The start of the month in internet marketing land should be called copytime. Every website out there is looking for brand new copy, from blogs to social media posts to web copy. Of these three important types of copy, only one is going to represent your website day in and day out. While none should be ignored or written off with any type of nonchalance, I personally believe that webcopy should be the most scrutinized of the three.
After all, many blogs are informal. Social posts aren’t meant to serve as your doctorate. But web copy, this is what the people are looking at when they get to your site. And not only that, it’s what the search engines are looking at when they rank your site. So, it’s easy to see why webcopy should be carefully crafted, but it’s not always so simple to see how it should be crafted.
Five Points to Keep in Mind When Creating Copy for Your Website
Here are five things that you want to keep in mind as you sit down to write your web copy:
1. Capture. The first thing your copy needs to do is capture the attention of your viewers. If you have some bland, boring headline followed by copy that drones on and on, you’re going to bore visitors right off your site (if not to sleep!). Be a little provactive, a little funny, stir it up. The average person browses dozens of websites each and every day, what is going to make them stay on yours?
2. Portray. Your webcopy should be very clear in conveying your value proposition. Visitors need to know exactly what makes you different from your competition. Why should they spend their money with you when there are 50 million other sites selling the exact same product or service? If you can’t answer this, then how can you expect your customers to understand it?
3. Stand Out. People don’t really have time to read everything you write. Even if you’re the most interesting writer in the world, eating a nice juicy steak is more interesting. You aren’t going to compete with reality, so make your content easily accommodating in that you have all key points standing out for quick scanning. Headings and subheadings are a must. Numbered and bullet lists help people get the information they need, do what they have to do and then get on with their life. You aren’t inviting them over for tea, you’re inviting them to learn what you have to offer them and then convincing them to take it and leave.
4. Describe. Description is vital for many products and services, yet so many marketers buy into the “picture is worth a thousand words” ideaology of content creation. Pictures are amazing, yes (videos are even better), but you need the details, features and benefits of your products and services in writing. Why? If nothing else, for the search engines and to rank for keywords, but trust me, there are still people out there enjoy reading everything they can about a product before making a purchase. Remember, an informed consumer buys more.
5. Perfection. Finally, it’s vital that your webcopy be absolutely free and clear of errors. No spelling mistakes, no grammatical errors, no txt spk. You want to convey authority on your site and nothing will lose it faster than mspelling a werd or too or making grammer errors or having poor punctuashun?
Overall, webcopy is to a website what a salesperson is to a brick-and-mortar location. You wouldn’t hire just anybody and send them out there uninformed and unpresentable, don’t do that with your webcopy.
It’s the age old entrepreneur’s dilemma: “I have a job, but I also want to be my own boss/found a company/pursue my passion. Of course, I also don’t know that I can give up the security of a full time job in order to pursue my dreams, what do I do?”
This question is posted in the subreddit for startups probably every single week, and many more times across forums and blogs dedicated to internet marketing and entrepreneurship. Everyone wants a magic answer, or the nudge they need to tell their boss where he or she can stick it, as they strike out on their own, destined for great things. The truth, however, is something that no one really wants to hear: you should do both.
At least in the beginning, the best balance is to sacrifice other areas of your life to pursue your self-employment goals while at the same remaining secure in your employment. Believe it or not, the reasoning for this extends beyond the financial. Often, one of the things people realize when they start pursuing both options at once, is that there is amazing potential for the cross pollination of skills between both pursuits. Skillsets you develop when working on your own and with more freedom and choice of tasks may teach your new skills that boost your on the job results. Likewise, your current role will likely offer you skills and expertise that you can carry over to your freelance and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Additionally, many people can use this lifestyle as a stress test to figure out how bad they want to live the life of an entrepreneur. The truth is, those that are successful in this lifestyle often work far more hours per day than those who work a 40 or 50 hour per week job. When you continue regular employment and have to come home, tired, and still pour in several hours to your own business, you’ll start to get an idea of how badly you want it. If you find yourself unable to rally from 6pm to 11pm every night, you might be getting an indicator that quitting your job to pursue what you thought was your goal could have been a huge mistake in the first place.
Now, there are exceptions to this rule, just as there will always be people who are exceptions to any mantra or rule, written or unwritten, that will ever exist. That said, many people seem to not be able self-audit and realize that it is the exception, not the norm, that someone can jump straight into their entrepreneurial pursuit, throw caution to the wind, and come out on top. Ninety percent or more of startups fail, and your own personal brand, be it for freelance, affiliate marketing, or otherwise, falls into this category.
Of course, you may just be the exception that proves this entire sentiment to be invalid in your life, so don’t take anyone else’s word for it, right?
Software tools that help marketers pop up every single year, and now at a far more rapid pace than ever before. Luckily more and more of these tools are taking on a freemium approach, meaning that marketers have access to better tools without spending much (or anything at all!).
Let’s take a look at some of the tools you can be using for free, right now, to boost your business.
Canva – an incredible free design software that purports to make anyone a designer. To be fair, it’s not far from the truth; Canva is a drag and drop editor filled with thousands of free images, backgrounds, and elements that you can piece together, resize, and recolor, along with text elements, in order to make some seriously snazzy logos, content images, and more.
You can use premium elements for $1 each in any design, but it’s fairly easy to create professional looking images without ever using a paid element. Plus, Canva allows you to upload your own photos and incorporate them into your designs, further eliminating the need to pony up any cash for your design needs.
Unsplash.com – In need of stock images? This site is one of the best royalty free, no BS sites you can find for stock images that are actually free to be used for any purpose â€“ even commercial! Unsplash uploads a limited number of new images each week, but it’s been around for a while so there’s a healthy batch of material up there at this point.
Unsplash doesn’t have everything, however, and you might have trouble finding images of people in various scenarios (though there are many useable office/work environment type photos). Where Unsplash really shines is in environmental, landscape, and architectural images, so if those will work into your material, you’re definitely in luck!
Infogr.am – Inforgram allows you to quickly and easily create infographics for your business. You’ll be able to create a number of free infographics per account, and then you have to pay to create more. If you’re really strapped for cash, you could theoretically create more than one account to garner more free creations.
Infographics are a hugely popular information consumption format right now, and it’s no wonder why: Infographics are able to quickly and easily demonstrate complex concepts and figures visually. Because so much of the world learns well from visual input, and infographics keep people from having to skim through writing and research to pull out statistics and talking points, infographics can get shared like crazy.
Buffer – For many delving into social media for the first time for their brands, their barrier to entry is either not wanting to pay for software to manage many platforms, or for not having the time to even manage a couple on their own. Buffer is a platform that allows you to schedule social media posts across multiple channels at once, and you’ll be able to do it all for free if you’re only managing a few different platform. If you’re looking to manage a whole bunch of channels at once, however, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription.