5 Questions to Self-Audit Your Website Copy Today
When was the last time you took a good hard look at your website copy?
Perhaps you quickly wrote it and threw your site together yourself back when you first launched your business. Or maybe it once aligned with your company and goals, but your brand and offerings have evolved over time.
Either way, if it’s been a while and you’re noticing little to no traction from your site, it’s a good time to self-audit your website copy. The process may be challenging and even a bit cringeworthy, but it will also be eye-opening and illustrate how you can better reach your target audience and turn more of them into clients.
So check out this guide, jot down the five questions, and grab a friend willing to give your site a gander. It’s time to critique the heck out of your website message (all in the name of progress, of course).
Is your offer and unique value proposition clear?
There are two key elements that should be apparent on your homepage above the fold (i.e., before scrolling): What you offer and your unique value proposition (UVP).
It’s crucial to tell visitors what you do right away. You want to help them, so be clear and avoid confusing language or industry jargon. Don’t make them search to figure out exactly what it is you do—if you do, they’re bound to bounce out the virtual door.
Use the 7-second homepage test to make sure you immediately tell prospects:
What product or service you offer
What problem you solve (i.e., why they should care)
What action you want them to take
The best way to run this test is to recruit someone from outside of your company and industry to review your homepage. These three questions comprise your UVP, which should be able to be summed up in a statement that shows prospects how your product or service will benefit them.
Your UVP shouldn’t stop at your homepage! Chances are, you’re not the only company that does what you do, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have something unique to offer. Highlight what makes you different throughout your website copy.
What sets you apart from the competition? It could be your story, your manufacturing process, the materials and resources you use, or the level of service you provide. Consider spots where your competitors are lacking and show your audience how you fill in the gaps. Check out this post on crafting compelling content for each page on your website.
One of my clients, Ely G Eyelash Extension & Relaxing Spa, expanded her services to include both lash extensions and facial spa treatments. I wrote a homepage headline that 1) sets prospective clients’ expectations and tells them how they will feel after and 2) clearly states what Ely G does. A spa can offer a range of services, so it was important to clarify Ely G’s specialties up front while conveying how her spa is unique.
Do you have clear calls to action?
What do you want your prospects to do when they land on each page on your site? What action do you want them to take?
Every page should have a specific call to action (CTA) repeated throughout it. Your other website copy should support the CTA by giving visitors a reason to take the action (pssst...do this by highlighting into your UVP!).
It may feel “salesy” and uncomfortable to include multiple CTAs, but it’s important to drive visitors to take your desired action. Besides, it’s why they’re checking out your site in the first place! Just follow these tips to develop effective CTAs:
Start it with a command verb: CTAs like “Book an appointment” and “Schedule a free consultation” tell readers exactly what to do.
Use words that evoke emotions: “Save 20% today!” excites visitors (woo savings!).
Use numbers when relevant: Offers with numbers stand out, like “Buy 1 Get 1 Free!”
Keep it on brand: “Treat Yourself” is unique, light, and perfect for a spa (see example below).
Keep it short: Three to five words is a good target length. Too wordy and people will ignore it!
Create a sense of urgency: “Order before midnight!”
Make them stand out: Use either a prominent button or colorful, bold text link.
Do your service and/or product descriptions convey value?
Have you effectively explained the main benefits customers will enjoy when they work with or purchase from you?
Service and product copy should highlight the most valuable (to your customers) aspects early on, then dive into more detail further down the page. Remember, you don’t have to include every detail—just those that have the most impact for your target audience.
Think of how you present and sell your offering. Here are a few more questions to consider as you review your service or product pages:
How is your pricing structured?
Do you offer packages?
Do you provide volume or quantity discounts?
How can you show your audience how much value they receive when working with you?
Ok, this example is not a website, but it came to mind as I thought of advertising price and value. I recently went to a brewery with two flight options: A flight of four tasting pours for $9, or a flight of five for $10. Now, math has never been my strong suit, but even I quickly picked up which was the better deal. Pay close attention to how your pricing is displayed. Make sure it makes sense and conveys value.
Another way to build value is by describing the process for working with you, particularly for service-based businesses. Show them how easy you make it, how much attention and guidance you provide, and how much better their lives will be thanks to your solution(s).
Keep it straightforward but don’t be afraid to take a bit more time detailing the value to your audience. This is especially important for companies that require larger investments and offer more complex goods or services. Break it down into simple, layman’s terms without industry jargon. Use formatting techniques like bulleted lists to make it easier to digest.
Branding and web design studio SkyHouse Creative, provides a LOT of value and deliverables to clients. When writing their service copy, I focused on describing how it works, what it’s like working with SkyHouse, and everything her clients receive to set their brand up for success.
Does the voice and style align with your brand?
Or at least, does it align with the brand image you want to portray? If not or if you’re not sure, it’s time to assess what you want that voice to be. A few questions to ask yourself to help develop your brand voice are:
What kind of messaging and language will resonate with your target audience?
How do you want them to feel when they land on your site?
Are there certain words or phrases you want to use or avoid?
Is the copy very long and hard to read?
Do you use too much industry jargon?
Does it sound too much like everyone else in your industry?
Maybe your tone is warm and comforting, or light with a smart sense of humor, or professional and trustworthy. Whatever you want it to be and however you want prospects to feel should come across in all of your website copy.
When you take the time to identify your UVP, you will also have an easier time developing your own brand voice. It should stand out from the crowd, rather than sound like all the competition.
Is your web copy optimized for search engines and audiences?
Are you getting traffic and sales from your website? If you check your metrics and Google Analytics and see little to no activity, it’s time to evaluate your keywords and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Your website copy should contain key terms that your audience is actually searching for. Each page should have a primary keyword, which should be included in the main headlines (H1 and H2) and throughout the body copy, along with other related terms. The primary keywords should always be used early on each page. Without an effective keyword strategy, Google won’t know your pages can help answer searchers’ queries.
Once you incorporate those important keywords, you also need to consider the structure of your content. Are you providing the most important information and answering prospects’ most burning questions up top? Could the information be more complete and helpful? Find the gaps. This is another point where having someone from outside your organization review your website content can be a big help.
I could go on and on about this, but you can learn more about developing an on-page SEO strategy here.
Did you cringe a lot as you went through these questions and reviewed your website messaging? Don’t stress it—you can turn it around and make your website work for you, instead of sitting there stumped about why it’s not bringing in any leads or sales. And I will be more than happy to help you take it to the next level, so schedule a free consultation today!