February 2010
Copywriting Curiosities
Write Better Marketing Copy Now!
In This Issue
10 Ways to Improve Your Website Right Now
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Dear Robyn,

I've been working on a lot of websites lately, specifically how to improve them. What do I mean by "improve" anyway? Any improvements you make should have one ultimate goal: to increase conversions.

So what's a conversion? A conversion could be an actual sale, but it could also be a newsletter sign-up, white paper download, new follower on Twitter, or any other number of actions a prospect takes. I consider these successful conversions since you've captured a prospect's interest and you can now market to him or her further.

So here are 10 ways to improve your website right now--improvements that will help boost those all-important conversions.

Enjoy the issue, and hit me back with your comments.

Robyn (The Copy Bitch)
10 Ways to Improve Your Website
Right Now 
1. Put your phone number and email on every page, ideally in the upper right-hand corner. (Trust me. Your web designer can make it look good.) Why? Well, you never know what page people will enter your site on. Don't make it hard for them to contact you. What if someone is on one of your web pages, you've wowed them with your message, and they want to call you and buy RIGHT NOW, but they're searching for how to contact you? At this point, you don't want them to click over to your contact page. You want them to be able to contact you from the page they're already on, which is why you need to include this info on every page.

2. Links to other websites should open in new windows or tabs. If you send people away from your site, they might not find their way back. I reviewed a client's site last year that linked to sites like Google. And I mean, the link left the client's site and went to Google. I won't even get into why there was no reason for these links to be on this site in the first place, but they should have at least opened in new windows or tabs.

3. Provide free content - no form required. Think blog, expert articles (e.g. ones you wrote for other publications), and newsletter archives.

4. Provide free premium content - form required. If you have something worthwhile to offer, people will be willing to surrender some information in order to get it. A free offering, such as a white paper, works especially well if you're a service firm because you've now given the prospect something tangible, something he or she can actually hold on to, with your name on it. Make sure your form allows people to opt in to your newsletter list.

5. Provide paid content. People are willing to pony up cash if it's something worthwhile. Back when I started my business, I came across SEO Jill Whalen's The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines, which she sold (and still sells) on her site. I bought it right then and there. It's one of the best purchases I ever made, and I've been following Jill ever since. Remember, your website should be making you money, even in your sleep. Selling products is a great way to increase this "passive income" channel. Don't know what to sell? Think e-books on a subject you're an expert in. If you're an acupuncturist who loves to cook, sell an e-book with 52 immune-boosting recipes for every week of the year. If you're an accountant, sell an e-book on three simple methods for small business owners to keep track of expenses. You get the idea.

6. Create a kick-ass "about us" section. Too many small business websites put time and effort into their service pages and home page and then neglect the about us section. Too bad, since studies suggest that if people take the time to visit an about us page, you have a better chance of converting them (check out this article that speaks to this point). Have fun in this section. Create a visual timeline of your company's history. Create memorable bios instead of dry, boring, corporate-speak bios. Add extras, like video, pictures, links to charities your organization supports, or something else that will stay in people's minds while building trust.

7. Provide complete contact information on your contact page. Yeah, you can include a form. But you should also make your mailing address, phone number, and email address available for people who prefer contacting you that way.

8. Include Twitter and Facebook info on every page. I'm just starting to recommend this because too often when I'm trying to figure out a Twitter handle, I'll go to the company site and can't find the info anywhere. Include a Facebook and Twitter logo on every page, ideally in the upper right-hand corner of the site, where you also have your other contact info.

9. Sprinkle testimonials throughout the site. Sure, it's fine to have a testimonials page that serves as your repository for all happy customer quotes. But consider including a testimonial on each core service page. Choose a testimonial that speaks to the service. Other people's words can be much more persuasive than your own. Want to take it to the next level? Start using video testimonials from clients. This adds a whole new level of engagement.

10. Check each website page for these seven web copy best practices:
  • One bold, keyword-rich main headline
  • Solid use of second person (you) and first person (I/we)
  • Short sentences & paragraphs (with bulleted lists, when appropriate)
  • One main message (if you have more than one main message, you likely have TWO web pages)
  • Keyword-rich hyperlinks to other pages on your site
  • Keyword-rich title tag (should reflect the headline)
  • Clear call-to-action
Let me know how these strategies work out for you. And if you need someone to write your kick-ass about section, I'm your writer. Email me now and let's set up a time to talk.
Happy almost spring! (It is almost spring, right? RIGHT?)
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