Worried slippery website copywriting tactics will make your site feel less sincere?
Maybe you believe copywriting to be some kind of magical process with smoke and mirrors intrinsically linked.
Admittedly, particular topics do hold a certain mystique. That mere mortals can’t be trusted with their secrets unless they delve into realms beyond which normal folk venture.
Psychology is one.
When I did my psychology degree people would joke that I could read their minds (if only). Local libraries would put psychology books on the same shelf as those about the occult. As if psychology was some kind of witchery dealt with by Shaman rather than a scientific endeavour.
Copywriting seems to fall into this category too.
When talking about techniques copywriters use to create marketing material I sometimes get feedback such as ‘OMG! Isn’t that conning and manipulating people?’
Like my words are so hypnotic that zombie-like clients literally just throw money at me.
With Halloween around the corner, it’s a good time to explore the mystical aura that surrounds website writing and how to keep your site’s integrity intact by avoiding certain copywriting tricks….
Good website copywriting isn’t about tricking people
The main point of your website is to help your visitor decide whether your service or product is right for them.
Good copywriting, whether for your website or offline marketing material isn’t so mystical.
When your words make a connection between your offer and what you ideal customer needs or wants. Or your message resonates with dream clients and avoids jargon or hyperbole. And you simply tell people about your service and the true impact it’ll have on their life. That’s good copywriting. No trickery needed.
Another good tip for website copywriting is to frame information to get an emotional response. Appeal to the emotional side of your visitor. Again, this isn’t trickery, it’s being able to empathise with your visitor and show you care.
But avoid it being all negative. Remember to balance the positive too.
You need 3 positive statements to make up for every negative one made. The same is true on your website.
But what about bad copywriting?
Bad copywriting is just out to sell something regardless of whether its right for that person or not. Often it fails to connect emotionally or even rationally, so the chances of a visitor buying or even sticking around as far as the ‘buy now button’ is low.
How to keep your site trustworthy and sincere
Writing a captivating, benefits-infused message does take practice. There are however, some things you can definitely avoid with little effort.
3 things to avoid in your website copywriting
1. It’s all about the humanity
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about improving your online visibility and search engine rank when web users look up keywords relating to your business.
SEO copywriting fell into disrepute with undesirable practices from people out to make money fast. It evolved into a kind of Tolkein-esque battle playing out across the internet with the web as Middle Earth and the forces of good (‘white hat’) and bad (‘black hat’).
Black hat SEO techniques are shady means of manipulating search engines by hiding keyword text or posting blog comment spam. White hat SEO on the other hand ensures users receive quality, relevant content using keywords naturally within the text and in h1 tags, titles and links.
While search engine optimisation (SEO) is an important aspect of website copywriting, don’t just write for the robots.
Yes you need to get found online and including keywords is important. But the days of stuffing your content full of keywords to the point that it’s unreadable, are over.
Search engines now look for quality content, so write everything with humans in mind. Sprinkle in your keywords naturally and you’ll be fine.
2. You’ll never guess what happened next
Are you over-promising your web visitor with sneaky headlines?
You can’t have missed these headlines from the school of Buzzfeed and Upworthy who made their businesses successful by using irresistible, weird headlines. The ones that promise you ‘the most amazing, jaw-dropping thing ever’. Or the old ‘…you’ll never guess what happened next’.
In web writing circles it’s called ‘click-bait’. Basically you’re baiting people with an intriguing headline to get them to your site.
These curiosity-arousing headlines make us want to know what happens next, just like when we read a story and aren’t satisfied until we know the ending. The problem however, is they erode your audience’s trust in you. The headlines are often misleading and disappointing; how often do you truly find out something amazing from these stories?
Yes you’re pushed for time. Maybe you don’t feel confident in writing. But plagiarism – the outright copying of someone else’s work and claiming credit, is never acceptable.
Google may also punish you for duplicate content too by pushing you down in the rankings.
While it’s good to have completely original content on your site, it’s not always possible. For instance, if you guest posted for a big blog, it’s expected at some point you’ll want a copy of that post on your own site. Leave it a few weeks and re-publish on your site (check with the original blog first if that’s OK).
If SEO is an important aspect of your marketing, it’s worth taking a little time to change wording if you plan to reuse your content. You could even do another version. If your first post was ‘the top 5 things to do…’, do a mirror version – ‘the top 5 things not to do…’ so you still focus on the same subject but get around duplication.
Avoiding these website copywriting horrors will make your website stronger. Telling your visitor what they want to know, what’s in it for them and that you understand what they want or need works far better for building trust.
Are you going to avoid your website becoming a horror story this Halloween?
Even if you are avoiding these mistakes, it’s not easy to know how well your site is performing. Take advantage of my free Website Well-being Booster to get 3 personalised tips on improving the content on your site.