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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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!


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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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Wonderful USP: Unique Selling Proposition

You down with USP? YEAH, YOU KNOW ME!

Now that I’ve shown my age (38, if anyone’s counting), let’s talk about what makes you the best person to serve your dream client.

White dog with text overlay

USP = Unique Selling Proposition

What makes you and your product unique? Why are you the best person to buy from?

What makes you special?

This is not a rhetorical question, and I don’t want you to shrug it off. There is something inherent about you, and your product or service, that serves your clients in a different way than your competition.

Yes, you.

What is it?

And is that clear in your website copy?

If someone takes five minutes to read your home and about page, they should come away knowing what sets you apart.

Try this: ask a buddy to take five minutes to read your home and about page, then just ask. “After reading that, what would you say sets me apart from my competitors?”

Definitions Across the Internet

Entrepreneur defines USP as: “The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.”

Kissmetrics rolls its eyes a bit about Entrepreneur’s definition and says: “A unique selling proposition is what your business stands for. It’s what sets your business apart from others because of what your business makes a stand about.”

Copyblogger has a 60-second video on the subject, but those who prefer to read: “In essence, a unique selling proposition (USP) is something that you offer customers or clients that your competitors do not offer. It’s also known as a ‘remarkable benefit.'”

Let’s talk about how to find your USP, and then how to communicate it through the language on your website. First, we’ll look at an easy example, then we’ll delve a little deeper with some help from coaches who work with business owners like you.

A USP in the Wild

Let’s use a blaring example. If you have a coffee shop, why should someone come to your place instead of the Starbucks one block over?

What does your business stand for? What are you known for? What are you about?

Let’s look at my local hang. My neighborhood coffee shop is 100% vegan, and their tagline is “Drink coffee. Take care.” They are known for being a vegan coffee shop in East Portland. You can buy records there, but that’s not why they exist.

Starbucks, on the other hand, is known for a consistent gourmet coffee experience. You can buy bananas there, but that’s not why they exist.

Both coffee shops have other offers, and other marketing messages, but they’re not trying to be the cheapest coffee in town. They’re not trying to sell the most breakfast sandwiches.

Of course, you don’t have to be a vegan coffee shop or Starbucks to be successful. There’s room for you to have your unique niche in the marketplace.

Finding Your USP

If you’ve been wondering what the heck your USP might be, you’re not alone! It’s not necessarily going to be 100% crystal clear right out of the gate. It might take some thinking and refining, and it might change as time goes on.

Lucky for you, this isn’t something you have to come up with right this moment. It might take a little musing and shaping. It might take a couple of passes, and a long walk on the beach. I tend to get my “aha” moments while zoning out to NPR in the car.

Danielle Ewalt is a business coach who specializes in working with parent entrepreneurs, and she knows a thing or two about crystallizing your abilities and communicating them succinctly.

As Danielle says, “Your USP isn’t one thing. There are many competitors that will share one, or maybe even two of our unique traits. It is the synergy created when three or four traits combine that make you (or your company) truly unique and stand out in the crowd.”

Deer stands out of the group at the zoo

Try this: make a short list right now of what makes your business product unique. Then list the top two or three things you do really well. What does the intersection look like?

USP and Impostor Syndrome

I have to be honest with you. When I started thinking through my own USP, I found some internal resistance pretty quickly. “What, me? I don’t know anything!” part of my brain wanted to tell me.

Brain, please. I’m good at what I do, and I’m constantly trying to learn more and improve myself. I’m funny when I want to be, and I have a knack for simplifying complex concepts. OKAY, BRAIN? Can I live?

Plenty of other women and non-binary entrepreneurs struggle with this as well. How do we position ourselves as the best, especially when we don’t feel like the best?

I asked the wonderful Selena Maestas from the Love YOU More Project to share her perspective as a coach who helps people see and be their best selves.


Says Selena:

Our minds are our biggest obstacles. When we believe what our inner critic tells us, we stay small. We question our knowledge, our success, and our worth.

It’s a vicious cycle that requires a LOT of work to overcome, especially if you don’t have the right tools.

First, it’s important that you think about your thoughts. You hear them and understand that those thoughts are NOT YOU, it is your survival brain trying to keep you “safe.” You write all of the thoughts down, without editing. Then, you go back to the top of your list and question your own thinking. Ask:

  • Is this true?
  • How does this make me feel?
  • Do I want to feel this way?
  • How would I rather feel?
  • What thought must I have to feel differently?

To be fair, this doesn’t fix the problem right away. There are other pieces necessary to override your survival mind; however, it is a good start to see your thoughts for what they are and to notice how those thoughts are affecting your results.


Thanks, Selena! I’m going to write down my negative thoughts for a few days. And by “write down,” I mean on my phone or in a notebook, not “tweet jokes about.”

USP in Your Website Copy

Okay, you say. I’ve figured out my unique selling proposition. But how do I express that in my website copy?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!

It’s a lot like what we talked about the features and benefits:

  • Figure out your USP
  • Keep it in mind when you’re writing your first draft
  • Go take a walk (have a cup of tea, etc.)
  • Tease it out on your second draft
  • Ask a friend if they can figure it out in 30 seconds
  • Walk away from it for two days
  • Edit it again, etc., etc.
  • *OR* hire a writer to do the above for you

Home: Is your USP communicated clearly? Why would that prospect want to learn more about you?
About: How does your story highlight your USP?
Services: Are the services you offer truly your best work? Or are you offering services you think you “should” for your industry? (If you offer those “should be” services, are they making you more money?)
Work/Portfolio: Amplify your skills and expertise by being super specific and showing examples.
Tagline: Your brand, including a tagline if you use one, should work toward communicating your special talent.
Elevator pitch: Can you tell me in ten seconds what sets you apart?

What’s Your USP?

As Danielle says, “It is so powerful when you find it—but it is a process. Sometimes people put so much pressure on themselves. But keep testing things out, listening to your customers and you will find the reasons they choose you!”

Have you found your USP? Feel free to brag on yourself in the comments.

Let’s talk about what you have to offer: hello@kelleygardiner.com


If you liked that blog post, you would looooove my email newsletter.

It goes out once a month or so, and it’s a short and sweet way to keep up with the latest in business communications.

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Hey! Grab Attention with Headlines

We’re here today as part of the 18 Must-Haves for Website Copy That Converts checklist series. Go ahead and grab the checklist now so you can follow along.

Yep, just click that link and follow the instructions.


Today we’re talking headlines!

Headlines: Should create curiosity and be easily understood at a glance

Easy, right? Let’s get to it.

Dog chasing a yellow ball

Why are headlines important?

I have to tell you something about writing website copy that you might not like, after all this work/money you’re putting into it…

People don’t read.

If this is a shock to you, think about the way you glean information from a website you’ve never been to before. You probably scan. You see what’s relevant to you, and if something catches your attention, you’ll read more deeply.

One study said that 28% of copy is read. (Lots of interesting stuff in this article, btw, if you’re in the mood for… you know… reading.)

So, people are scanning from top to bottom, in an “F” shape, checking anything that pops out if it’s relevant or intriguing.

Website Copy That Converts Checklist: Headlines

What the heck is a headline, anyway?

For our purposes, let’s think about any headings on your website. The big words that give your website structure. Some sites might have just one heading on each page, and some might have a bunch.

This page has a bunch, but most of your web pages won’t be 500+ words like this blog post is.

Headlines Should Create Curiosity

Via Giphy

You don’t have much time to convince someone to stay on your website (about 15 seconds, if you’re lucky), let alone to follow your call to action. Your headlines, design, and visuals need to do a lot of heavy lifting to convince busy and distracted people to stick around.

Good headlines will pique curiosity. Let’s look at a a few examples. Which one would catch your attention?

HeadlinesYawn. See you later, gonna go check Facebook.

Headline Optimization for Simplified ConversionAre you talking to me as a business owner? You must be talking to someone who enjoys throwing jargon around, and I’m only interested in getting clients and pretending I don’t spend as much time on Facebook.

Headlines Potential Clients Can’t IgnoreI may stick around to learn more about this, if Facebook is slow.

Hey! Grab Attention with HeadlinesKelley’s at it again, isn’t she? She usually has pictures of dogs, though.

Try to stay away from “clickbait” titles that may elicit an emotional reaction, but probably won’t attract your ideal customer.

You know clickbait when you see it: One Golden Retriever Licks Its Chops, and You’ll Never Guess What Happens Next

Headlines Should Be Easily Understood at a Glance

Yes, headlines should create interest, but don’t get too cute, friends.

Too cute, in an appropriate way

We’ve already established that people don’t read. Headlines must convey meaning in the few seconds you have to convince your prospect to stick around.

So, yes, your headlines had better be clear, especially on home pages and—holy crap, even more so—landing pages. (Sing it with me: Home pages are not landing pages!)

Headlines create organization

One of the hardest parts of writing is finding the best structure for your many wise thoughts and ideas.

Headlines and headers are the steel beams of your copy structure. Just like those topic sentences in five-paragraph essays you wrote in high school, your headlines announce what’s coming.

Be clear to everyone

Stay away from jargon, unless you’re absolutely sure that your audience knows what you’re talking about. If you’re not sure, ask a friend from outside your industry to read through your website. Sometimes you forget what a subject matter expert you really are.

And you are.

cat high five


Like this post? Read the first two in the series:

Target Pain Points to Make the Sale

Keywords 101



Do you need help with writing or rewriting website copy?  Email me! hello@kelleygardiner.com

Let’s get more clients in the door.



If you liked that blog post, you would looooove my email newsletter.

It goes out once a month or so, and it’s a short and sweet way to keep up with the latest in business communications.

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