I was speaking to a B2B company recently about their website, which wasn’t performing very well. It was quite an old site, and they were looking to refresh the copy, but when I did a quick review of the site I noticed some things they could do themselves to improve the site and start to drive more traffic to it.
Great website copy is important
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t suggesting they carry out some quick fixes, and their problems would be solved. If you want people to engage with your site, you need good copy, and it was clear that this company needed its content to be reworked.
As with a lot of B2B websites, it had been written by someone from the company who wasn’t a marketer. There's nothing wrong with this, but while it read ok, the copy was heavy, included every possible keyword, which meant it didn’t flow naturally, and it was written from the company’s point of view. In other words, it was all about the company and focused on features rather than benefits.
Rule #1 for any website copy is that people don’t care about how great you think you, your products, or your services are, they care about how you can help them, solve a problem, and make their lives easier. But this blog isn’t about how to write engaging copy for a website.
My review of the site revealed a few simple tweaks that the company could make to help it start performing better while I rewrote the copy. These are quite basic and are fixes anyone can do to create a better user experience, so here are 7 of my tips.
1. Keep it simple - You want people who visit your site to be able to find the information they want quickly and easily. Complex navigation and pages that are visually confusing will only turn people off. As a rule of thumb, your navigation structure should allow a visitor to find what they need on your site in just three clicks from wherever they are on your site. Remember, people don’t always go straight to your home page, they may land on a blog or product page first, so make any hyperlinks obvious and use a simple, easy to follow structure for your navigation menu.
White space is your friend. It makes your content easy to read and helps the reader to focus on what you’re saying. Sites that are cluttered, text heavy, and use different font sizes throughout just become a jumbled mess. Using a larger font because you think a sentence is important doesn’t work, it confuses the brain, especially if this happens multiple times on the page.
Quick tip: Website visitors scan content, so you should try to keep your page layouts consistent by using the same heading sizes, fonts, and colour themes and having clear breaks between sections on the page. Have a set structure for your headings and sub-headings (see Point 2 below). Simple sites that use white space effectively help the reader to focus on what you’re saying without distractions.
2. Headings – Headings (headlines) provide a structure on a page, making it easy for readers, and search engines to navigate and understand what the content is about. Don’t be tempted to use the different heading tags (H1-H6) to emphasise something in your copy (see Point 1 above), headline tags should be used to make the text easier to read and understand.
Your main heading is the important H1 tag. This is what the copy on the page is about and is designed to hook the reader and make them want to read on. H2 tags should then be used as second-level headings, or sub-headings to divide your content up on the page. Think of a chapter in a book, these are your H2 headings. If you need to break the content up further, then this can be done with H3–H6 tags. Most sites will only use H1, H2 and H3 tags.
Quick tip: Use keywords in your H1, H2 and H3 headings, but don’t stuff your headings with keywords, use them naturally. You should always write for your readers, not search engines. But having said that, they can help the search engines to understand the page content.
3. Meta descriptions – A meta description is the text displayed below your page title in search results. It helps people understand what the content on your website page is about.
Adding a meta description for a page is something that people can forget to do, particularly if the site was written a while ago, so it’s worth reviewing your pages to check you have a meta description in place for each one. Meta descriptions are also a key part of your SEO so you want to keep them fresh and update them to encourage people to click through from their search results.
Quick tip: You can check if your page has a meta description by right-clicking anywhere on the page and selecting ‘Inspect’ to view the HTML code. There are also free tools that will allow you to check your meta descriptions before you publish them. See my blog on Meta Descriptions for more info and links to these tools.
4. Check your page links – There’s nothing more annoying than clicking on a link for further information, to download a guide or sign up for a newsletter to find the link is broken. This could be because the page has been deleted or moved, whatever the reason your page doesn’t link to it anymore.
Go through your site and check that all your links work. If you find a broken link or 404 error which means it’s either broken or does not lead to a valid page, either update or remove the link.
Quick tip: You can use a free tool such as ahrefs Broken Link Checker, Google Search Console or other analytical tools to identify any broken links on your website.
5. Check the page loading speed – How quickly your page loads is important to the user experience. Slow load times are frustrating. We’re all busy and waiting more than a couple of seconds for a page to load will only prompt visitors to ditch the site and go somewhere else. It will also cause your bounce rate to spike which will damage your search rankings.
Simple things like optimising images is a quick way to improve the speed of your website. It makes sense when you think about it, the larger the file size of the image, the slower your website will load. So when you upload an image, try to resize it first to the actual size you need for your website, don’t just upload it in its original size. If you use Adobe Photoshop you can reduce the image file size by using the Save for Web option.
Including a video on your website can also slow your site down to a snail’s pace so rather than load the video from your server, embed a link to it on YouTube or Vimeo.
6. Include CTAs – Never assume visitors to your site are going to navigate around it exactly how you want them to or will automatically contact you if they want any more information. If you want people to engage with your site, you need to show them what you want them to do next. This could be going to another page for more information, requesting a callback, downloading your brochure etc. Adding a strong CTA to your site, that’s easy to see and says exactly what you want the visitor to do next
Quick tip: Make your CTA clear and obvious to visitors. Use a colour that stands out from the background and font size that grabs attention. Include text that makes it clear what will happen next, “Click here to download our guide,” “buy now” or “speak to us now.”
7. Make sure it’s mobile responsive – It may sound obvious, but so many older sites aren’t truly responsive. You need to make sure the site can be viewed on smartphones and tablets and is adaptable to any screen size. More and more people are using their smartphones for online research so a mobile responsive site is essential if you want to reach and engage with your customers.
Quick tip: Most of the drag and drop website builders such as Wix and WordPress include responsive templates that will render well on different devices. If you use Google Chrome you can check the site for yourself by right-clicking on the home page and selecting “Inspect” from the menu that opens up. Click on “Toggle device toolbar” in the top left of the screen.
Of course, you can always just check the site on your mobile and ask colleagues to do the same to see how it looks on different devices.
Improving your website to make it perform better
A website is an integral part of any B2B business. But if the copy is badly written, the site is a muddle of different fonts, text sizes and visuals that confuse and distract the visitor, or your pages load slowly, people will only go elsewhere.
Fixing the copy is easy, simply employ a professional copywriter to re-write, update and refresh your content. While this is being done you can address some of the common website problems yourself with the quick fixes outlined here. In time you should then start to drive more traffic to your site, engage with your audience, make people want to keep coming back for more and increase conversions.
But it’s also important to realise when simple tweaks such as these just aren’t enough and what is really needed is a website refresh or redesign by a professional.
Need help with your website layout, copy or content? Then why not Get in touch, I'm here to help you.