testimonials that read along the lines of ‘I love this so much!!!’ but these kinds of testimonials will do little to sell your services to potential clients.

Yes, your business is amazing, but HOW? If you want to include testimonials on your website, use those that, as Joanna Wiebe puts it in this Copy Hackers article, “tell a story of what a customer’s challenge was before your product or service…and what the outcome of using your product or service was.”

DO: Make Yourself Clear

As a general rule of thumb, keep paragraphs short. That being said, there’s such a thing as being too short. Often this stems from the desire to avoid exceeding a word limit, or to create short and powerful phrases, which can lead you to whittle sentences down until they’re dry and boring. You’re then left with bland copy that could be recycled on hundreds of other websites.

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Making yourself clear also includes double-checking your spelling and grammar. You could have the best-written landing page in the UK, but you could ruin all that with the wrong use of ‘their/there/they’re.’

DON’T: Talk About Yourself

Okay, obviously you SHOULD talk about yourself, but your website isn’t just for you to list every single thing you can do. You have to show what you have to offer to potential clients who may be scrolling through your site.

Shift from overusing ‘I’ and ‘we’ in favour of ‘you.’ This Quicksprout guide shows you how you can make your content more customer-focused (with some extra website copywriting tips as well).

DO: Hire a Copywriter

Hiring a website content writer seems an obvious option to improve your website, but many turn their noses at the idea. Many will deem it too expensive, while some will have a go at writing their own content.

Yes, you can certainly write your own website content, but can you be absolutely sure it will reflect your business in the way you want?

(And if you’re still not sure about hiring a website content writer, may I direct you to some of my success stories?)

Do you have any other tips for creating brilliant website content? Let me know in the comments below.

For updates, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Copywrite vs CopyWRONG: Dos & Don’ts for Creating Winning Website Content

I'll start by saying the title for this article is probably a little misleading. After all, who's to say what's right or wrong when it comes to your business? Aside from sticking two fingers up at your customers when you spot them in the street (clue: VERY wrong), if something's worked for you in the past, you should stick with it.

But there are certainly a few things to keep in mind when writing website content - from my own experience, at least. So, let's have a look at some of them:

Copy'writes' (or rather, 'rights'!)

Think 'You', Not 'I' - When writing your website content, it can be so tempting to talk about yourself. After all, who knows you better than you?! But the key to getting prospective clients to sit up and take notice of you (and your services), is not to talk about 'you' at all. Instead, focus on what your client needs and how your services can help. By adopting this technique, you're still discussing how you can assist them, but you're putting them - and their unique issues and challenges - centre stage.

Bearing that tip in mind (and using a stationery company as a simple example), here's a look at how the following sentence might be reworded to benefit the customer:

This: "We're a trusted supplier of pens and paper here in the UK - and our prices are low."

Can be swapped for this: "Is your stationery cupboard consistently low in stock? Never run out of office essentials again; pens, paper and everything in between can be delivered to your workplace as soon as tomorrow - if required. You can put your trust in us since we're suppliers to X, Y, and Z - and you'll save money, too, since our prices are kept low enough to meet any budget."

The first thing you'll notice about the second snippet of content is that it's longer - why use one sentence when you can let the customer know how you'll make their life easier in three?! More benefits = more chance of you becoming their new go-to stationer.

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Just Start Writing - Here's a tip the news editor of a weekly newspaper I used to write for once told me - and it stuck! Knowing full well that the headline of an article or feature is often the hardest thing about the piece to write (it needs to hook the reader from the off, you see), she'd tell me to instead write the rest of the content.

"The headline will come to you while you're typing." she once said - and do you know what? She was right! Nine times out of 10, that's exactly what happened. So why spend the best part of half an hour poring over puns? Just get something down; the rest will come in time.

The very same goes for your website copy. If you don't know where to begin, just begin! It sounds simple, doesn't it - but get everything down on paper, or on your computer to save you faffing around later making long-winded edits, and you'll have a clearer idea where to go from there. I promise.

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Add Personality

So, you sell pens and paper - and unless you consistently ace those 'flog me this fountain pen' questions in job interviews, like many things, it won't seem like the most inspiring of subject matters.

But don't let that put you off - you've followed this career path for a reason, and it's because you're good at it!

So, without being all 'me, me, me', or rather, 'we, we, we', think about how you can 'jazz up' your copy in other ways. Offices need pens - and they'll always find a way to get them. But maybe when they're idly browsing the net for a new supplier, your company will stand out - and for another reason than the price.

Get your thinking caps on as a team and consider creative ways you can set yourself apart. Develop a company mascot to use on your site (hello, Peter Pen!*) and run with it. Trust me on this; it'll work.

*you can have that one for free

CopyWrongs

Keywords for Keywords' Sake - No, just N-O! I get it; you want people to find your site - and organically, too. But well-written website copy will mean so much more than a site that's located easily but doesn't quite hit the mark when your customer lands on it - and more importantly, starts reading it.

Instead, think key'worths', not keywords. Does each and every word count? If not, go back and make sure it does.

You can still optimise your site for SEO - and do it well - without over-stuffing it with keywords for the heck of it.

Poor Grammar and Spelling - You'd like prospective customers to trust in you and your services - so if your site's filled with 'text speak' (or your social media page is left in the hands of a disinterested intern), is it really giving off the right impression?

Poor spelling, grammar and an all-round blasé approach to copywriting is just.not.on. (and I use those unnecessary full stops with every last jot of irony).

I won't name and shame (because I'm nice, me) but I've heard business owners say things like: "Apostrophes? Who cares?! The customer knows what we mean" and it makes my pedantic, grammar-obsessed self's heart sink.

The fact is, customers probably will know what you mean - but will they take you seriously?

Just the other day I saw a sign for a company offering 'delivary' for 'breacfasts'. Will I be going there?! No. Because I don't care how well they fry an egg; they didn't think it appropriate to proofread the full-colour banner they probably spent a pretty penny on. So, how much care will they put into that 'breacfast'?! Beep, beep; I'm going to McDonald's drive 'thru' instead.

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Too Much Copy - This one ties into point one on my copywrongs list - and really, there's only two reasons people waffle on their site: they don't know when to stop, or they're desperate to increase their organic reach by way of, you guessed it, a few more keywords. But we're a nation of skim readers (hooray if you've made it to the end of this blog - a full-size Curly Wurly bar to you, my friend) and who's got time for reams and reams of text? Not me. It's why I'm signing off this blog now. Ta-ra.

Like this article? Do let me know if it helped you in any way. And keep an eye here on my site for more of the same. If you think you can benefit from my copywriting services in 2018 and beyond, do get in touch and let's schedule a chat or a coffee in the diary.

Until next time...