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A Cheat Sheet for Writing Your Website

Strikingly

· build your website

Zach Goldie is a copywriter based in Bristol, UK. Between his freelance work and blogging, Zach believes in writing honest, authentic copy that can capture attention and maximize your conversions. We asked Zach to write a website building cheat sheet, for those of you who have or are looking to kick off your online businesses!

Greetings from a fellow Strikingly user! I’ve been asked to share some advice how to write great copy for your site, so here’s a five-point cheat sheet for you to use as a mini guide.

The aim is to match the internal dialogue going on inside your visitor’s head. This is to almost create a conversation by writing out the answers, leading them through to discover whether your offer is right for them.

For an ecommerce site, questions that visitors have would include:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What outcome is the business promising?
  3. What will I have to do?
  4. How will it work?
  5. If I’m interested, what do I do next?

Your job is to address each of these on your site, making sure the desired information is easily available. If you’ve dealt with customers on the phone, then think of the questions they’ve asked.

Alternatively, go to the site of related businesses, and see what information you instinctively look for. For example, if you’re a graphic design agency, look at a development agency and take note of what questions you’re asking yourself.

For now, I’ll carry on with sections for an ecommerce website, as most of them will apply to other business types.

1. Where am I?

Great, someone has landed on your storefront. This will sound obvious, but make it easy for them to figure out the general idea of:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Who it’s for

You think I’m joking, but I’ve seen sites like this…

Much better. A thought-out, substantive first impression.

You’ll want your name clearly visible, along with a headline, subheading and supporting images that let visitors figure out where they are with a quick glance. Writing a great headline is hard and would be a giant post in itself, so check out this awesome Copyhackers article instead.

PRO-TIP: To make sure you’re grabbing visitors attention, speak to or survey your customers to uncover their motivations, and feed this back into your headline.

2. What outcomes is the business promising?

Have you ever been on a site where you’re left thinking ’I don’t get it, why would I want this?’

Or perhaps it looks identical to their competitors, so you’re left trying to decipher the difference?

Your job is to make it clear what’s on offer and how it will help improve their life/business in a unique way. This is the kind of information that would let visitors complete the phrase ‘this is great, now I can ___’.

Try and think what your customer’s desired outcome(s) would be, and spell out the top priorities here in the language they would use.

A description that pulls you right into the story…

PRO-TIP: Make your outcome specific to your target niche. ‘We save you time’ isn’t as insightful as ‘with our mailbox catapult, packages will come straight through your (hopefully open) window to save you having to walk downstairs!

3. What will I have to do?

So you’ve promised an outcome, but you want to break it down into something more concrete. Well, now is the time to describe how that will happen. If there are a few basic activities they will do, write them here as no more than 5 top-level descriptions. This might be:

  • Flick through until you see the kitten of your dreams
  • Swipe up to choose it �
  • In five minutes it will arrive for ultimate cuddle times.

This is about accepting your product isn’t a magic orb that will solve all their problems by just sitting there, but instead showing what using it will be like.

Informative, inviting, inspiring writing.

Not quite the same level of impact.

PRO-TIP: If your product operates in a way that’s better/different from your competitors’, go ahead and say so. Even better, refer back to your unique selling point (‘USP’), and pull out any relevant parts.

4. How will it work?

Mystery boxes are great for birthdays, but not for major purchases.

People want to know what they’re trusting, especially if they’re going to be using it as part of their beloved business. Go ahead and give them a behind-the-scenes overview of what method you’re using, why they should trust it, and how it’s better than your competitors.

If your app tells them the best bike routes, let them know it’s crowd-sourced. If your marketplace uses a matchmaking algorithm, go ahead and say so.

You might have covered this in the previous two parts, but if not pull it out separately.

PRO-TIP: Don’t get buried in jargon. Image your ideal prospect ideally someone you actually know sitting across from you. Do you think they’d stare at you confused if you read your description to them? If so, it’s time to simplify it.

5. Great, what should I do next?

You’ve probably added this already, but make sure to include some type of button/form so your visitors can easily take action on your site.

To improve your call to action (CTA) further, go ahead and tell people what it will do. For example, if you have a button for a trial then tell them whether it’s free. The aim here is to reassure people that it won’t suddenly do something unexpected.

LEVEL-UP: Put your CTA at the point on your page where you think people will be the most excited. Not as many people will see it at the bottom, but if everyone who sees it clicks, then you’re winning.

So there you go, those are some basic elements for a website. As your next step, I’d suggest sitting down and writing out your equivalent list of visitor questions and scribble down some potential answers.

With these available, you can then polish them up to create a site that gives potential customers the information they need!

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