fbpx

SEO Copywriting

SEO Copywriting Tips

12 SEO Copywriting Tips You Can Implement Without An SEO Specialist

Right now, your company needs to invest in SEO – especially if you’re struggling.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. And SEO is what improves your ability to grow your traffic organically (free traffic). After you have your traffic on your website, then it’s only a matter of converting that traffic into customers. 

You don’t need to be an expert to start making improvements! In this blog, I’ll go over 12 tips for great SEO copywriting that you can implement without an SEO specialist.

What is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting is a style of writing that prioritizes humans, while still keeping SEO in mind. SEO copywriting seeks to achieve the perfect balance between writing for visibility and writing to create genuine engagement with your audience.

SEO Copywriting vs. SEO

Why does SEO Copywriting beat out SEO when it comes to writing strategically online? 

When writing purely for SEO, you will sound mechanical. It sends a message that you’re writing for an algorithm that places your copy higher in the search list rather than engaging with and selling to your audience. 

Remember, Google doesn’t pay you – humans do!

Why SEO Copywriting Needs to be a Bigger Priority

So, if humans are the priority, why do we need SEO at all? 

The truth is, well written content still needs to be found by search engines. And in order for that to happen, SEO should still be kept in mind while writing. Striking a balance through SEO copywriting will ensure that your content is valuable for your audience and easy to find. 

Before we get into tips for SEO copywriting, let’s go over a few SEO strategies to keep in mind.

Types of SEO Strategies

SEO copywriting usually refers to on-page SEO; however, it would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the different types of SEO strategies that companies need to pay attention to.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO refers to the things that you include on a web page to drive organic traffic and increase visibility. This helps your audience find you more quickly through a Google search.

Strategic on-page SEO can help your web page rank high on a search engine results page (SERP). And there are two philosophies for getting there:

  • Black hat – stuffing keywords in a nonsensical way into your content just to rank. Avoid this like the plague
  • White hat – including a typical amount of keywords into your content, but not overdoing it.

As the names suggest, white hat is the ethical approach to on-page SEO. Black hat methods might help your page get a higher SERP ranking, but your audience won’t stay on your page long if your content is nonsensical keyword soup.  

On-page SEO requires extra copy development time to achieve and maintain consistency. If you’re starting from scratch, expect 3-6 month time lag before you see results. The best way to get started is to write content – like blogs – on a regular schedule (weekly or bimonthly). 

Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to your website’s backend settings that make it function optimally for the user. This ties into the overall experience that your audience has when interacting with your content. You are trying to make it easy for your audience to navigate your website

If you ever clicked on a link because the headline seemed spot-on for what you were searching for, but then the website…

  • Took forever to load
  • Wasn’t optimized for mobile viewing
  • Was difficult to navigate
  • Seemed like spam because of the URL

… You probably left within seconds. The average user’s attention span is under 5 seconds per click (unless they find what they are looking for).

Even if the headline of a web page is a perfect match for your search, you’ll only stay if the website looks safe, easy, and organized.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the things you do outside of your website to draw attention to it. It helps your audience decide if they can trust your website and determine if it is an authority among its competitors.

Think about how you approach hiring talent for your company. Many people might apply for the position with the skills you’re looking for. But an applicant with several beaming references and a successful work history will stand out the most, and you’d be more likely to trust them than Joe Schmoe. 

Similarly, off-page SEO is like having “references” for your company’s website that helps build trust online.

12 Tips for Great SEO Copywriting That You Can Implement Without An SEO Specialist

Now that you have several SEO strategies you can implement without an SEO specialist, let’s talk about how to combine them with copywriting for an optimized SEO copywriting approach.

1. Genuinely Communicate With Your Audience

Prioritize a strong connection with your audience by writing genuinely – not robotic. Not only will authentic communication provide better value for them, but it can be beneficial for your company’s SERP ranking too…  

“When you’re writing for humans, search rankings will rise because bounce rates will be lower and time-on-site will be higher. It’s all about the user experience.”

Dan Moyle, Impulse Creative

It’s a win-win. Search engines use metrics like bounce rate and the time spent on a given page in their algorithm to rank your website. 

2. Don’t Be Spammy

If it sounds like spam, it probably is. Avoid writing content that looks like spam. If your content looks like spam, people will be less likely to stay on your site. Avoid using…

  • Black hat SEO approaches. Don’t stuff your content with keywords. Your audience can spot unethical approaches from a mile away (even if they don’t know what they are looking at), and this will reflect negatively on your brand.
  • Stock images in your blog posts. Instead, opt for images that are uniquely yours (e.g. photos of yourself, your products, or services). You can even include your own screenshots for how-to’s. Schedule a brand photoshoot to create your own photos.

Above all, if the copy sounds or looks spammy, change it.

3. Use Practical URLs

Another way to avoid having your content mistaken for spam is to use practical URLs. Best search results have URLs between 50-60 characters long and a top-level domain (TLD) of ‘.com’. Bypass gibberish symbols and letters; they can imply there is something shady or you are trying to hide something. 

Instead, include logical, intuitive URLs that are associated with the content of your webpage. Not only will this help your website look more legitimate, but it will also portray your company as being logical and organized.

For example, the slug – the phrase that follows the domain in the URL – for this page is https://focuscopy.com/seo-copywriting-tips. You can expect to learn SEO copywriting tips in this blog. But if the slug was https://focuscopy.com/6&sct12, you would have no clue what to expect. It may be exactly the same as the first page, but it may also be a scam – you can’t tell.

4. Have an SSL Certificate

While we’re on the topic of URLs, another great SEO copywriting tip is to have an SSL certificate. 

Users will see “https://” in the URL, which lets them know your website is safe with:

  • Secured user data
  • Ownership verification
  • Website authenticity

Plus, it might hurt your SERP ranking if you don’t have an SSL certificate. Google is about to stop ranking non-SSL sites and may flag them as “Not Secure”.

5. Cover Topics Comprehensively

Another way to practice effective SEO copywriting is by covering topics comprehensively. It increases the quality value that your audience receives from your content, helping you stand out among the competition.

Try using content splintering to be more comprehensive in your writing. When you’re more comprehensive about a specific subset of a topic, you will be more targeted and have more opportunities to crosslink to other blogs or pages. 

Don’t worry – you won’t have to post everything back-to-back. In WordPress, use categories and tags to cross-link related content. This will logically organize your content together, even if they aren’t published one after another. 

6. Use Keywords that Resonate With Your Audience

Ideally, you should use keywords that are broad enough to reach your target audience and specific enough to stand out from the crowd. Above all, make sure your keywords resonate with your audience.

For example, suppose you’re a CPA based in Boise, Idaho who wants to start marketing your services as tax season rolls around. Here are two keyword approaches you could take:

  • SEO: “tax CPA boise idaho”
  • SEO Copywriting:  “tax and accounting help in boise”  

SEO alone includes long-tail keywords with the goal of ranking top of an SERP.

On the other hand, the SEO copywriting approach includes keywords that your target audience would actually use in a search. You’ll maximize visibility while centering your audience.

7. Incorporate Relevant Headers

Relevant headers are a staple of SEO copywriting. They make your page easier for your audience to read and enable search engines to readily parse (understand) what your page is about. Make sure your headers are relevant by…

  • Incorporating keywords or keyword synonyms
  • Including calls to action
  • Making them readable 

8. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Viewing

Today, many people access web content through their smartphones. Ensure their mobile experience is as effortless as possible by making your site mobile friendly. You don’t want your audience to lose patience trying to find what they need. 

Optimize your website for mobile viewing by… 

  • Resizing text and images
  • Restructuring page formats
  • Creating an easy-to-use navigation bar

9. Make Your Content Easy to Share

Make your content easily shareable to social media platforms with a customized preview image, SEO title, slug, and meta description. This is what it looks like when you use the Yoast SEO plugin. 

For example, here’s what it looks like when someone shares a FocusCopy blog on their Facebook page.

10. Establish Backlink Equity 

Backlink equity is an SEO Copywriting approach that leverages off-page SEO. It helps your site establish trust and authority online. Build a variety of backlinks. Examples of potential backlink opportunities include:

  • Articles on Medium
  • Interviews on Voyage or a local news channel
  • Publications on reputable .gov, .edu, or .org website 
  • Press releases

11. Build a Backlink Network 

Don’t stress out if you can’t get published on a large, reputable site. Try creating partnerships with other companies and build pages or posts to refer traffic to them. It’s all about building a backlink network.

Since COVID-19 has been difficult for many of our friends and clients, we wrote several blog posts to create backlinks to their websites. Check those posts out here:

12. Cross Link Your Posts or Pages

Linking isn’t just an off-page SEO strategy. It’s also fantastic for on-page SEO copywriting too. Here’s how cross-linking works…

Imagine you have a huge mansion with many bedrooms, ballrooms, and more. But you walk in and realize there are no doors. You can’t explore the other rooms. So you turn around and walk right out – there is nowhere for you to go! The mansion is useless.

But you’re a smart person and put doors between each room. So your guests can come into your fancy mansion, go from one from one room to another, and get lost in the beauty and splendor of your palace. 

The same is true of your website. Google and your audience needs to be captivated and get lost in the different sections of your site. Cross link your pages or posts so they can move around and even go back to places they’ve already been.


So there you have it – 12 great tips for SEO copywriting that you can implement without an SEO specialist. However, we understand that writing isn’t for everyone. If you’d rather hire an expert to do your content writing for you, reach out to our FocusCopy team


Updating Your Website Copy to Increase Conversion

Updating Your Website Copy to Increase Conversion & Engagement (Even When Your Business Has Been Put on Hold) in 7 Simple Steps

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted businesses all over the world. I talk to at least 5 business owners a day that have either had to put their business on hold, are overwhelmed with growth, or are somewhere in between. If you’re one of the companies in limbo, this blog is for YOU. Downtime can be discouraging. But, it’s so important to stay positive and keep the ball rolling! One way to do just that is by investing in your marketing. That’s why we put together this guide on updating your website copy to increase conversion and engagement (even when your business has been put on hold). 

What’s Website Copy? 

So, what’s website copy? Website copy is all the words on your site. But more than that, it’s what communicates to your audience what their need or problem is (if they didn’t know already), your solution, and why you’re the right decision for them. What does your customer need to hear to make a buying decision?

Now more than ever, a majority of the interactions clients have with your business will be through your website. Well-written website copy ensures your site is helpful for existing clients and makes a great first impression with new ones.

Why Update Your Website Copy?

A website should be 100% organic – that means it should change, evolve, and be updated as time goes on. A hard-coded website or one that is difficult to change in a moment’s notice is going to lock you into something that’s not working for you. 

So why update your website copy? 

We see lots of companies who put up a website home page and then never invest in their marketing again. After 10 years, it’s still the same home page. Their business has changed over that decade, but their website copy doesn’t reflect the changes. 

It’s stagnant. 

Keeping your website organic will encourage your clients to engage with your business more, and help convert those engagements into successful transactions.

How Website Copy Impacts Engagement & Conversion

How can updating your website copy impact engagement and conversion? Here are a couple of examples…

It Conveys Reliability

Suppose you used to offer a service that you no longer do. You’ll want to reflect those changes on your website. If clients who visit your site discover the information isn’t up-to-date, they’ll get the impression that your company is unreliable and engage with it less in the future. To encourage engagement, offer updated website copy.

It Makes It Easy For Clients To Find What The Need

Has your business started to offer new products or services since your last website update? As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. Your clients can’t buy your new services or products if they don’t know you’re offering them! Conversion rates will grow if you make it as easy as possible for your audience to find what they’re looking for and convince them your solution is the best.

If your business has had to slow down in the past month, take advantage of the downtime to rebuild engagement and increase conversion by updating your website copy. 

Determine If You’re Doing Minor Changes or A Massive Overhaul

Updating your website copy doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. You can make minor changes or get creative with a massive overhaul. 

Minor Changes

Even minor changes to your website copy can go a long way! 

Refine Your Headline Keywords

Are the keywords on your website specific enough to help your clients find what they need? Something as simple as re-phrasing your headlines to target your audience can help increase traffic – and eventually engagement and conversion rates.  

Make Small, Regular Updates

Are you keeping your clients in the loop about how current events impact their access to your business (especially in the midst of COVID-19)? Adding regular updates to your site will keep clients informed about how to continue to use your services or buy your products – in times of a pandemic or otherwise!

Massive Overhaul

When business is busy, marketing often slips by the wayside. If you haven’t had the chance to update your website copy, it’s not too late to get started on a massive overhaul! 

Does your website reflect your company’s values and brand? Does the copy highlight your current products and services? Can clients request them online? Is your website optimized for mobile viewing with easy-to-use navigation?

These are all places to look for opportunities to improve engagement and conversion. 

Updating Your Website Copy to Increase Conversion & Engagement in 6 Simple Steps

Whether you’re gearing up for major or minor updates to your website copy, it’s important to keep in mind both what to improve and how to improve it. Here are 6 simples steps to start updating your website copy to increase conversion and engagement.

1. Build a Brand Voice Guide 

Updating your website copy doesn’t have to be time-consuming and you don’t have to be a gifted writer either! When you build a Brand Voice Guide, you’ll be able to let someone else do the heavy lifting for you. In your Brand Voice Guide, you’ll outline which emotions and tones writers should use to update and edit your website copy. That way, you can rest assured that everything on your website is aligned with your company’s brand. 

Creating a Brand Voice Guide streamlines the copywriting process and fosters familiarity with your brand to improve conversion and engagement. You’ll get more growth with less effort. Check out our blog for more on why having a brand voice is critical to business growth

2. Record Your Baseline Metrics

After building a brand voice guide to expedite the copywriting process, where do you start making improvements to your existing copy? You can evaluate where changes should be made by taking down your metrics. 

Are You Reaching Your Audience?

Your engagement metrics tell you how good your website is at reaching your audience. This includes how many visitors your website typically gets per month, how many of these are new visitors, and how long each visitor spends on each page. 

Do you have many visitors to your homepage but not nearly as many for your services page? This doesn’t necessarily mean that visitors don’t want to engage with your services – they might just have a hard time finding them! 

Take note of which pages of your website have low engagement metrics so you can create a strategy to improve them. 

How Often Are People Taking Action (Buying, Subscribing, or Enrolling)?

Your conversion metrics tell you how often a client takes an action that you recommend to them. How often are clients buying your products or services, scheduling a consultation, or signing up for your newsletter? You’ll know that your copy needs improvement if your website has a lot of visitors, but few are following through with these actions. 

Don’t worry – low conversion metrics don’t necessarily mean clients aren’t interested in what you’re offering. A lot of the time, it simply means you need to update your copy to better communicate to clients how they’ll benefit from your offers.

3. Save Existing Copy Into A Blank Document

Storage is cheap, but your time isn’t! Before you dive into making any changes to your website, be sure to save the existing copy into a blank document. While some of your content might be new, a lot of it can be updated from what was already there before. It’ll also show you where you’ve been and where you don’t want to go again.

4. Write Emotionally With Benefits Taking The Lead

Your company offers valuable services and goods. But how can you express this value to your clients? Keep your audience at the forefront by writing emotionally with benefits to your client taking the lead. 

If you ask Harvard Business Review, people find the most value in products and services that serve their functional and emotional needs. Companies that address these in their writing have greater customer loyalty and growth. 

What does your client need practically and emotionally when they seek out your business? Address these needs, and offer a solution in your copy.

5. Review It Thoroughly

Next, you need to review the copy thoroughly for grammar, syntax, flow, and clarity. At FocusCopy, we always have at least 2 sets of eyes on each piece of copy we send out. Usually, we have 3 sets of eyes – 2 sets that haven’t worked on the development side. 

Check out our proofreading tips that we use to review every single piece of copy.

6. Update the Live Page

Before you update the live page with your newly written and thoroughly reviewed copy, take a before photo. You can add extensions to your browser that take a full screen capture – taking a photo of the entire page without you having to merge multiple screenshots of it.

Once you have the before photo, reveal your fresh look to the world. If your remodeling included major changes, send out an email to existing customers to highlight what your exciting new site features make easier for them! 

7. Test & Continue to Refine Copy

Remember, great website copy is truly organic. Continue to take down your metrics, compare them with old metrics, and refine your copy accordingly. You can also take advantage of split testing of headlines or landing pages to see which keywords and images resonate the most with your audience. 

Your company may be experiencing downtime, but there’s always a place to move forward and grow with your online marketing.

Looking for some help getting started? We write copy that communicates how you (the company) transforms your customer’s lives. When a customer feels heard, they are much more likely to engage with your brand and ultimately convert. Learn more about FocusCopy’s copywriting services here.

Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

Why Developing a Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

Have you ever seen a company whose copy was just all over the place? Better question… Have you ever seen a big brand publish something that seemed entirely off-brand with the voice they used?

Probably not.

Because those companies have developed what we call a brand voice. But you don’t need to be a Fortune 1000 company to have a brand voice! You can start it now. Today.

In this blog, we’re revealing 4 reasons why developing a brand voice is critical to business growth.

What is a Brand Voice?

A brand voice a set of emotions, tones, and descriptions that describe how you want to communicate to everyone who comes into contact with your company. It’s like an external culture.

We help craft brand voices for companies in what we call a Brand Voice Guide. This guide allows for anyone to read and use to write for the brand itself.

It’s not what you say… It’s how you say it.

Why Companies Needs a Brand Voice

Often, the CEO or the founder is the face of the company – meaning their time becomes more limited as their company grows. They cannot spend the time they used to commit to writing blogs, articles, website copy, or social media posts.

There are two options here: 

  1. Wait until the CEO or founder of the company has time to write
  2. Hire someone else to write in place of the CEO or founder

The problem with option #1 is that the copy or content that needs to be written almost never gets done in a timely manner, or at all. It also sometimes creates friction within the organization because the marketing department is trying to adhere to a content schedule. The marketing department then finds themself in a catch-22 – following a schedule vs. annoying their employer (which is something that we do not suggest doing). 

Option #2 can go one of two ways. 

First, it can look sporadic, unprofessional, and messy because the ghostwriter doesn’t fully understand the voice they are mimicking. Additionally, the customer or subscriber will immediately be able to tell that it’s a different writer – losing trust and credibility. No one wants that. 

The other way option #2 can go is… 

The CEO or founder appears to be active, personal, and trustworthy to their customers without ever touching a keyboard. How can you accomplish this? By documenting your brand voice guidelines.

4 Reasons Why Developing a Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

Not convinced enough that you need to develop a brand voice? Here are 4 reasons why developing a brand voice is critical to business growth and your success.

#1 It Streamlines Your Editing Process

Who doesn’t need more time? Oftentimes, the most time is spent in the editing and proofreading stages of copywriting and content production. 

If we take an average blog length (1000-1500 words or 2-4 pages) with a light edit, it will take approximately 30 minutes. This of course assumes that the writer is an excellent writer and nailed down the brand voice. 

Using the same number of pages or words for a heavy edit, it will take over an hour to edit the same exact blog. 

And that’s just an average technicality.

If your blog is significantly technical, you’re going to find the editing process is a lot longer. The most common reason for this increased time is not because the writer is trying to perfect the copy. It’s mostly because they have to completely rewrite the piece because they didn’t get the brand voice across originally. 

When you create a brand voice, it streamlines your editing process by removing one less thing you want to worry about when editing. A brand voice guide decreases the number of edits or complete rewrites. 

#2 Your Customers Need to Recognize and Remember Your Voice

A consistent voice builds a recognizable voice that your customers will remember. The goal is for your customers to think of you as many times as possible. How do you accomplish that? You make it easy for your customers to remember you – even if they are just scrolling through Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. 

Examples of Memorable Brand Voices

Let’s take a couple of examples… Can you guess who they are before checking out the link? 

Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

“We know men have thicker skin and luxurious facial hairs to grow classy mustaches and thick beards if they so choose. We built our products uniquely for your face, the face of man.” (Hint: men’s grooming.) 

Did you guess it right? 

“A top-shelf grooming routine. Personalized for you. No two people are the same. Tell us what you like so we can pick the right products.” (Hint: they changed this industry.) 

“For a pop of color to brighten any palate, go floral. Our in-house artists hand-painted a variety of beautiful floral prints for this collection, and we think you’ll agree—they’re the perfect nod to spring. (These amazing vases start at just $14.) And for an even more lush look, layer in faux greenery or delicate dried stems.” (Hint: a girl’s favorite hangout.) 

“It’s finally happening. Buy one [burger] and get another for just $1 when you place a mobile order. This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the first—because this sequel has six more strips of bacon for one dollar more. So good you’re gonna wanna see it again and again.” (Hint: we’re big fans of their social media team!)

Now, this may be a little harder to get…

“Love, for all the right reasons.” (Hint: it’s a car company.)

How’d you do? A brand voice helps your customers remember you and think of you the next time they’re looking to buy. 

#3 It Improves Customer Engagement and Conversion.

People don’t change overnight – they evolve over time. So when a prospect feels like they know your brand like the person in the cubicle next to them, their best friend, or even their family, they are more likely to engage. 

The higher engagement rate, the higher conversion rate. 

Think about the coffee giant Starbucks. When you look at its 18.4 million followers on Instagram, you see at least 110,000 likes and comments – translating to an average 0.78% engagement rate (last 3 posts as of January 5, 2020). While that rate seems low in our brains, it’s consistent with their social presence and they are engaging hundreds of thousands of people every single day – even if they don’t like or comment. 

Top of mind. 

How does social media engagement translate to conversion? 

Go run by a Starbucks sometime today. Every table is taken, the drive thru line is long, and the baristas are pushing our drinks as fast as possible. 

While Houston’s coffee scene is on fire right now, many people often go for the easy route when scheduling a coffee meeting – Starbucks. They will always know what to expect from a Starbucks. That starts with the very foundation – the brand.  

#4 More Writing Projects Can Get Done

Because your company writing process has already been streamlined because of the brand voice, your writers can work on more writing projects. Thus creating more opportunities to increase revenue. 

Additionally, the company’s founder or face doesn’t have to write everything. No one would ever know unless you revealed that yourself. 

What type of writing projects can you get done with a brand voice guide?

The possibilities are endless when you have a brand voice guide because anyone will be able to use it. 

Develop Your Brand Voice Today

If you need help developing a brand voice, learn more how you can access a Done-For-You Brand Voice Guide here. 

Improve Every Web Page

10 Ways to Improve Every Web Page

Your website is your best sales page. It’s what gets people to click to another page, even purchase something directly from your site. People either do one of two things to find what they’re looking for – get referrals or go to Google. If you do not answer their question when they find you through search engines (or social media, advertising, etc.), then they have millions of other results to go to. Our goal is for your prospect to never leave and to take the next step in the customer value journey.

Before we get into 10 ways to improve every web page, I do want to put this little caveat here… If you are just starting your website, the most important thing for you right now is to get the website up and running so it informs your prospective customers. It will not be perfect; if you make it perfect, it’d never get published. Take these tips and know it’s going to be an ever-evolving process of improvement. Get that mud up on the wall.

If you already have a website and want to improve it to result in higher conversions, you’re in the right place.

10 Ways to Improve Every Web Page

As you go through your website, here are 10 ways to improve every web page:

  1. Make it easy to understand (readability)
  2. Write clear and captivating headlines
  3. Have effective call to actions (CTAs)
  4. Include images and videos
  5. Make site mobile responsive
  6. Make it skimmable
  7. Benefit, Benefits, Benefits
  8. Center your site on the customer
  9. Check your readability (passive vs active)
  10. Use the right keywords

So let’s get into how to put these 10 items into action.

1. Make The Copy Easy to Understand 

There’s a reason why our mission is to bring clarity and focus to all business communications. Frequently, writers and companies alike get wrapped up in pretty language that looks and sounds good, but it isn’t always clear and to the point. The copy is full of verbose language that may paint the picture clearer, but the picture was clear without all those words. 

The goal here is to make the copy easy to understand in as few words as possible. In other words, get to the point.

Now for those that are raising their hands… What about SEO? They want you to have a certain number of words on each page. You’re exactly right. Include additional sections to the page; however, don’t just add words for the sake of adding words. Each word must have a purpose.

2. Write Clear and Captivating Headlines

In addition to making the copy easy to understand, check to make sure your headlines are both clear and captivating. Some good questions to ask yourself when assessing headlines include:

  • Can I identify the problem immediately from the headline?
  • Does it make me want to read more about that section?
  • Could to be clearer or more captivating?
  • Does the headline set expectations of what that section will include?

3. Use Effective Call to Actions

Another thing to look at is if your site has effective call to actions (CTAs). For example, you want people to inquire your services through your contact page – simple right. When your customer gets to that page, it’s a blank canvas. If they are anything like me, they probably don’t even know what to put in the message. Help them out. 

Instead of saying “Contact Us” on the button, you can spice it up by providing an action or something unique:

  • Send Us Your Availability
  • What’s your biggest question about ______?
  • Ask Your Big Question
  • We’re Waiting
  • Invest in Yourself

One of the great things about CTAs is that you can test them over and over and over again. Here a few tips if you want to take a stab at it yourself: 

  • Convey value
  • Keep it short (the description above is where the detail is)
  • Command, don’t demand
  • Urgency 
  • Specificity (they want to know exactly what’s going to happen)

Examples of Call to Actions

Here’s an example of how we used the first example on our own site. Speaking of this CTA, I want to connect with you and grab coffee if you’re in Houston or enjoy a cup of coffee virtually. Send us your availability to talk and if you’re in Houston, TX.

Ways to Improve Every Web Page

Your call to actions need to fit your voice and brand. Dare to be a little adventurous. It does not hurt to be a little different; in fact, a little attention may do you some good. Here are some of my favorite CTAs that I’ve seen recently.

Ways to Improve Every Web Page
Hannah Brencher Creative

“Pour the Coffee” – love it! It’s completely different from the usual “buy” or “get started”. It’s a command to take action, hinting at scarcity as coffee gets cold, and it’s short.

“Ask Your Question” is a great variation for “submit” or “contact”. In addition, it is paired with their FAQs. Short and to the point. Plus, there’s a promise of value because what comes after a question? An answer.

Can you say benefits? Who doesn’t want to save time and grow? A call to action is a great place to put another benefit, especially if the prior copy is feature focused.

In this call to action, DigitalMarketer gives the problem (“suck at marketing“) then provides the solution (“Become an Insider for FREE”). For someone who sucks at marketing and wants to get better, this is going to be a no-brainer to click and at least learn more.

American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI) is obviously great at writing effective call to actions – they invented copywriting. Both call to actions on this one section are different and also generate a little curiosity. My eyes immediately went to the CTAs. “You’ll love this.” Well, what’s “this”? So I went back and read about how the writer’s life just got easier.

Hey! Are you in our Insider’s List? I send a weekly email with our latest blog, copywriting tips, and things happening in the digital space… And it’s completely free to join! Click here to get on the inside.

4. Add Images & Videos

Always tie in images and/or video that connect the copy to a visual aid. Although you can get away with zero images, video, or even color when you have incredible copy, most companies need the visual aids to add to the copy. It can add depth and variety to your website copy.

Don’t be afraid of color, photos of people, or even animation.

5. Mobile Responsive

If you’re reading this on your phone or tablet, then you’re part of the 45% of my traffic that uses mobile devices. Depending on your business, it may be less or more. However, if you assume that 50% of your traffic is mobile, that means your site needs to be mobile responsive. Have you ever navigated a site that wasn’t responsive? It’s a nightmare.

Take a look at the two screenshots below of how different our homepage looks on tablet and phone. While we’ve worked hard to ensure that all pages are mobile responsive, some page builders do not make it obvious or easy to manipulate. Work with your web developer to make sure it looks good on desktop, tablet, and mobile.

6. Is It Skimmable?

Time is the one valuable asset people have that they will never get back. There’s no re-earning time – unless you’re a time traveller. If so, do share! As a result, we’ve become master skimmers. 

Read through each page on your website and try to skim it. If you have issues skimming and understanding what’s going on, then it’s most likely not skimmable. Add is headlines, break up long paragraphs into smaller sections, and change up the typography (size, alignment, font, and color). A reader should should be able to get the gist by just reading the headlines.

7. Benefit, Benefits, Benefits

While people do use logic (i.e. features) to back their decision, people want to know how working with your company is going to benefit them. It’s all about benefits, benefits, benefits. Surround the features with benefits or turn them into a mixture of benefits and features.

Take a look at Apple’s learn more page for the new MacBook Pro. You see the features of the storage, core processor size, memory, sound system, etc. You also see “power through intensive workloads” and “dramatic sound and super clean recordings”. If you work in graphics, video, or audio, these are HUGE benefits. 

If you’re having problems finding the benefits, we ask the question “so what?”.

For example, take a look at the new iPhone 11 Pro with their triple camera system… So what about that camera system? They could say to a parent or grandparent that they can use the iPhone 11 Pro to capture every family moment just as you saw it and treasure those moments forever. Instant benefit that doesn’t talk about the camera system and it’s emotional.

8. Customer Centricity

Another thing to check on is if your site is customer centered. I once had a conversation with a company that wanted to redo their website to position it for investors to invest. Because their goal was focused on the investment not the customer, they lost sight of this one fact… By changing the copy to be investor centric, they risked losing all their customers. 

I might add they were an e-commerce business. Yikes. 

If your company’s website is directed to anyone other than your customer, then it’s not a working asset. No customers = no sales = no company.

9. Passivity vs Active Language

This has been a hot topic in the FocusCopy team this week especially. Why? Because people continue to write passively. Remember those boring textbooks in college? Yep. The author almost exclusively wrote in a passive voice because it’s supposed to be informational. 

I’d like to argue that anything can be both informational and active. It’s also a lot easier to read. Get me? Read this blog if you want to check more readability tests you can use to measure passive vs active language.

10. Right Keywords

Finally, you need to think about your website’s SEO. As a former SEO specialist, I totally understand the need to have long-tail keywords (i.e. best lawyer for trial in houston tx). BUT when we are talking about your main pages (home, about, services, etc.), you need to select the right keywords that do not sound so stuffy and unnatural. 

People can sniff that out so easily now. Remember… People do business with people they like, know and trust. Sound like a human while adhering to SEO guidelines.

Improve Your Website’s Copy With FocusCopy

If you need help improving your website’s copy, we are standing by to convert your prospects into your buyers and to build your company’s brand. The first step… Fill out this form and be sure to send us your availability so we can schedule a call to discuss your specific needs. 

Any other suggestions? Comment below.

Proofreading Tips From Pro Copywriters

Is there anything worse than when you catch grammar mistakes on websites, social media posts, or worse… printed material?

Personally, when I find a grammar mistake, I become so fixated on that mistake that I go on a treasure hunt to find more mistakes. If the author of that piece of copy only knew… Phew! I sure am not taking the intended action on that page.

In this blog, I’m revealing all my proofreading tips that we use to dramatically improve our client’s existing copy and make it easier for their target audience to want to take the next step in the customer journey.

While there is a stark difference between editing and proofreading, we think it’s important that both of them happen. Editing is working on the messaging and the actual content itself. This is a much larger undertaking than its opponent. Proofreading focuses more on the flow, typos, and grammar mistakes. When we talk about proofing in a general sense, we also include editing into that. 

Every Piece of Copy Needs to Be Proofed & Edited

Plain and simple… Every piece of copy needs to be proofed. When copy or content is not proofed and there are mistakes littered throughout, you risk losing credibility, customers, etc.

Imagine this… Your all-star client sends you an email letting you know about a typo in your latest blog. 

Ouch.

It not only hurts to hear that from that client, but think about these two things…

  1. Other prospects aren’t as kind or forgiving as your all-star client. They’ll click to the next company because they don’t want to waste time with a company who doesn’t care enough to actually proof their copy. Potential revenue… Gone. Your competitors are benefitting from your careless mistakes.
  2. If your company cannot do something as simple as writing without grammar mistakes, then what other areas of quality are you skipping? Product manufacturing, quality control, product delivery, etc.?

Proofreading Tips From Pro Copywriters

As copywriters, we must be in the business of proofing too. In fact, we spend just as much, or even more, time proofreading and editing than it takes to write the entire piece of copy

Here are our 3 proofreading tips that every person writing content or copy should follow. This includes any emails going out to clients from the CEO to customer support and everyone in between.

1. Print It Out – Then Recycle

There is nothing like putting a pen to paper and ripping the content apart. It’s personal and keeps you connected to the art of writing. Some people claim they can do it on screen, but we’ve found it requires less effort and results in fewer errors when marking up the printed copy! Think about it… You read it, mark it up, then you re-read it as you edit your live copy. That’s 2 whole rounds of proofing, not just one (as it would be if you proof on-screen)!

So print out the copy (2-sided), and start marking it up. I’ll share a few of my editing marks later in this blog.

Proofreading Tips

Another alternative to printing it out is to switch on the Editing or Suggesting mode in your document provider (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc.).

2. Read It Out Loud

While you have it printed out, read it out loud. 

Every last word. 

Why? Because it should flow easily and sound natural. 

If you find yourself stumbling over a sentence or a phrase, reorganize the sentence while you’re reading through it. Then read it back out loud. Repeat until it sounds natural. If you don’t read it out loud, then you actually start to read what you think you wrote, not what you actually wrote. Verbalizing it eliminates this human trait.

Another thing that we do – especially when we are in the thick of editing – is to read it out to another person. They will be able to help you to catch all the errors, syntax issues, and content issues. This works especially well for large or complex pieces of copy. Yes, it burns the other person’s time, but it ultimately saves time, and therefore money every time.

3. Mark It Up

Finally, mark it up. Here are some short hand notations you can use while you edit. 

Proofreading Tips

You can read other proofreaders’ marks in the Chicago Manual of Style.

Proofreading Tips

Don’t have access to a printer? Or don’t want to waste paper? Many document providers like Microsoft Word or Google Docs has a suggesting tool where you can market it all up. Then you have the right to refuse or suggest the edits. They are good, but often you can do better with pen and paper.

Things to Look For When Proofreading

Now that you have a system, it’s time to figure out what you’re looking for. One thing that we commonly do is attack the entire copy with one perspective (i.e. spelling then flow) at a time then move onto the next. It helps you keep focused on the task at hand. 

Clarity of Message

First things first… Is the message you are writing about as clear as possible? Now, this isn’t a true and hard science. It’s helpful to put the copy in front of someone who has no clue what your writing about or who you are writing for. This is extremely helpful when explaining something technical or complicated. They will be able to indicate if your message is clear and universally understandable. 

Read more about our CFE Framework where the first step is bringing clarity to the topic. 

Focused Message

After you have deemed the message clear, it’s time to determine if it’s focused. In other words, this is where you cut the fluff, extra embellishments, and filler words or phrases (e.g. “like”, “as such”, “in order to:, etc.) that add to the word count but not to the effectiveness of the copy.

Spelling Mistakes

The most obvious thing to look for when proofing is spelling mistakes. While spell check has made it extremely easy to catch spelling mistakes, there are so many words that are used interchangeably wrongly. 

For example:

  • Except vs. Accept
  • Too vs. To
  • Their vs. They’re vs There
  • Your vs. You’re
  • Loose vs. Lose
  • Insure vs. Ensure

Sometimes, spell check corrects your misspelt word to a word with a completely different meaning. It now says there are no spelling mistakes, but some sentences may have completely different meanings or simply don’t make sense. This is where proofing comes in!

Syntax / Flow

The next thing to look at is the syntax or flow of your content or copy. Syntax is the set of rules, principles, and/or processes that determine sentence structure, usually including word order. Does it sound natural? Not clunky?

A great way to check for the flow is always to read it out loud. I know we’ve said this before, but it’s really important not to skip over.

Brand Voice

Another thing to take a look at is your brand voice. Is the piece of content or copy synonymous with your brand voice? You need it to sound consistent with the rest of the content on your website or your copy.

Readability

Finally, a good test of readable content is to check its readability score. There are two tests that we use frequently with our copy…

  • Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
  • Gunning Fog Index

There are many readability tests online where you can paste your copy into their test and it will rate it. 

Proofreading Tips

The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score was originally developed to determine the ease of military processes and procedures. Business writing needs to be around a 65; however, anything between 60 and 80 is considered a good score. 

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is similar to the readability score; however, it determines the grade level the text is catered to. Most business writing targets the grade-level 7.5; it used to be 8th grade but it has since been changed. Writing at this level means the copy is complex enough to engage interest but simple enough not to strain the brain. Writing at 20th grade (which some writers do) is only intelligible to post-graduates with three or more degrees. While my co-founder Stuart Broderick may be able to understand that language with his Ph.D. in physics, the rest of us will pass. 

Both measurements focus on word length (syllables) and sentence length. For example, if there are too many sentences with over 20 words in them, then you risk reducing your readability score. 

Finally, there is the Gunning Fog Index. Its scoring mechanism is based on the grade level of which the text is appropriate for. For example, a 12 would be suitable for seniors in high school or 18-year olds. Most text should be at or below a 12 if you are in a B2B setting. If your intended audience is extremely wide, it is best to aim for 7th or 8th grade. 

There are many other readability scores or grade level scoring indexes, but they all focus on the same thing – how easy it is to read a piece of content.

Avoiding Proofreading All Together

There is one sure way of avoiding proofreading all together. 

Hire professional copywriters or retain a copywriting firm.

This only applies when you hire professional copywriters that are obsessed with quality. At FocusCopy, we have quality controls to ensure that a single piece of copy does not leave our office without being proofed by at least 2 people. Why? Because the value is in the copy and the value can be immediately lost if there are grammar or flow issues. 

Have any other proofreading tips? Let us know about them in the comments below. 

Copywriting vs SEO Writing

Copywriting vs SEO Writing: What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that copywriting and SEO writing is becoming increasingly critical to marketing strategies. The digital landscape is cluttered with both valuable content and junk. A keyword a year ago might have had a few million results but now has hundreds of millions of results. That makes life as a digital marketer and entrepreneur both terrifying and exhilarating. So let’s take a look at which you should invest in: copywriting vs SEO writing.

What’s the Difference Between Copywriting vs SEO Writing?

First, let’s analyze the difference between copywriting vs SEO writing. Although they are both technically writing and can be intertwined, they serve two different purposes. 

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is the act of writing text to persuade the reader to take a requested action – usually found in advertising and promotions. The product sold by copywriters is called copy. It’s only purpose is to convert the reader to opt-in, buy, or schedule a call. 

What is SEO Writing?

In comparison,  SEO writing is the act of writing content that ranks well on search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing). The content is usually informative and/or expressive, rather than persuasive. SEO writing contains keywords that ranks the page on search engines. SEO writing can be in the form of web pages or blogs. 

Good SEO writing should be fluid, easy to read without noticing the interspersing of keywords. Remember, people do business with people, NOT keywords or robotic sounding content. It’s better to write like a human than to meet all SEO requirements. 

When Copywriting & SEO Writing Fuse Together

One thing I – among many other copywriters – love is when you can fuse copywriting and SEO writing together. What do I mean by this? 

Good content is searchable, easy-to-read, and informative in some capacity. More than that, good content will include persuasive call to actions to some next step in the customer journey. For example, a blog post can offer a lead magnet or a trial offer to a premium offer.

Here are some examples of how you can infuse copywriting into your search optimized piece of content.

DigitalMarketer is really good at this… They break up their blogs with timely call to actions about free lead magnets, such as their 15-Point Landing Page Audit. In addition to the written copy with a hyperlink to a landing page, they also include an image with copy embedded. 

Copywriting vs SEO Writing

This next example is from GoLive. One thing that I really appreciate about their blog is the subtle call the action. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may even miss it… And that’s a good thing for content marketing and SEO writing! If your content is always sell, sell, sell, you are not adding value to your customer before they give you their credit card. It’s important to offer value up-front.

 Notice when you click on the “Squarespace Website Template” link, it sends you straight to their shop. 

Copywriting vs SEO Writing

Moz is great at producing blogs about SEO; however, they do not actively present their product until the very end after the conclusion and after popular posts. This is another way to fuse SEO writing and copywriting together.

Copywriting vs SEO Writing

Reasons to Invest in Both

To create a sound digital marketing strategy, you need both copywriting and SEO writing. Here are some reasons why you need to invest in both.

Your Prospects Need To Find You

You could have the greatest product, innovative technology, or coaching program that changes lives… BUT if your prospect cannot find you, you will unfortunately never make it. While there are many ways to reach your customers, every decision maker in a company has a smartphone, a tablet, and/or a computer in their hand. As a business owner, if I need to know something and I can’t think of a person to call to answer my question… COMMAND+T. I’m googling it. 

(You’re welcome for my favorite Apple keyboard shortcut!)

That’s why SEO copywriting should be a critical part of your marketing strategy.

Creating a sound SEO writing and content marketing strategy doesn’t always come easy. It can be time-consuming and draining as you learn the nuances. That’s where we come in! Contact us today to explore what opportunities are in your business.

Your Prospects Need To Feel Confident In Buying From You

Another reason to invest in your copywriting and SEO writing strategy is to make your prospects feel confident in their buying decision. 

SEO writing makes you an authority; it helps you gain respect because you have displayed that you know what you’re talking about. 

But copywriting takes you to a deeper level with your prospect with emotional persuasion. Once the prospect believes that they buying decision is logical and truly believes that they need that product or service to solve x, y, and z, then they are highly likely to buy. In addition, copy that creates an emotional connection creates loyal followers, lifers, repeat customers.

Again, there are thousands of options customers may pick from other than your company! We think you’re still special though. 

So how are you going to set yourself apart from the competition and make your prospect feel confident in choosing you?

Your Prospects Want a Company They Can Trust and Believe In

Where do you buy groceries – HEB or Kroger? Which social media platform do you like better – Instagram or Snapchat? Do you buy directly from a company’s site or go straight to Amazon? Ultimately, every person has their preferences. Because there are so many options to choose from, your prospects subconsciously want to buy from a company they can trust to do the job right, delivering above and beyond AND believe in because they just get you. 

For example, we at FocusCopy have made it our mission to be our client’s strategic partner in all their business communications. We truly believe that. We cheer on our clients and celebrate their victories, even if it had nothing to do with us! Additionally, we connect them with resources and potential customers. Being a strategic partner goes beyond just copywriting services. At the end of the day, we believe in our clients. It’s our hope that our prospective clients see our internal guiding beliefs in everything we write… And ultimately trust and believe in us.

Let’s take another angle! Think about romantic relationships. When a couple first meets, what do they look at? Their eyes and maybe lips (while they’re talking). Attraction. Then they listen to what they have to say, leaning in a little more to make that first impression judgement. Are they intelligent, genuine, and kind? Or Are they clueless, rude, and lack depth? Because who doesn’t like a good story, let’s say this couple makes the first judgement – we’re good to go! They then start to build an emotional connection with that other person as time goes on. Eventually, a meet-cute turns into a date, which becomes a relationship and then engagement, and finally marriage. 

The same is true of B2B copywriting. People form connections with people. So a business must understand and communicate like humans. This is why influencers on social media have become so big. People feel a connection with the person behind the screen because those influencers have opened their lives up to them.

The Final Decision: Copywriting vs SEO Writing

If you have a limited budget and had to make a decision on what to invest in first, we always suggest doing what will make money first… In that case, it’s always copywriting. You can drive more traffic all day. BUT if your copy does not convert, then that traffic is going to go elsewhere to find what they are looking for. 

Good SEO simply makes it easier to find your great copy, and hopefully convince them to buy from you.

In conclusion, it’s more important than ever before to evaluate your website’s SEO and copywriting. The competitive landscape is ever changing as algorithms change, prospects demand more free content, and the cost to acquire a customer is increasing. Contact us to explore how FocusCopy can build a competitive content and copywriting strategy and ultimately reduce the cost of customer acquisition.