6 Reasons to Pay for Professional Website Copy

Anyone can write.

…well, pretty much anyone.

Most people, given the time and access to a laptop, could write their own website copy, it’s true.

It would be fine.

You learned to read and write at school. It’s not like flying your own plane; you don’t need advanced training in order to make words appear on the page.

(Many of you would rather fly a plane into an active volcano rather than spend an hour writing, but that’s beside the point.)

Why should you hire a professional writer to do something that you could technically do yourself?

Why it pays to pay for professional copywriting

To Get it Done

You’ve been saying that you’re going to redo your website copy… for how long now?

Even if you had the know-how and the inclination, does it make sense to spend your work time doing it? Or does it make sense to delegate it to a professional?

If you’re spending more than an hour a week keeping your books, you should probably hire an accountant. If you’ve put off an important writing project for more than a month, you should probably hire a writer.

To Get a New Perspective

Many people do a proficient job with their website copy, but there’s something missing.

Something super important.

Most of us have our blind spots, and they pop up most often when we look at ourselves.

It’s extremely obvious to you what you do, but is it obvious to everyone who reads your website?

A few times a month I’ll click to someone’s business site and wonder, “What the heck does this person even sell?”

When I worked in coffee shops in college, people would ask every day where the lids were. Over time, it because astounding, especially when the customer couldn’t figure it out from a simple direction like “over by the door.” It was information that was painfully obvious to me, someone who refilled the lids 20 times every week. It was not clear to someone who was taking in large amounts of new information about the coffee shop—where to order, what to order, where to pick up their drink, who was this stunning young woman behind the counter and why was she so intriguing, etc.

Hiring a writer puts a fresh set of eyes on you and your work.

To Let Someone Else Do the Bragging For You

Sometimes, we’ll forget how important it is to talk about how awesome we are.

I find this a lot with women entrepreneurs, to be honest.

Sometimes, when a client sends me a testimonial for their work, I’m blown away. They’re getting fantastic results, their clients love them for it, yet none of that is reflected in their website copy.

I met with an acupuncturist last year who told me an amazing success story for her client. When she was done, I looked at her and said, “That is an amazing. Why is NONE of it on your website?”

A professional writer doesn’t hype you up. They reflect your light.

To Feed Sales with Confidence

You want your website to be a killer marketing piece.

Is it?

I talk to a lot of business owners who aren’t excited to direct leads to their website, because it’s out of date or was never up to their standards.

Sound familiar?

What would it feel like to know that your website would work for you instead of against you?

To Get a Professional Result

Now, not to brag, but I read a lot. I read about writing. I read about copywriting.

And SEO.

And marketing.

I use all of that information, along with my experience in freelance writing, copywriting, and editing, to bring you a professional result.

That’s my job!

You’re the expert in your business, but copywriters are the experts in writing copy. Hiring a professional means you’ll get a strong scaffold of strategy to hang their beautiful words on. And strategy is all about creating a path that leads to sales.

Speaking of which…

To Support the Bottom Line

Look, we’re all in business to make money, right? I know it’s hard to say goodbye to cash dollars to get professional writing done, but good writing will support your goals. Do you want more traffic? More qualified leads?

What do you need that’ll increase the bottom line at the end of the month?

We’re talking about an investment in your business. You pay for plenty of intangibles that help your business: conferences, networking, training, sponsorships.

Put professional copywriting on your list.


What’s keeping you from paying for professional website copy? I want to hear from you!

hello@kelleygardiner.com

 


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User Experience Audits—Limited Time!

Hey friends! I’m offering something really cool for anyone who signs up for my email newsletter.

“Really, Kelley? Something cool, like a unicorn made out of doughnuts? Like, good doughnuts, that you would actually want to eat afterward?”

Okay, no, not that cool. BUT PRETTY CLOSE!

Anyone who signs up for my email newsletter right now gets a free 10-minute User Experience Audit.

 

What the heck is that? I’ll tell you.

Limited Time offer

I’ll look at your website from an outsider’s perspective. Then I’ll tell you:

  • What I’d expect my experience to be if I purchased your goods or services
  • What my experience was as I went through your website

That’s valuable information!

Speaking of valuable information, I pack a lot of it into my monthly email newsletter. It always has tips that you can apply to your small business then and there. It’s short(ish). It’s fun to read. It always has cute animals in it.

Really, this is a win/win for you.

Sign up today.

This offer was slated to end on October 30, but we’ll keep it open a little bit longer for those of you who’re just getting hipped to the program here.

Let’s get started!

P.S.—You can always unsubscribe if you get a few months’ worth of the newsletter and decide it’s not for you! I’m here to add value to your life and your business. That’s it.

 

 

 

My Core Values

Does your business have core values?

I took a little time recently to think about mine. I’ve always known that certain things are important to me—like supporting nonprofits and creating an awesome product that makes my clients hear trumpets when they read it—but I’ve never written them down.

I guess I was busy writing other stuff.

Now, I have a draft of my core values that I’m feeling pretty good about, and I’d like to share it with you.

I wrote these as “we,” even though my business is me, my laptop, and an occasional outside proofreader. But, hey, it’s good to leave room for growth. And I want my occasional proofreaders to understand where I’m coming from.

Kelley Gardiner Content and Copy
[Draft?] Core Values

Habitual Joy
We seek out fun and cool projects. Life is short, and we do awesome work with people we want to hang out with.

Here to Help
We support small businesses, social justice causes, and nonprofits with our time, money, and talent. We work with people who do the same. We’re here to help our clients and their clients. We aim to make the world a better place for all kinds of people.

Learn, Mess Up, Learn More, Be Awesome, Repeat
We’re always learning something new, and stretching our limits. We’re brainstorming and then pulling back. Good isn’t good enough, but perfect is a myth.


Edited out: We’ll never rest on our laurels, even if we do take some naps here and there.

Does that sound like a business you’d like to work with?

Tell me: What’s important to you in your business? Leave a comment below, or email hello@kelleygardiner.com

 

 

Newsletters: Let’s Make It Official

Email newsletters.

You all say you’re going to write them.

After all, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective tools out there for small businesses on a budget.

It doesn’t take much to start one up, but keeping it going… well, that’s where the issues start to pop up.

Nodding your head or tugging your collar? You’re not alone. Not by a long shot.

Email newsletters are extremely easy to put off. It’s hard to take time every week/month/quarter to figure out your overall messaging, let alone to write a newsletter that supports the rest of your marketing efforts.

“Writing? Yeah, yuck.”

I know how y’all roll.

That’s why I’m making my email newsletter writing service a formal offering. I’ve fallen into writing them for a couple of clients recently, and that makes me think there’s a need out there.

Questions and answers

Hold up. How much will this cost?
It depends on what you need! Do you need everything built from the ground up? Or do you have an outline that just needs to be filled out?

If you want a professional result, you’ll need to pay a professional price. How much does it cost you when you spend hours on yours? What does it cost to neglect your list?

We’ll make sure you get value for the service, or we won’t do it.

How do I start?
I’m only taking a few clients now, so email hello@kelleygardiner.com to let me know you’re interested. We’ll chat a bit, and if it sounds like a good fit, we’ll go through an intake process and get a contract in place.

Emailing me is always free, so don’t be scared about that part. I’M NICE.

What if I need help with, like, the whole thing. A lot of help.
Email me. If you need technical assistance that’s outside my area of expertise, I can refer you to an expert. I know people.

 

Yay! Let’s get started today. We’ll get more leads, and guide more warm leads to a sale.

hello@kelleygardiner.com

 

 

 

(Limited) Discounts for Cool People Low on Cash

Since I work for myself, I talk a lot about what I do.

Since I do my own marketing, I think a lot about who I should be talking to. And who I want to work with.

When I boil it down? I want to work with cool people who’re doing cool stuff.

And as a matter of course, I seek out businesses who have a budget for website copy.

Leggings and coffee don’t pay for themselves.

But.

Sometimes people who’re low on cash are doing cool stuff, too.

When you’re starting off in business, or when you’re in the weeds two years later, you might not have hundreds or thousands of dollars to totally overhaul your website.

And I want to help you, too.

Right now, I’m offering one strategy session slot a month for $20. They’re usually $150.

This is available to fun people who do cool stuff, but aren’t able to get the cash to  pay professional rates yet.

That doesn’t cover my expenses. It covers my need to include more people in the conversation.

I reserve the right to close this at any time, and to pick and choose who I work with. It might get booked out in advance.

We all got help along the way. I can help, too.

Email hello@kelleygardiner.com, and we’ll talk about availability.

Feel free to pass this along. Thanks pals!

Wax On, Wax Off: 8 Final Steps for Polished Website Copy

We’ve worked all the way through research and writing parts of the Website Copy That Converts checklist.

Now we edit and polish.

Today, we’ll talk about a few last steps to make sure your copy is as polished as that agate that’s been through grandma’s tumbler.

Hold on. What are those research and writing phases, Kelley? You wrote about them? Can you just, like, list all those other steps in a convenient list of links that I can peruse?

Sure! Thanks for asking.

Target Pain Points to Make the Sale
Keywords 101
Hey! Grab Attention with Headlines
Create Your Customer Avatar
Lead with Benefits
Wonderful USP: Unique Selling Proposition
Hey “You”—Focus on Customer Needs and Wants
A Clear and Easy Call to Action

Whew! I guess I’ve been busy.

(By the way, you can still grab that checklist by signing up for my email newsletter, you know? Better do it now. I’m working on something new for you.)

Here we go with fine-tuning and editing your website copy.

1) Length: 200-500 words work for most pages

SCIENCE* SAYS 200-500 words is the sweet spot for most pages. That being said, it’s more about quantity than quality, but watch out for going on too long. Cut and tighten where you can.

See a big block of text more than a few lines long? Break it up.

*A few websites that I checked seemed to agree on that.

2) Voice: Does it match your brand? Appeal one-on-one to the ideal client?

When you read back through your website copy, does it feel like you? Does it feel like your brand? Is it speaking directly to one ideal client, or trying a scattershot approach?

You can’t please anyone. Not with a chocolate cake, and not with website copy. If you’re selling chocolate cake, write to the people who really want your chocolate cake in their lives (like me). Don’t try to convince the people who really prefer lemon.

3) Scannable: Good use of headings? Does it need bullet points?

We’ve talked about this: people don’t read.

Your home page is like a resume. What do you want people to take from it if they only spend ten seconds to see if it’s interesting?

Make sure your copy and design work together to make things scannable.

4) Jargon: Edit out industry language your client may not understand.

Know your audience. Does your client know industry terms, and expect you to use them? Do they need a little education before they buy? Or can you just toss the jargon completely?

Using terms your client doesn’t understand is a big-league turnoff.

5) Appearance: Check on laptop, mobile, different browsers.

Your beautiful tagline might get cut off on some screens. When you know that, you can make a decision about whether it’s better to change the tagline, or to deal with it as it is.

Try a simulator to get an idea of how your site looks on different size monitors, tablets, and mobile devices.

6) Consistent message: Read for discrepancies.

This one can be a bit tricky, especially if it takes you weeks, months, or years (I see you out there) to update your website copy.

Is every page a part of the same story? Do you have a tagline or call to action that’s worded a little bit differently on another page? Is there a consistent message throughout?

7) Consistent formatting: Keep a special eye on headings.

Okay, this is a fiddly one, but make sure each page of your website looks like it belongs with the others. We won’t get too deep into design stuff, but keep those headings, fonts, etc., consistent.

8) Proofread: Make sure someone else proofreads your work. Always proofread last.

Yes, even if you are a professional proofreader, because proofreading yourself is extremely hard! Trust me. I am one.

Try not to fuss around with your copy AFTER the proofreading takes place, because that’s where mistakes happen most. That one last-minute tweak always gets me in trouble.

Did I tell you about that time my friend Abbi told me I had a typo in a proofreading offer in my newsletter? Murphy’s Law totally applies.

P.S.—On longform sales pages, add a P.S.

This one is mainly for fun, but… if you’re selling a high-ticket item, you’ll usually have a long sales page (more than 500 words for sure), and there’s usually a P.S. at the end.

People people read them.

WHEW. We have come to the end of the 18 Must-Haves for Website Copy That Converts checklist! Download it if you haven’t already.

Was that a bit much? You know, you can just hire someone to do all this stuff for you.

Like me. Hire me. I write and edit websites for cool people who do cool stuff.

Let’s chat. hello@kelleygardiner.com



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A Clear and Easy Call to Action

The world is full of yelling to try to get your attention.

Buy now!
Sign up today!
Call us!

What’s your call to action?

Call to action: Make it clear and easy to do. On every page.

Sure, you could wait for your customer to do what you want them to do. But wouldn’t it be a little faster and more effective to—you know—ask them?

What do you want your prospects to DO when they end up on your website?

Make sure you have a clear call to action on every page of your website.

What is a call to action, anyway?

You have to ask your prospect to take the next step.

It doesn’t have to be BUY NOW on every page. Far from it. But, every interaction should be a positive experience that could potentially lead to a sale down the road, right?

A call to action might be:

  • Call now
  • Sign up for my email newsletter
  • Donate
  • Leave a comment
  • Learn more
  • Book
  • Buy!

Customer Journey

You’ll need to figure out your customer journey before you can really dial in the call to action.

“Oh no Kelley, that sounds like marketing gibberish to me. Do I have to pay someone $5000 to figure out what my customers do?”

Nah, far from it. Unless you want to, or if you’re a huge corporation with super complex processes like T-Mobile. (If you are, what the heck are you doing here? I like the idea of a T-Mobile exec sitting in their office reading my blog before a meeting on the 17th floor.)

Anyway, you should have an idea of who your customer is, and what they do before the step where they give you money.

  • How long have they known about you?
  • Do they tend to do a lot of research before they buy?
  • Do they subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social media?

What should my call to action be?

It depends, of course.

  1. What kind of service or product are you selling?
  2. What page are they on?

Let’s start with home pages, because they’re the ones that often get short shrift when it comes to a call of action.

What? For a B2B (business to business) service company with a higher ticket price, your call to action on the home page will often be “learn more,” with links to a more information, like a portfolio or pricing.

Why? Because your buyer is a mid-level professional who needs to research several options. They may need to justify or explain their choice to others. They need more information about your work before they proceed with contacting you.

What? For a small online retail business, you might put your product on the home page, and let the sales be your call to action.

Why? Because getting your customers to your sales page is the hard part, and that’s already done. They’re already interested. You can put beautiful photos of your product to entice even more, and a link to your online store. Your front page can even be your online store. Make it easy!

Furthermore… For a restaurant it might be “reserve your table.” For brick-and-mortar retail, you might want to tell your new internet friends to sign up for your email newsletter for 10% off their first purchase. And on and on.

What would you like leads to do after they land on your home page?

So it can be different on different pages?

It probably should be!

After all, if someone is on your sales page, you want them to buy something.

If you’ve gotten someone to your landing page for your email newsletter signup, you sure as heck want to convert that.

If someone is on your contact page, you want them to contact you, right? Or do you want them to go straight to booking an appointment? Or read your FAQ before sending you one more lousy email?

For me, I’ll put an email newsletter signup on this blog post, because that seems to me like the best time to ask you. You’re here, you got all the way to the end of the blog post, and you’re still not tired of me, so why not take that time to beg for your email address? KINDA KIDDING! (BTW, I send a helpful email once a month, so go ahead and sign up for it. There are always cute animal photos, and I don’t give your address to anyone else, so you really can’t lose.)

Design helps

Look.

I’m not an expert when it comes to design, okay? I mean… look around.

But from what I’ve read, design makes a huge difference when it comes to your call to action.

If you’re starting off DIY, with no budget for web design, I hear you. Your first step is making your call to action very clear.

Make it easy to find. And make it easy for me, as a reader, to understand what I’m supposed to do.

Watch out for clickable buttons that don’t look like buttons, and links that don’t look like links.

Ask a friend to look at your page and tell you what they’re supposed to do at the end. It’s super important to get feedback from someone who hasn’t been staring at your website for six weeks.

On a separate note, don’t get so wrapped up in beautiful design that the call to action gets totally lost.


Any questions about your call to action? Drop a line at hello@kelleygardiner.com, or let’s hash it out in the comments!


Sign up for my newsletter to get even more tips you can apply to your business today. Click this button. The one that says “sign up now.” There’s a dog on it. Thanks!

 

Hey, “You”—Focus on Customer Needs and Wants

Which statement intrigues you more?

  1. I’m a copywriter, and I write great About pages.
  2. When your About page is crafted carefully, you’ll attract your ideal customer.

Probably the second one. I’m talking to you, and about what I can do for you.

Is your website engaged in a conversation, or giving a lecture?

Puppy getting tummy scritch with headline text

Focus on Customer Needs and Wants

You do or offer something wonderful. We have no doubt of that here.

But if your website copy goes on and on about what your business does and sells—well, friend, you start to sound a little self-centered. Let your customer know you’re thinking of them, too.

Focus on customer needs in your language and in your content.

Here’s how.

(Don’t forget your distinction between benefits vs. features, as we’ve discussed before.)

Use “You”

It’s best practice to use the second person in sales and web copy.

In case you forgot that day in grammar class (and who could blame you?), second person means addressing the reader as “you.”

First person: I am a wonderful copywriter, and all who fail to hire me gnash their teeth in despair!

Second person: You would be so smart to hire me as a copywriter!

Third person: People who doesn’t hire copywriters may incur high dentist bills from gnashing their teeth so much.

Of course, you can use “we” and “I” and “our” when it makes sense. Just keep an eye out to make sure your focus—and your pronouns—don’t stray from the customer too much.

Cute puppy with title overlay

Imperative Language Counts

Let’s look at a big example: Netflix.

We all know what Netflix is, right? They don’t have to explain much on their home page.

“See what’s next. Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime. Join free for a month.”

That’s not a ton of copy. It’s a tagline, a couple of counter-arguments against why you wouldn’t push the button, and the offer.

And it’s all imperative language, which… oh no. Watch out. I’m going to do another grammar thing.

“You” is in all of these sentences. The second person is implied.

Do you remember diagramming sentences? Maybe in Spanish class, if not in English?

Bear with me.

When you’re making a command, grammatically, there’s an invisible “you” acting as the subject of the sentence.

[You] see what’s next.

[You] watch anytime.

It’s language that speaks directly to the reader, and it can make a big impact in a few short lines.

Shine a Light on Your Best Customers

We’ve talked about focusing on the customer using language, so let’s think about focusing on them with your choice of content.

When you tell your brand story, do you talk about the successes for your clients? Do you explain how your service or product has helped your previous customers?

Leads and prospects relate more to your clients, who’ve ostensibly been in their shoes at some point. They needed what you had to offer, and had a positive result.

Boom. Just the kind of content you need.

Testimonials, reviews, and case studies provide “social proof” that you’re real and legitimate.

Don’t just tell. Listen.

Part of writing website copy is staying open to changing it. Listening to your customers, asking for feedback, and adjusting your products accordingly will go a long way toward success.

Networking isn’t just for leads
Networking isn’t just about handing out business cards and getting hot leads. It’s also about learning what kind of questions the public has about you and what you do. Networking events are also opportunities to try out new messaging, especially if you can get an opportunity to talk to big group for a few seconds. Try out your new elevator pitch to see how many smiles and head nods you can get.

Ask questions on social media
You need to post something anyway. Be strategic about what kinds of questions you ask, and you might get a seed to some content strategy.

Do A/B testing
You don’t have the time to A/B test your entire freaking website, so try with the high-impact items like your call to action or email newsletter signup copy. (I just started an A/B test on mine, as part of research on how to get more people to sign up for your newsletter. Oh, hello! If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletter!)

Do more A/B testing
Just one isn’t enough! Since you’re ideally just testing one variable in each test, it’ll take a lot of testing to get to your perfect copy.

Just when you have it all dialed in, your clients or the environment might change. Test, test again.


I’m listening! What do you think? hello@kelleygardiner.com


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Telling Your New Story

I had the extremely fun privilege to work with Upswept Creative on a website rewrite recently.

It was a special project because Sarah at Upswept is a talented writer. She wrote a blog post for my roller derby blog (many moons ago—what, I haven’t told you about my roller derby blog?), and it was one of my most-read posts ever.

There was no “bad” to edit out of this website. Just some refreshing, fine-tuning, and a couple of pages of new content to do.

But:

The language wasn’t reflecting the work they currently do, and what they wanted to do more of. They wanted to start working with larger companies, and filtering out prospects that don’t have the budget to take on a full-service design and branding firm. They had a new story to tell.

And:

When you write your own website copy, sometimes it’s hard to brag on yourself. Bringing in an outside professional with fresh eyes can clarify a new perspective.

After all, you know your own story. It’s hard not to see it when you look at your website because your brain fills in the holes for you. However, your prospects can’t see the full picture unless you tell them about it.

So:

  • We had a long talk about the business, their goals, and what their dream clients look like.
  • After we finalized the details of the project, I sent a questionnaire to clarify a few important points.
  • I did some research about best practices for web design and branding companies.
  • Writing/editing began in earnest! I started working on a couple of new pages to reflect their focus on design and branding, and refreshes on the other pages.
  • After my first draft, it got sent off to the Upswept team. Everyone got a chance to review the new copy and make comments. We edited via Google Doc, with everyone able to chat in the comments.
  • Once we chiseled away to a final version we all loved, I sent it away to an awesome proofreader. Even professionals get tired eyes when it comes to their own work. She bopped it on back to me minus some extraneous commas, and we were off and running.

The copy is now live in the site. Go check it out!

When we work together, it can look however makes sense to you. Do you want to get your entire team involved early in the process? Would you rather make the decisions yourself? Would you like to edit live, on a Zoom call, or over the course of a few days? I’m glad to make suggestions, but you call the shots on what works for your workflow.

How can I help you connect with your ideal customer? hello@kelleygardiner.com

 

Now Available: Mini Strategy Sessions!

Raise your hand if you have big dreams and a not-so-big budget for your small business.

I see you out there! You:

  • Need help with a specific question or problem.
  • Don’t have much time or money to spend.
  • Don’t even want to start wrapping your brain around hiring a writer for a big project. In fact, the idea of it makes you want to run for the hills.

Let’s start small.

In fact, let’s start miniature.

For all of you who need a little boost in the communications department, I have a brand-sparkling-new offering: mini strategy sessions.

Low cost & commitment, high value

When you’re mired in the day-to-day of running your business, it can be tough to get a clear look at what’s happening with your communications.

You might have questions or concerns like:

  • How can I get more website traffic?
  • How can I get higher quality leads from my website?
  • What the heck should I do with my about page?
  • What should I write about in my email newsletter?
  • Should I start a blog?
  • What am I even doing?*

We’ll chat for half an hour, in person or via Zoom. Then I’ll follow up with recommendations and resources.

How does it work?

If you find a time you like, go ahead and sign up! I’ll send you an invoice to secure the time. If you don’t see a time there, send me an email at hello@kelleygardiner.com and we’ll find something that works.

After your time is secured, I’ll check in with you (over the course of a five-minute call or a couple of emails) about your big question, so I can be prepared for our meeting.

Then it’s just a super casual chat where we discuss what you’ve been doing and what results you would like to see.

I follow up with you within a few business days with more recommendations.

You take those recommendations and run with them!

Summer Special

When you book in July or August, mini strategy sessions are just $49.

Whaaaaat!? That’s reasonable!

Email to schedule today! hello@kelleygardiner.com


Cute dog with text "mini strategy sessions"

*I’m a writer, not a philosopher, so I am not able to make any promises about answering your existential questions.