Copywriting for effective websites

The kind of website addressed in this article is the most typical: one that describes what you offer and culminates in a call to action. Visual tools are not what we’re interested in here: those have been addressed in the previous post. This post is about copywriting that keeps the visitor engaged until they hit the “call to action” button.

Common Sense Copywriting

Many of these tips are common sense, but of precisely that variety of common sense which is so obvious that it is the first thing to fly out of the window when faced with the daunting prospect of “What do I write on my website?” We assume people must know that we are selling the best product, for instance, but we neither tell them this nor do we enable them to find what they have come looking for.

Research shows – unsurprisingly – that most people go online to look for something they need, like roof tiles or batteries or an insurance policy. They don’t want to wade through pages of philosopy about your personal vision. They want a product.

Being conscious of this helps us understand the tips which follow.

The Landing Page

The landing-page is what they will see first, and it needs to confirm that they have come to right place. Yes, we sell that product you are looking for. The landing page also needs to be visually spacious and compelling, so what ever you say on it needs to be drastically brief, like a poster.

The Explanation of Questions

Once the landing page has roped them in, they will begin to scroll down. This is where your copywriting can get into greater details. This detail needs to address all the questions that are consciously or unconsciously in their mind as they seek what they want. They want the most effectiveness for the least hassle, so it’s important to pinpoint these questions well.

This information needs to be broken up into short, clear lines that need to be jargon-free and make sense:
1. We all know we skip over long paragraphs and too much detail. Your visitors are just like you.
2.  Even if your visitors are all professors, they don’t necessarily want to wear that hat while looking for a lawnmower, and nor do they reject clear common sense if simply put.
3. Tell them real, practical things they need to know to make a decision.
This includes headings and subheadings, and if the headings are clear enough, subheadings can be dispensed with altogether.

Conformity Bias

All the way through, it works better to use proof that others recommend this product. One would imagine it would only be necessary to have a single section on testimonials, but actually they are necessary throughout. Even, amazingly, when you reach the actual Call to Action button, it helps to use “conformity bias” – the human tendency to do what others consider a good idea. Say how many others have got what they were looking for by clicking this button.

Less Common Sense Copywriting

All of the above we know to be obvious common sense. In addition, there are a couple of copywriting points which are less obviously common sense, but also contribute to an effective web-site.

One is about lists. If you are going to make a list, your most important points need to be made either at the top of the list or at the bottom of the list. This is because we generally, it appears, tend to skim over the middle. It’s an odd human trait, as I would have expected people to read the top couple of points and lose interest altogether, but apparently most of us still pop back in again to read the end. Who knew!

And lastly – and to me most obscurely – we are apparently easy triggered by something called “loss aversion.” In other words, it works if you say “There are only a few of these awesome products left, so buy one now while you still can.” I like to think I would be turned off by a website which made claims of this kind. But perhaps I just can’t see myself clearly, as many of us can’t, and don’t know how I really behave when I’m searching for a product online and think nobody’s watching!

Enjoy your Copywriting

Copywriting is an entertaining and fun exercise indeed! See if you can put all this into practise and get it to work for you!

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