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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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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Keywords 101

We’re back at it with our blog series based on the 18 Must-Haves for Website Copy That Converts checklist. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, might as well go for it now.

#2 on the list: Select a mix of short and long-tail keywords to weave into text.

Today, we’ll go very briefly over keywords.

Why? In short, optimizing your keywords will help your business show up in internet searches.

Shaggy teeny dog with text overlay

This subject can be a bit of a yawner, I know, for non-techie types. But if* you want to show up in these searches, you’ll need to put a little bit of work into the front end. We’ll try to make this intro quick, fun, and actionable.

*Wait… what do you mean, *IF* I want to show up in these searches?

Some people don’t care as much about SEO. Maybe you’d prefer not to get every rando on the internet emailing you to ask you for a quote. Instead of gathering leads via your website, you’re trying to convert warm leads once they get there.

For the rest of us… KEYWORDS!

Keyword 101

What the heck is a keyword?

Make a cup of coffee and sit down here for a moment. I’m here to tell you about a story about a penguin, a panda, and a hummingbird.

It is not nearly as cute as it sounds.

When someone makes a search on Google, Google takes a look at everything the company has indexed, all across the internet, and uses its algorithm to give the user back the most pertinent information. That’s why we use Google—because it works. Most of the time.

Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and Fred (yes, Fred) are all code names for Google algorithms, which are being tweaked and changed all the time—maybe once or twice a month. Google doesn’t always announce changes.

Red panda
Surprise!

You know how this works. When someone searches for “cat photographer,” a number of websites pop up. In this case, “cat photographer” is a search term. If you want that search term to find your delightful internet home, you use “cat photographer” on your website as one of your keywords.

Long-tail and short-tail keywords

There are two kinds of keywords: long and short.

Long-tail keywords are… longer. They’re a string of words. They’re searched less often, but have higher conversion rates.

So, maybe 100 people search this term in a month, but many of those 100 people are doing specific searches that mean they’re ready to buy.

Think: best cat photographer in Portland, Oregon

Short-tail keywords are… short. There’s a ton of competition across the internet, and your conversion percentage will be much lower.

People are searching for these terms might be looking for something unrelated to what you do. But, hey, they’re easy to sprinkle throughout your site.

Think: photographer

Figure out the type of traffic you’re looking for, and plan your mix of short and long-tail keywords accordingly.

Keyword Research

I’m not even going to pretend like I’m the best person to talk to about this.

Check out a couple of beginners’ guides. Here’s one for WordPress.

And so many more you can google. The point? Start thinking about what keywords you want to rank for BEFORE you start writing.

You can pay people money to do this for you if you like.

Make a list

Still on board?

You have:

  • thought about what kinds of traffic you’d like
  • did some keyword research to find long and short keywords, and
  • put them all in a neat and tidy list

Maybe a spreadsheet. I do love a good spreadsheet.

Cat sitting on a computer lol

And yet…

Put away the list and start writing

I know, I’m sending you mixed messages. Yes, you’ll need to know what keywords you want to rank for before you start writing the bulk of your project. But. Don’t worry about putting those actual keywords in until your second or third draft.

Your copy needs to be written with your ideal client in mind. One perfect client who loves you dearly, pays on time, and sends you chocolates on your birthday. Write to her. Sell to her.

Make things clear. Or, make things weird on the first draft, a little better on the second, and clear on the third.

You’ll have the opportunity to put those keywords in later, when you’re fine-tuning the message.

Go back to that list of keywords

Once you’ve written everything, go back to your list and make sure all those keywords are included. Don’t force it. Keep it natural. If I were putting BEST PORTLAND OREGON COPYWRITER in every other paragraph, you’d be very aware of that instead of my message. The first goal is to be useful to your clients, prospects, and hot leads.


That’s it! Told you we’d keep it short(ish). If you’d like to do some extra reading on the subject, here’s some food for thought:

SEO Copywriting Ultimate Guide from Yoast.

Don’t load your copy with keywords, says Neil Patel. Sprinkle and wave, baby.

Most Massive SEO Copywriting Guide from CoSchedule. Maybe save this one for when you break your leg and can’t move for a few weeks. (Partially kidding.)

Need help wrapping your brain around all this? Let’s talk! I can write it for you, or coach you through finding a strategy.

hello@kelleygardiner.com



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