When you set out to get a website built it can be a challenging task – there is a lot to think about. You need to consider images for your site, domain names, hosting, search engine optimisation, Google rankings, social media links and what pages to put where.
One of the most important decisions you can make is about the tone and content of the words on your site.
You've Got 8 Seconds
Writing for people to read online is very different to writing for other mediums. When visitors arrive on your site they make an assessment of you as a business very quickly. Mostly in 8 seconds or less.
That’s right you have no more than 8 seconds to catch their attention or they may well move on. The words that you put on the top of your home page are critical.
Make it Count
And those words shouldn’t be about your business. Wait . . . what? It’s your website, shouldn’t it be about your business?
I hate to be the one to break it to you but it’s not all about you. It’s about your customers. What are the words they want to see when they arrive on your website?
To work that out, consider who comes looking at your site and what they are looking for when they arrive. Most people arrive at your website because either Google (or any other search engine) or a mate of theirs at last weekend’s barbecue told them that you could solve their problem.
And whether they find you through a Google search, paid advertising or a referral from a mate, you better hope that the top part of your home page captures their imagination. Whether that is with a savvy image or some amazing text which shows you can solve their problem.
How can you Help?
What one thing can you help them with? And how would you describe it in 3-5 words? If you’ve been on my website you will know it is all about “websites, digital marketing and blogging”. And then the solution for you? Grow your Business and Connect with Customers. Simple, straightforward, clear.
Or you can get the message across with an amazing lifestyle picture. Have a look at Nike.com and see the particular runners they want you to buy this week.
Go and browse at naturalwoodfloor.co.uk – “Beautifully crafted, designed to last”. You already know what they do from their web address and then you get the message on the home page. I hung around and had a look at their floors even though I have no intention of having them do work for me. I stayed on their site for well more than 8 seconds!
Try Adidas: “This is Power”. Then a button to Shop Now – really simple, clear messaging.
Above the Fold
That first part of your home page is referred to as “Above the Fold”. The term is based on the broadsheet newspapers that get folded in half on the newsstand. What is “above the fold” is always read by passers-by and purchasers, but the rest of the page is generally only seen by those who purchase the paper.
The message at the top of your website – that is, Above the Fold, is that critical piece of branding and messaging that you want to reflect your brand, it’s values and your core business!
Wow! It can be tricky trying to come up with something that is short, accurate, and that speaks to your target market’s key pain point in 5 words or less – that seems like quite a challenge and can take some thinking and re-thinking to come up with something that will help you stand out and get the right people to keep scrolling.
What to Avoid
Whatever it is above the fold, keep it minimal.
- Don’t use generic words like stunning, awesome, amazing (even though you are!). They are so subjective that you may well just come across as extraordinarily egotistical and meaningless.
- Avoid words that mean everything. Trying to appeal to everyone will make your words feel bland and forgettable. Write specifically for your target market and use words they would use, not words that are industry jargon for your business.
- Don’t start with “I” or “We”. Frankly, no one cares who you are until they know whether you can solve their problem.
Hint: If you must start with an “I” or “We” statement, write it, then turn it around from “We are the best team of tradies for getting your bathroom renovations done quickly and professionally” to “licenced bathroom renovators”, then you could add a catchy secondary heading like “we minimise the inconvenience of updating your conveniences”.
- Don’t use technical words that mean something to you, as the specialist – they may not mean anything to your target market. Don’t write “We stock tea pots, trivets and slow cookers” (boring), try something like “homewares you’ll want to take home” (catchier).
Know your Target Audience
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client, your target market, use their language, consider what is important to them and address their pain point.
It Gets Easier
Once you’ve nailed the content “Above the Fold” the style and approach for the rest of your website actually becomes easier – you have already set the tone and the intent and the rest of your website can easily follow through.
And remember – it can be fun to try out new things and see
how it fits with your brand – so let your imagination run until you find
something that is just that little bit different that speaks to your audience.
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know. In return for your super proof reading, I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.
Get in Touch
If you’d like help with your digital or online marketing, then make a time to chat by using the orange button below. I can help you to:
- Clarify your target market.
- Identify the types of posts that will resonate with your target audience
- Help you create a posting plan and manage your social media
- Get your digital presence ranking up, whether it’s through your Facebook or your website.types