You walk out of your front door ready to face the world confidently, head held high, only to be deflated by people who wonder what is wrong with your look. Did you make a mistake? How come you didn’t see that piece of hair sticking straight out of your head?
Sometimes our perception does not exactly equate to reality and this can spill over into our website content. You may think you are “getting the message across”, “speaking to your audience”, and “increasing conversions”, while in fact your website content could actually…well…blow.
Here are 5 warning signs that your content may need some help:
1. Word Repetition
If you read your content and you notice that your content is filled with content that repeats content, you may have a problem. So you may not use the same word in a sentence 4 times, but even repetition of the same word in a cluster of sentences is distracting and annoying.
Read your copy out loud. This will help you spot horrifying word repetition.
2. Grammar Goofs
This is one of my pet peeves. When I visit a site that is using the word “they’re” wrong, I leave it immediately. It signals to me that the business did not have the capital to hire a professional writer so they must not be profitable.
You may not have the budget for a professional writer, but don’t let your copy show it. Pay attention to the most popular grammar mistakes:
Its vs. It’s
RIGHT: It’s a beautiful day outside.
RIGHT: My computer and its peripherals are missing.
WRONG: Its time to go to the store
WRONG: Sally’s company is selling it’s storefront to revamp it’s online business.
Tip: Use it’s when you can replace it with “it is” and the sentence still sounds correct.
They’re vs. Their vs. there
RIGHT: They’re planning to go on vacation.
WRONG: They’re dog ate my homework.
RIGHT: Their dog ate my homework
WRONG: There planning to go on vacation.
RIGHT: She is hiding over there.
WRONG: She wants to go their for spring break.
Tip: Use they’re when you can replace it with “they are” and the sentence still sounds correct. “Their” is used before a noun to describe something you possess.
You’re vs. Your
RIGHT: You’re not doing it right
WRONG: Remember to get you’re car washed tomorrow.
RIGHT: Your car needs to be washed
WRONG: You’re car is in need of repairs.
Tip: Use you’re when you can replace it with “you are” and the sentence still sounds correct.
There are dozens more grammar rules you know, but these three seem to top the list. It won’t hurt to research the common grammar mistakes and scan your website copy to identify any.
3. Too Wordy
Don’t give your website visitors your entire life story. They are not on your website to read a novel. They want specific information and fast!
Separate your copy with bold headlines, bulleted lists and emphasized phrases. Focus on the reader, not just why you are so awesome. Give your visitors your purpose, product/service benefits and how you are different from your competition in as few words as possible (200-250 words approx. per page).
4. No Call to Action
Once you fix your copy, you must lead your visitors to take action! Encourage your visitors to buy, sign up for your newsletter, or contact you. You readers need to be told exactly what to do.
5. Target Audience Mismatch
If you sell products to retirees, don’t write edgy copy that appeals to the rowdy spring break crowd.
This example is extreme, but it should remind you to analyze your target audience and what they desire. A travel website offering exotic destination vacation packages will write copy that is adventurous and daring, while a wedding favors website will appeal to the female demographic and display a celebratory tone.
Your website copy is part of your visitor’s first impression. If it blows, you will not only forfeit conversions, but you may also garner a few laughs (of ridicule). Take another look in the mirror at your website copy. Do you see something out of place this time?