Most businesses in this day and age have a website because it’s simply good for business. In fact, it’s a must-have in the age of Google, when the first thing people do when researching is to look you up online. Yet, if you haven’t audited your website for customer experience, including copy, structure, strategy, and conversion focus recently, it might not be sending the message you want.
So how do you get started? First, you should change the way you think about your website. In addition to being a digital business card that your prospects can access 24/7, your website should be a salesperson with the goal of converting perfect-fit customers from the first visit.
We’ll get into how to audit your website in just a moment. However, as you read through this, I want you to be asking yourself a few questions:
- What will your prospects see when they land on your homepage?
- How about your ‘About’ page?
- Does it speak directly to YOUR business or to THEIR needs?
Let’s dive in … 🙂
What does your website say about your business?
Chances are that by the time someone ends up on your website, they’ve identified a problem they have and are looking for a solution. A website that is both well-written and designed for conversion can set you up as the ultimate solution so your visitors won’t want to look elsewhere.
Achieving that goal means going beyond the four things your website should already be doing for your business and future pace them toward the end goal they have in mind.
And those four things? Your website should
- Give you credibility
- Build relationships with prospective clients
- Provide a ‘safe haven’ for your content
- Back up everything you’re saying everywhere else
So how do you know if your website is working for you?
There are many things you can do — probably the most straightforward is to conduct an audit that focuses primarily on copy and audience experience. Design matters, too. But, if your words aren’t right, the best design in the world won’t help you grow!
So what are copy audits? They’re thorough checklists you use to make sure your website communicates the right message to the right audience. (I’ve got one here that you can snag for free — more on that below.)
When clients ask me how often they should conduct a website copy audit, my answer surprises them. I suggest every 6-12 months to make sure copy and messaging are on point.
Here’s the thing. An audit doesn’t mean revamping your website unless you make drastic changes.
Truth be told, you may not have to change anything during these audits if your message and offerings haven’t changed in that time. However, in this ever-changing digital world, it’s possible you’ll need to make a few tweaks here and there so your website matches the rest of your customer experience.
Sometimes businesses build a website thinking they can throw it out into the world and never touch it again. The truth is, whether your business is new or over 5 years old, you’ll undergo various pivots during its lifetime – this could be an entire industry shift or even a slight shift in audience expectations or needs.
Here are a few ways a website copy audit can set your website up for success.
Who is your audience?
Before you start thinking of what your website will look like or where you want to host it, you first need to identify your audience.
Writing copy for a website is easier when you know exactly who you’re creating it for. You’ll be able to create brand messaging that resonates with them and manages expectations for what you will and won’t do.
During a copy audit, ask yourself who you want to work with or who your product is for, and avoid saying ‘everyone.’ Even brands with products and services that most people can use should do their best to narrow their target market.
Marketers frequently refer to the phrase “When you market to everyone, you sell to no one,” and with good reason. A clearly defined audience allows you to craft a tailored message for them.
Instead of feeling like they’re being marketed at, your visitor will feel like you see them and are offering to help them with their problem. The goal here is to start a conversation.
You can establish your audience by identifying a few factors:
- Who you want to work with (women-owned, direct-to-consumer, SaaS, etc.)
- What their pain points are (Can’t convert customers, need branding help, etc.)
- What are your core values? (Do your prospects’ values align with yours?)
- What do you want to be known for? (‘The go-to person for X’)
Once you’ve identified your audience, pain points, and how well they mesh with your business, you can start to create the perfect message for them, which is a craft of its own.
Is your messaging spot on?
Having the right messaging is arguably the most important part of a website copy audit and website building in general. When you break it down, everything on your website should filter through your core message. In fact, I won’t take on a website copy project anymore unless we go through a solid brand messaging process.
Defining your messaging is one of the most valuable steps you can take in your marketing. When you know your messaging, the rest of your marketing strategy and tactics flow accordingly. It’s not to say it writes itself, but choosing goals, prioritizing them, and creating assets and strategies to fulfill them gives you a solid lens through which to filter every decision.
We’re not outlining a full brand messaging strategy process here.
For the purposes of a copy audit, I want you to ask yourself:
- What result will your client receive if they work with you?
- What can they do after getting that result?
- How will you achieve that result?
Once you have answered these questions, you’ll understand what you need to communicate to your audience. And more importantly, you’ll be able to identify if your website copy delivers.
Stumped where? Doing a little customer research will show you where you can find them and how you should speak to them so that your message resonates with them in the best way possible.
This is where developing a brand voice comes in handy.
If your customer base is moms who are looking to streamline their daily routine, highly-technical language may not be the best way to communicate your messaging with them. You’d want to use friendly and approachable language and strike a conversational tone.
Another incredible tool you can use is your Unique Selling Proposition or USP. Your USP is the one thing that shows how you stand out against your competition, in other words, your ‘wow factor!’ (or how you position yourself)
Say you’re a direct-to-consumer company that makes cookies. What do you do differently from other cookie brands? Is it the packaging that stands out? Maybe you have a unique cookie recipe that goes back hundreds of years? Answering these questions can help you identify your USP, even if it isn’t immediately obvious.
If you provide a service, your USP might speak to a framework you developed, or maybe you’re in an incredibly niched industry and provide a service few others do.
Speaking of frameworks, I happen to have one that can also help communicate your messaging to your audience without feeling like you’ve burnt yourself out. ↓
Get your messaging out there using the REACH Visibility Trajectory™
The REACH Visibility Trajectory™ is a strategic messaging framework I created to help clients build authority, boost visibility, and connect with your ideal market.
This framework features the following five components:
R – Research your customers: Just as I mentioned above, researching your customers can help you identify where they are, what tone-of-voice to use, and other critical factors.
E – Engage with your brand value and voice: This is where you’ll interact with your customers, but it’s more than just liking their comments and giving a quick response. It’s about how you want them to perceive you and what you want them to feel when they interact with you. Your tone-of-voice comes in handy here.
A – Attract customers with web copy that turns you into a snack: You want your web copy to be so good your customers won’t want to leave the site. This is a great time to conduct a copy audit and make those changes to your site to make it irresistible.
C – Create an online funnel for brand visibility: Here you’ll create a lead generation funnel to keep your visitors on your site and it can include lead magnets and email sequences.
H – Hook prospects with tactical strategy: you begin a 90-day omnichannel plan to gain even more brand visibility, build trust, and convert as much as possible.
You can use this framework to effectively and efficiently get your message out to the right people, but if you still need some help with your messaging, let’s chat and see how I can help!
Let’s talk simplicity.
As you’re conducting your website copy audit, it might start to seem a little overwhelming, and you might think it may not be ‘professional’ enough to help you. The truth is, it doesn’t need to look like a $300k website, in fact, simplicity is the best direction to take.
Here are a few ways you can keep your website simple:
Joanna Weibe, the original Conversion Copywriter promotes ‘The Rule of One,’ where you have one reader, one big idea, one promise, and one offer. The idea behind the Rule of One is it’s much easier to talk to a single person than it is to a faceless crowd. Some people may shy away from this rule, thinking it may isolate visitors, but when you talk to a single person, there’s human truth and connection involved. More than one person can see themselves as the person you’re talking to, and feel encouraged to connect with you.
Most business owners building a website from the ground up aren’t web designers, but as long as you have this one area of your website optimized, your visitors will find it hard to say ‘no’ to you. This is called the ‘Hero Section,’ and it’s the section of your website that your visitor sees before they start to scroll down. This section can determine whether your visitor scrolls down to see more or exits. Typically, the Hero Section consists of the headline, subheadline, and the call-to-action (CTA). You can learn how to craft your hero section, including the ‘perfect headline’ in this article.
You want to make sure your visitors can easily your website. Otherwise, they may find it burdensome enough to leave and look for someone else. Your navigation tab at the top of your page shouldn’t be cluttered and busy. Instead, aim for simple and easy-to-read. If you have a lot of pages your visitor can go to, the use of dropdown menus is always a good idea. Be mindful of the copy you use for these tabs and menus – you can still use these bits of copy to attract your visitor’s attention. For example, instead of just using ‘About Me,’ you can use ‘Meet X.’ There’s always room to get creative.
Mobile vs desktop views
When designing their websites, most people start with and focus on the desktop view, but according to Oberlo, roughly 49.78 percent of the total web visits are coming from mobile. Depending on your industry, that may be different. For example, mine are almost exclusively desktop, which makes sense. Clients contact me from work.
However, depending on your industry, half or more of your website visits are coming from mobile, and chances are your mobile view isn’t optimized. During your website copy audit, it’s important you review how your copy looks in both views. Maybe the font sizes are not translating well on mobile, but look fantastic on desktop or vice versa.
Not sure how to do this? Most website builders have a separate mobile builder that allow you to optimize your website for mobile view without sacrificing your desktop layout. And if you’re stumped, it’s worth reaching out to your developer to get some help.
You’ve written fantastic copy and laid everything out so your visitors can easily understand your offerings and how to get around. Now what?
You ask them for something!
The call-to-action or CTA happens at the moment you ask your visitors to perform a specific action whether it’s buying a product or joining a mailing list. There’s usually a button, though not always, with text that requests the action. That’s your true CTA.
During your copy audit, go over your existing CTAs and determine how likely you are to perform the action and how clear the ask is. For example, my business CopySnacks is all about making your messaging irresistible so a lot of my language includes playful references to food or snacks.
If I used the CTA ‘Get snackin,’, it’s on brand, but doesn’t communicate a clear ask. (Spoiler alert, I did this and people didn’t get it. Conversions went up when I swapped that out for ‘Book a call.’ However, if I use ‘Make your website copy irresistible,’ it communicates that you’ll get great copy and is still on-brand.
Using a copy checkup to conduct a copy audit
I could talk about website copy audits for hours… seriously we’re talking full-length paperback.
To maximize your time (and your likelihood of following through), I didn’t do that. Instead, this article included some highlights that could make a huge impact. (Headlines are another.) If, after reading through this article, you’re wondering, ‘is my website copy good enough?’ it might be worth conducting a copy audit, and I have just the thing for you.
I mentioned it above, but now that you understand the power of a copy audit, let’s go deeper. My Ultimate 10-Point Website Copy Checkup is a structured guide exploring the points I discussed here and more. Each point includes examples of what to look for and 3 recommendations for leveling up your website. Ultimately it gives you 30 (mostly) quick fixes that can transform the way your website connects with your audience.
You can get your Copy Checkup here, and take the first step to revamp your website for more conversions!
This Copy Checkup helps you see your website, and maybe even your business, from a different perspective and score yourself on a scale of 1-10 on 10 critical points of your website.
If you’ve got your Copy Checkup ready but feel like you may need a helping hand, that’s no problem! Reach out to find out how to work with me on an audit of your site.