The good news is you don’t have to be Hemingway to succeed. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do it well.
Your web copy doesn’t have to be Pulitzer-level writing to make it great (though that would help, of course).
But as long as it’s entertaining, accurate, and useful copy — and, most importantly, it steers the customer through the sales funnel — then it’s achieving its purpose and you’ve done a great job.
Writing clean web copy that sells is tough and time-consuming work, both from a writing and a technical point of view. Writers need to get the facts right about the products or services that they’re promoting, but they also need to know how to optimize the technical elements of a web page so that it’s indexed for search engines and will perform the way it’s supposed to, as part of the sales funnel.
Hemingway never had to do that part of the job or worry about whether he’d hit all the required keywords!
Don’t worry, though. Orpheus has got your back. We’ve been working on web copy since that even became a thing, and we want to share a few basics and insights that will help you create web copy that checks all the important sales boxes.
Optimize Your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
These two bad boys always go hand in hand, like nerdy hall monitors watching over the top of your article. Together, they work to tell the search engines what this article is about. Imagine the hall monitors calling you over as you slip out of class. One asks “Who are you?” and the other chimes in “Where are you going?” Those are your title tag and the meta description.
Whenever your web page appears on a list of search engine results, the copy you see there is the title tag that names the page and the meta description filling in more detail and enticing you to click.
The title tag refers to the title element of any web page. It may be the same as the header on the page, but not always. In general, title tags appear in three places: search engine results pages (SERPs), browser tabs and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
An effective title tag should clearly and succinctly indicate what an article or page is about and make it easy for search engines to understand. It must contain relevant keywords and phrases, ideally with the most important one toward the front. And, on a practical note, you should count your characters when you write title tags. Keep it under 40–60 characters total so it fully fits on the SERP.
This is where you get to provide a short summary of what the page is about and provide a compelling reason for the searcher to click through to your page. Try to make every page description individualized. Don’t just cut and paste it. A call to action also works well in this space. Keep your meta description down to about 150 characters, or it will get cut off by the search engine.
How To Unleash Effective Headlines, Subheads, and CTAs
Headlines, or headers, are critical for your page flow. Headers signal a shift from one idea to the next, summarize the content you’re about to deliver, and signal the importance of this idea within the bigger article. The bigger the headline, the more importance you’re giving it. The best web copy uses H1, H2 and H3 headlines to break up the copy and provide signposts for the reader. Search engines love a variety of headline sizes.
Subheaders are also very important. Just like meta descriptions, they provide more detail and give greater context to your headlines. For example, the headline often asks a question, and the subheader often answers it and entices the reader to move on and find more.
Subheads are useful tools to nudge the reader along and set up the mood and goals of your content. Don’t overuse them, though — keep the subhead at the top of your story, after the main headline.
The call to action is the final part of a power trio. It comes at the end of the article and uses all that goodwill that you’ve built up with the reader to good effect — getting them to click where you want them to go next. The call to action should be a clear and direct, but polite, instruction on what they should do now that they’ve reached the end of your content. It might direct them to another article, newsletter signup, or a related product page.
Consider Best Practices for Linking
When you link correctly, it helps you place your website within the vast ecosystem of the web. Linking is both an internal exercise, where you select and link your own related web pages, and an external one, where your page links to other businesses and sites.
Linking is important first because it helps users to navigate a website. It’s also useful for establishing the hierarchy of information for all the pages that make up your site.
Try to have an even spread of relevant internal and external links that pull the user along the sales funnel toward an interaction. The more prominently a link is displayed, the more clicks it will get, so make sure you give the correct weight to your most important web pages.
External links should create good associations with other leading brands in your industry or help consumers get deeper knowledge about your products and services. You don’t want to give them too many pathways to get off your site before the call to action, though, so use external links sparingly and be certain that you set the link up to open in a new tab so it doesn’t navigate away from your website.
Don’t Neglect the Small Things
Once you’ve written all your copy, created the title and meta tags, and inserted the links, it’s time to work on all the other little things that make web copy attractive and sellable. For instance, nothing turns a buyer off like spelling errors and typos in your web copy. Take the time to check and double-check.
Make sure you know whether you should be using U.S. or U.K. spellings and stick to them. Review and ensure you have placed keywords evenly throughout the copy, giving them prominence without drawing too much attention to them. Check that the links work and that they’re going to the right place. Insert images or photos where you can to elevate the story, and don’t forget to add tags to the photos so web crawlers can index the images. Credit them properly.
All of this hygiene may sound annoying, and you may wonder if the readers will even notice. They do — maybe not overtly but it adds up to create an impression about your brand. Plus, Google’s AI definitely notices and rewards those web pages that are created with care and expertise ahead of those that are rushed online and not optimized. There’s no question about it.
Content Is King
It’s an old saying, but it’s still true. The quality of your content is king. If you take the time to create interesting copy for your website, social media, blogs, and email newsletters, then you’re putting yourself way ahead of the game.
You’re also getting great feedback every day in terms of analytics about how well your website is working. With reports that show you who clicked where and when, and even how long it took them, you can watch in real-time to see how well your copy is performing. You can then optimize it along the way so it gets better and better. Find what works and double down on that. Apply the writing style that’s working to another part of your website.
Great web copy that’s well optimized will sell. It always has, and it always will.
Reach out to one of our agents today, and let’s get started with web copy that sells.