Move over spiders, snakes and public speaking. There’s a new Big Bad Guy spooking the sh*t outta adventurous entrepreneurs across the globe:
Crappy website copy that doesn’t convert.
Alright, time to get real with you: At its most basic, your website is there to welcome, woo and win over your dream audience.
And sure, scaring people might be fun to do on Halloween, but it’s probably (definitely) not how you want to make your visitors feel when they land on your site.
But … do your words really have that much spooking power?
Why crappy copy matters
Okay, so you might be thinking, “Cass, who really cares about the words on my website? Nobody reads everything anyway.”
Or even, “My website design is legendary – it can carry my copy.”
I get it. I do. You’re right: You can’t expect every visitor to read every word on your site. Heck, you’re probably skim-reading this article as we speak.
(I see youuuu. *Spooky noises*)
And look, I’m the first to encourage my clients to invest in professional graphic design. There’s almost nothing I support more.
But y’know what happens once they’ve treated their eyes to your website’s visual beauty?
They. Start. Reading.
‘Cause a picture might say a thousand words …
… But it also says zero.
For example, your visuals don’t tell your visitor:
- Who you are
- Your story
- What you do
- The value you offer
- Why they can’t live without you
- How you can transform their lives
- How to buy from you
So, yeah, you need words.
But not just any words: You need creative copy that converts.
‘Cause if you roll and stroll in with crappy copy, you could wind up looking:
- Like you don’t care about your audience
- Like you lack substance
Talk ‘bout a horror story.
And you and I both know you’re none of those things. You’re kind, creative and care about your audience.
Which is why you’re here.
So if you’re ready to stop serving up spooks and start treating your visitors instead, keep scrolling.
Seven ways your web copy might be scaring off your visitors
You have too much copy.
I’m all for storytelling, but there’s a huge difference between being comprehensive and serving up an epic saga that takes centuries for your visitors to explore. Ain’t nobody got time (or patience) for that.
Pro tip: If your offering needs to be explained in more detail, you can make your words seem less ‘heavy’ by keeping your sentences and paragraphs short. Also, embrace the line-break. 😉
You don’t have enough copy.
Now before you go and delete 90% of your copy, I should make it clear that you do still need some words. Micro copy (aka bite-sized one-liners) is great for pops of personality, but to build that bond with your audience, you’ll still need to weave storytelling through your site.
Pro tip: It’s a Goldilocks style balancing act, but as a rule of thumb, you should invest the majority of your words in your ‘about’ and sales pages. After that, your home page is next in line for wordy weight.
It’s poorly written.
Tough love time. If writing isn’t your zone of genius – or if you hate writing -, outsource it. It doesn’t have to be to me (don’t worry, this isn’t that type of promo post), but you’re truly letting your business and brand down if your copy isn’t polished, captivating and well-written.
It’s a little self-absorbed (sorry).
Ego check: Your business isn’t just for you. It’s for your dream audience. So if you find yourself using “I” more than “You” in your copy, it could be a sign that your words are wandering over to the self-absorbed dark side.
Pro tip: On every page of your site, you should be thinking about what your audience needs from you. For example, on your home page, they’re probably wondering where the heck they’ve landed, and it’s your job to quickly introduce yourself, make your value clear and guide them in their next step
It’s SUPER aggressive.
Okay, so your website is totally there to sell. You’re right. BUT. You don’t have to sell aggressively – you can make a profit without being pushy. So if your words are screaming, “BUY NOW!”, “LAST CHANCE” and “BOOOOOO – LEMME TRY AND TRICK YOU WITH SOME FOMO-INDUCING SCARCITY TACTICS”, you might want to chill out a bit and consider how you’d feel if you were visiting your site as a potential customer.
Pro tip: A lot of ‘selling’ comes from clearly articulating your value and how you can help. Which great copy can do!
It’s overly complex.
A few quick questions for you: Does your copy make it easy to understand what you do and how you can help? Is every single word on your website beginner-friendly? And if somebody who had never interacted with your industry/niche landed on your website, could they understand what you’re talking about? If you’ve answered, “no” to any of these questions, your copy is too complex, cupcake.
Pro tip: Avoid lingo and complex industry language on your website.
This is the Age of the Short Attention Span. If your copy can’t capture and keep your audience’s attention for at least a few minutes, you’re in trouble. (And your conversions will be trembling with fear.)
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to flaunt your personality. You’re a limited edition, one-of-a-kind genius. There’s nobody else on this planet like you. Own it!
Want more free copywriting tips? I’m on the ‘gram, yo (and dying to meet ya!)
Official creator and word nerd at Wild Spirit Co. I’m a former journalist and communications manager turned word-wrangler for hire. These days, I fist bump with clever entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses searching for words that woo and copy that converts. I have nine years of experience tucked into the waistband of my yoga tights (which I do everything but yoga in) and am the go-to girl for personality-packed communications that blend strategy with storytelling.