How To Turn Bad Website Copy Into Writing That Wins People Over
Take a look at your website. Are you encouraging inbound enquiries? When your readers, potential clients or customers arrive at your home page, are they feeling welcomed by a conversation? Or are they turned off by bad copy?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already got great copy that talks to your visitors as soon as they arrive. But we all know there are a whole bunch of websites in the world that could be doing more to help both the owner and the visitor.
Usually you’ll find these sites kicking around on page 2 of the Google search results. They’ll certainly be outside of the top 5 organic entries. Quite often, they will also be poorly designed, perhaps done on Wix. It’s likely the owner put it together themselves, and they will probably know that it could be better.
Perhaps their business is already doing fine as it is. They’re getting enough work through referrals, and customers maybe don’t expect a website that talks to them. But imagine how much more business that company could be getting with text that drew people in and helped them appear higher on search results.
If what I’m saying reminds you of your own site, don’t despair. Turning around the copy is straightforward, and the results will change how your customers, and you, will see your business.
Let’s look at a real-world example.
Check out this example from a regional company’s website:
This is the opening paragraph on the business’ home page, below a big photo of their van and a list of services. The first thing I noticed was the absence of a human face. A photo of the owner and his team by the van would be the first step in appealing to visitors. But I’m not here to talk about the pictures…
What strikes me about the copy is the lack of attention to the reader. The whole paragraph is just about the company and blandly, if accurately, points out their features. ‘We offer…’, ‘Our Skills…’, ‘We are…’ and so on. No mention of any benefits from them that might excite the viewer.
Remember, a reader is always thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’. If they see a bunch of features, at the back of their mind a voice is saying ‘So what?’. A potential customer needs to see benefits and to imagine how things will be better if they take up the service. The text is crying out for some imaginative work to engage them.
Also, the company could show they’re aware the reader has a problem, and that they have the solution. They could show they understand the customer, and present solutions to them.
Reading between the lines
Anyone looking for roofers will have an issue with their house and home that needs sorting out, perhaps urgently. That’s quite a big pain point.
The company has a range of skills, which means the client can be sure their property will be left in a great condition when the job is finished.
They have a local target base, which is good for accountability to the customer and also will appeal to those who want to support local tradespeople.
They mentioned recommendations, and there are indeed some favourable quotes from happy customers further down the page. This kind of social trust indicator should be brought up into the reader’s line of sight. Two good testimonials will carry much more weight than simply saying that people are satisfied.
Finally, it needs a headline that says more than ‘Welcome to…’, and of course come kind of call to action.
Let’s try to turn this around. Here’s a quick re-write:
(Company Name) — Solid Roofing Repairs For Your House & Home
Are the tiles on your roof slipping or broken? Has your felt roof started letting in water? Or do you have a new roofing project?
At (company name), you can be sure of a quick and friendly response, and a professional pride in the job.
“They carried out their work with the minimum of fuss and mess, which allowed me to get back to work as soon as possible. Two very polite professional tradesmen who I would happily recommend. Having dealt with and been let down by a number of different tradesmen within the last few weeks, they were a pleasure to do business with.” — Dawn B
“We had a leak on our flat roof which needed to be checked and repaired as soon as possible. Henry and his team responded quickly to give us a reasonable quote and completed the work to a high standard as soon as they could. Thank you team.” — Miral P
A problem with your roof could develop into a problem for your whole house if not dealt with quickly. We’ll make sure we get to you as soon as possible to see what we can do to help.
(Company name) has been serving Brentwood and the surrounding area for 46 years, the last 30 years including work for Brentwood Council.
We’ll give you a straightforward quote for the work — no bulking-out of invoices or exaggerated costs. We look after our reputation by looking after our clients, and you’ll be no exception.
Whatever the problem, big or small, commercial or residential, give us a call. One of us will always be available to talk it over and get to your property ASAP.
How does that make you feel?
Can we improve it any more? Some of it is a bit wordy maybe. Let’s try:
(Company Name) — Roofing & Repairs For Your Property
Damp patches on your ceiling or walls? Birds or squirrels nesting in your attic? Then your roof needs repair.
Call either Tom or Harry today on (insert number). They’ll be happy to visit you as soon as possible to assess the situation, give some quick advice and provide you with a quote.
(insert the two quotes here)
After 46 years of serving Brentwood and the surrounding areas in Essex, we know what we’re doing, we know the best local solutions, and have a great reputation. So much so, Brentwood Council has been giving us work for the last 30 years.
As well as roofing, we also cover painting and building maintenance, so we will leave your whole home or workplace in top condition, not just the roof.
Call us now for a free estimate from an expert. Your roof is safe in our hands.
There is still more to do…
Of course, this is all just shooting blindly. I haven’t checked what the company’s general clients are like, what kind of language they might use, nor what questions they often ask. Nor have I done any work to look at keywords and common search terms, etc. If I did, then we could work to improve it even more.
But for a start on the text, it’s gone some way to addressing the visitor in a more direct and readable way, drawing on their possible issues. This will help the company twofold: making the text more appealing to Google (its algorithms favour naturally-flowing copy) and improving their image to their customers.
I can’t see any negatives to this, and it would just be the start of upping the ante on this company’s website. Given more time, we could edit the page tags, meta descriptions and alt text on images, and also look at backlinks, commercial listings and social media.
Then we could also try adding more content to the site, like tip sheets and info guides to position them in people’s minds as experts. And then finally see where they stand on social media.
I’m confident we could get them moving up the Google rankings, and getting more inbound enquiries. They might even need to hire more people to deal with the extra business and phone calls… If that’s what they want, of course.
Originally published over at my blog at http://www.lookherewriting.com/blog/