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15 Quick Fixes for Your Website Copy

April 24 2012

keyYou can argue about whether or not content is king until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, there's no denying the power of the written word. Put in the context of your website, this means: the copy on your website can have an immense impact on traffic, leads, sales, and much more. There's endless advice on how to punch-up your website copy to be found online, but I'm going to condense some of the most helpful points here.

1. Write a headline that will grab their attention! Start strong with a headline that offers a benefit to your reader. They should be able to see right away what the webpage is about, and understand quickly that it's a must-read.

2. Use techniques that allow readers to scan. This means using subheadings, bullets, numbered lists, short sentences and brief paragraphs.

3. Implement the "inverted pyramid." Never heard of this before? It's a writing technique that puts the most compelling, interesting, useful information first and saves the fluff for the end.

4. Read your copy out loud. You'll be surprised how many errors and awkward sentences you catch out loud that you miss with endless proofreading.

5. Include a call-to-action on every page. A call-to-action (CTA) is a phrase that encourages readers to take some sort of action. For a real estate website, this might be, "Learn more about [insert name of neighborhood here]" or "Find the perfect property for you" or "Meet our exceptional agents." A page without a CTA is a WASTED OPPORTUNITY.

6. Maintain a conversational tone. Sure, you'll want to skip the "um," "kinda" and "uh" that we all slip into our conversations, but your overall goal should be to sound friendly, casual, and inviting. This doesn't mean you need to sound inexperienced or unprofessional.

7. Keep it short. Don't write too much. People are turned-off by extremely copy-heavy pages – in fact, they may not even attempt to read them. Get to the point quickly, with as few words as possible.

8. Focus on benefits and solutions. Each webpage is an opportunity for you to explain the benefits of choosing you for a real estate transaction. Put yourself in the mind of your target audience, think about the problems that they're having, and focus on explaining why you are the solution.

9. A page for everything and everything on its page. Don't dump too much unconnected information onto a single page. Focus on creating webpages for each specific topic or purpose.

10. Use links only when they add value. Sure, we'd all love for people to visit more pages on our website and spend a longer amount of time there. However, littering every page with an outrageous number of unnecessary internal links is not the way to do it. Only add a link when it's adding value for your reader.

11. Write for readers, not search engines. The finer points of SEO copywriting can be confusing and often contradictory. One source may say you need to include keywords in the on-page copy while another, equally reputable source, may say that it's only the meta data that matters. Most experts agree, however, that including some keywords in your copy isn't a bad idea. They also agree that keyword-stuffing offers a poor user experience that will completely counteract any SEO bump you get. So, a good rule of thumb is just to include keywords if you can work them in in a way that sounds natural. If you need help with SEO, there are a variety of companies that offer services specific to real estate agents.

12. Avoid using jargon. Assume that your reader knows NOTHING about real estate. They're not going to understand acronyms or technical terms.

13. Talk about them, not yourself. What do I mean by this? People are essentially selfish creatures – they don't care about you, they just want to answer one simple question: "What's in it for me?" So, go back over your website copy and find every sentence that begins with "I," "we," your name, or your company name and see if you can find a way to rework it to begin with "you."

14. Reference your website across other platforms. Whether you're writing a blog post, status update on Facebook, or Tweet, find a way to reference your website and send people back there.

15. Keep your website fresh. Don't let your content stagnate. This is a good rule that will help your search engine rankings and your readability. Fresh content improves SEO, ensures that you are "current," and keeps repeat visitors from getting bored.

These are just a few of the endless tips out there. We'd like to hear from you. What have YOU done to improve the copy on your website? What other questions do you have about Web copywriting?