4 Essential Copywriting Techniques All Webmasters Should Know

-

No matter what type of website you operate, it has a purpose.  Maybe you’re trying to sell products, maybe you’re trying to generate leads for an offline business, or maybe you’re just trying to get people to take action on a social issue that’s important to you.

Whatever the case may be, as a webmaster, you’re actively trying to incite others to action.  For this reason, it’s important that you understand the basics of the practice known as “copywriting.”  Copywriting refers to the process of writing content that inspires people to action, making it a highly relevant field of study for webmasters in any niche or industry.

If you’ve never worked on your copywriting skills before, the following four techniques should give you an easy place to start improving your site’s copy:

1 – How to construct a compelling headline

Nearly all web pages utilize some type of headline – whether it’s a carefully crafted sales page headline that’s designed to compel visitors to stick around and buy or the default <h1> headline tag that’s generated by every new post you add to your blog.

But in too many cases, these headlines are created as an afterthought, based on what’s easiest or most convenient for the webmaster to add in.  This is a big mistake!  Your headline represents your first chance to connect with your readers and prevent them from clicking the “Back” button on their browsers.  As such, it’s important that you construct your headlines in a way that’s as enticing to visitors as possible by incorporating the principles of copywriting.

Perhaps the best way to learn how to write good headlines is to study up on the headline formulas that other webmasters have found to be effective.  While you shouldn’t plagiarize other’s work, reviewing the headlines found at the following articles should give you enough background information to create your own effective website copy:

2 – How to create rapport with readers

Once you’ve convinced your website readers to stick around through the use of a compelling headline, your next task as a copywriting-savvy webmaster is start building relationships with these visitors!

Essentially, when a visitor arrives on your website, you want him to feel as if he’s in the right place at the right time – that he’s found his “home away from home” on the web.  Creating this type of rapport with your readers will ultimately make it much easier to convince them to take whatever target actions you had in mind, leading to higher profits and more converted customers.

One of the best ways to build rapport with your readers comes from using language that’s familiar to them.  Ideally, you want to write in the way that your target audience speaks – using words, phrases, pacing and tone that makes them feel welcome on your site.  While this ideal language will vary based on the audience you’re targeting (for example, you wouldn’t use the same language to speak with young mothers as you would to technical scientists), taking the time to understand your audience’s preferred way of communicating and mirroring this on your site will go a long way towards building this important reader rapport.

3 – How to use action words

As you begin to write in the way that your target audience speaks, you’ll naturally start to notice a little extra “flavor” entering your website’s copy.  You might break a few grammar rules or use slang terms that your high school English teacher definitely would have frowned at.

However, when creating compelling website copy, you need to take things a step further by actively trying to implement action words into your content.  To see why this is so important, take a look at the following two phrases:

“I am an SEO consultant.  If you work with me, you will get more website traffic and more sales.”

“I’m a well-known, highly-regarded SEO professional who’s committed to improving your website’s results.  When you work with me, I’ll send tons of qualified traffic your way – boosting your sales numbers and website profit to levels you’ve never seen before!”

Which of these two SEO consultants would you rather work with?

The power of the second example comes from the action words used.  Instead of being a plain old “SEO consultant,” the second example is a “well-known, highly-regarded SEO professional.”  And instead of getting just “more website traffic and more sales,” the consultant in the second example will bring you “tons of qualified traffic” and “website profits you’ve never seen before.”

To prevent the type of dull, drab wording that permeates the first example, take a good, hard look at all of your site’s content.  If there are any sentences or phrases that fall flat for you, rewrite them to include more vibrant action words.

4 – How to sell benefits

Another key content characteristic of website copy is the way you position your product, service or idea in terms of its features and benefits.  A feature is a product characteristic, while a benefit reflects what that characteristic means for the consumer.  Let’s look at a few examples to see this distinction in action:

Product – 42” HD Television
Features – Screen width of 42”, HD screen resolution
Benefit – Better viewing experience

Product – Professional SEO services
Features – More website visitors, higher natural search rankings
Benefit – Website profits that allow webmasters to buy the things they’ve always wanted

Product – Volunteering with an environmental protection program
Feature – Certain number of trees planted, geographic area cleaned up or pounds of pollution reduced
Benefit – Healthier environment for future generations

When you’re writing website copy, it’s important to include a mention of your product, service or cause’s features, but your primary focus should be on the benefits.  This is because people don’t take action based on features alone – it’s the benefits of your offering that overcomes the logical resistance many of us have to committing our time and/or money to new endeavors.

As an example, a webmaster doesn’t choose to work with an SEO consultant because he wants more website visitors.  Well, he does want those visitors – but what he wants more are the benefits that come along with more readers.  He wants more visitors because more visitors results in more sales, and more sales means that he can pay off debt, put money in savings or finally buy that little red sports car that he’s been dreaming about for so long.  It’s the idea of these benefits that sell him – not the number of people on his pages.

Whenever possible – and especially when it comes to crafting any calls-to-action on your site – adjust your website’s content so that it focuses on benefits, not features.  Be as graphic as you can be about the benefits of your offerings without being heavy-handed.  By structuring your content in this way – in addition to taking advantage of the other three techniques described above – you’ll encourage your website’s visitors to take the action you desire, making your website more successful than ever before.

Image: JoelMontes

3 Responses

  1. Michiel Brand

    Nice article AJ, thanks. And a very compelling headline too, I just couldn’t resist :)

  2. Adarsh

    Interesting post there. However, I must say I’m not number 3 at all. I don’t think there should ever be declarations of being ‘highly regarded or ‘well known’. I’d rather work with a simple website architecture that shows off the quality of my work and lets people guess that for themselves. An interesting tactic in the years gone by but a bit too gimmicky for Web 2.0.

  3. 3 Ways to Make Your SERP Listing Stand Out | Search Engine Journal

    [...] the Google SERPs, don’t waste this opportunity with dull, dry snippet text. Instead, study up on basic copywriting principles and then apply them to your site’s title tag and meta description field. While it isn’t 100% [...]

Leave a Reply