Guest post by Ardelia Lee
Copywriting tends to freak entrepreneurs out. I’ve found that a lot of business owners I talk to don’t know where to start when it comes to overhauling their website copy. Part of that is a copywriting mindset issue. The other part (that we’re talking about here) is how you view your website.
Instead of looking at your website and your website copy as separate pages that are independent from one another, look at them as connected landmarks that form a journey through your website.Look at your website and the copy as connected landmarks that form a journey through your website Click To Tweet
Think of your website visitors as the Fellowship of the Ring (these guys help Frodo protect the ring and act as his guard on their journey). Your goal is to get the Fellowship all the way to Mordor, the evil land where the ring is to be destroyed, without losing a single member (including Boromir…good luck with that).
Like the Fellowship, your website visitors are ultimately on a journey from Point A (where they land on your site) to Point C or D (where they end on your site). The good news is that you can write your copy in such a way that you can seamlessly guide your visitors from one place to another without losing them.
How? By taking a few cues from The Lord of the Rings.
Decide on the Ultimate Goal of Your Website
If you don’t know your visitor’s final destination, how do you expect to create a map for them to reach it? Imagine how much more difficult Frodo’s journey would’ve been if Gandalf had said, “Well, Frodo, I don’t know where, exactly, you’re supposed to end up, but I’ll know it when I see it.” The Fellowship wouldn’t have had a clear direction to follow, so they would’ve wandered aimlessly around Middle Earth.
Don’t leave your website visitor in this boat. Choose one big goal that you want your website to point visitors to, and focus on that when you write your content.
But how can you choose? There are so many different things that you want people to do on your website, right?
If you’re having trouble narrowing down your website’s big goal, write down all of the goals that you want your website to achieve. I’m willing to bet that some of your goals will happen naturally as others are achieved.
Let’s take the three goals of converting clients, establishing a relationship with people, and establishing your authority. Those are all really important goals. The good news is that if you’re converting visitors into clients, you’re also establishing a relationship with them and establishing your authority.
People don’t work with people they don’t know, like, and trust.People don’t work with people they don’t know, like, and trust. Click To Tweet
Action step: Take a few minutes to write down the goals you want your website to accomplish and then nest them inside each other. Then narrow your goals by what’s most essential to your business. In the end, the goal your choose should be what your business most needs to survive or what you want to promote the most at the moment.
Heather Crabtree launched the amazing Savvy Community not too long ago, and her website is designed to point visitors to it. Check out her clear call-to-action in the above-the-fold content on her website.
Create a Main Goal for Each Page
Once you have your visitor’s end destination in mind, you need a clear goal for each page of your website. Be sure that each page’s goal supports your main goal in some way.
If your big goal is to convert visitors to clients, but your about page makes no mention of your services, that’s a problem. It’s not supporting your overall website goal.
When you choose a main goal for each page, consider what your visitor will expect to find there. For example, your About page should be used to tell people more about you (duh). But if you look deeper, you could also use your About page as a way to lead people to your services page.
If you set up your About page in such a way that you’re able to talk about what you do for your clients, then you’ve gotten your services in front of your visitors, and they’ll be more likely to take you up on your strategically placed call-to-action and check out your services page.
In that respect, the main goal of your About page was to show people how working with you can benefit them.
Action Step: Go through your main website pages and choose one goal for each page. After that, write down how each page’s goal supports the overall goal of your website.
Create a List of Paths Your Visitors Could Take
Now that you know where you want your visitors to end up (Mordor) and you know how each webpage will support that journey, you need to make a few maps for your visitors to follow.
Think of your website pages as landmarks that The Fellowship will see along the way. Your homepage is like the Shire. It’s where the whole story begins.
Your About page is kind of like the dwarf mines of Moria – you’re giving people a glimpse inside you. And your blog is like Lothlorien, a refuge from the barrage of information online. If the ultimate goal of your website is to convert visitors to clients, then your Work With Me or Services page is going to be Mordor, your visitor’s final destination.
Create a map or two of the different paths your visitors could take through your website and the pages they’ll encounter along the way. Having different variations of the journey your visitors can potentially take through your website helps you see everything in a big picture perspective.
You get to see how all of your pages can work together to create a journey for your visitor.
Action Step: Outline at least two different paths visitors could take through your website.
And, no, your map doesn’t need to be fancy or look anything like Middle Earth. (Note: Not every path starts on the homepage because not everyone will land on your homepage first.)
Decide How to Move People Through Your Pages
Now you have your landmarks and a few different ways people can reach those landmarks. It’s time to give your visitors some motivation for moving through your website.
Think back through the Lord of the Rings. Something happened at each place the Fellowship visited that caused them to move on. In Moria, they awoke a hoard of orcs and a Balrog (a powerful, evil, and ancient being). Understandably, that sent them running into Lothlorien to take shelter with the elves there.
In Lothlorien, the necessity of getting the ring to Mordor kept the Fellowship moving. Just like the Fellowship, your visitors need a reason, or a prompt, to visit the next destination (a.k.a. web page).
You can move people through your website in several different ways (none of which involve orcs or Balrogs).
Use Strategic Calls-to-Action
If you’ve decided that you want your visitors to check out your services page after seeing your About page, then you can sprinkle in a few calls-to-action that prompt them to click over to your services page.
Phrases like “See my design packages now!” or “Learn more about my services” will encourage people to check out your services page. Maggie does this flawlessly at the bottom of her About page.
Use Your Sidebar
If you decide that calls-for-action aren’t your thing, you may want to consider using a sidebar to keep people moving through your site. The only thing is that a sidebar likely won’t be as effective as a call-to-action because it’s not the website copy your visitors are reading.
Nevertheless, putting links to your pages in a sidebar is a good way to encourage people to check out your other pages. Mariana from Design Your Own Lovely Blog uses her sidebar to direct people to subscribe to her list and to check out other cool features she has to offer.
Interlink Your Posts and Pages
This strategy usually applies to blog posts, but you can use it to move people through your website, too. Interlinking is useful for keeping people on your site longer, helping build trust with you.
It’s pretty simple to employ this strategy. When you write a blog post, all you need to do is link it to a post that covers a related topic. That encourages people to click over to the linked blog post and check it out. Basically, you’re creating your own version a rabbit hole, except it’s full of valuable information and not cute kitten videos.
You can apply this same strategy to your webpages either with or without a call to action. On your About page, you can either tell people “Check out my Services page for more info.” Or you can simply say “My Services page has more details on this.” and leave it at that.
In the first instance, the call-to-action, you’re specifically telling your visitor what to do. In the second instance, you’re simply linking to your other web page and leaving it at that.
I’m a huge fan of linking my blog posts to other posts, as you can see below.
Action Step: Look at the map you outlined and decide how you want to move people from one page to the next.
Don’t forget: when you’re writing the copy for your website, you’re really just creating a journey for your visitors. If you struggle to see how everything connects, go back to your main goal and each of your page goals and go from there.
You’re the author of the Fellowship’s quest, so make it an epic one (No dragons, orcs, or trolls required). With the right goal and the strategically placed directions to get them there, your Fellowship should arrive at Mordor intact (yes, even Boromir!).
Ardelia Lee is a strategic copywriter on a mission to humanize the online business world. She focuses on helping entrepreneurs infuse more of their personality into their content and create deeper connections with their audiences as a result. Wondering what your copywriting personality is? Take The Copywriting Personality Quiz to find out!