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Writing Copy That Converts

By Snap Agency June 9, 2016

Writing copy that converts. It’s an art form. Let’s lay out specific steps you can take to persuade consumers to convert on your website pages.

Content Siloing

No one likes a disjointed website – especially search engine crawlers. Google likes a neatly-organized site to produce the most accurate rankings. Siloing your website content will better define your website’s themes and will put you in a good position for higher SERP positions. It’s an advanced topic within the realm of SEO, but we’ll try to present the necessary information as easily and clearly as possible. For an in-depth look (and I mean in-depth), take a look at Bruce Clay’s siloing guide and his diagram below.

content siloing example

Grouping Content – Find Central Themes

When running an ecommerce store, you’ll most likely have a number of products and categories of products. Let’s say you’re selling clothes. You’ll most likely offer products such as shirts, jeans, sunglasses, hats, shoes, etc. Each subset of your clothes products will now be ‘silo-ed’ against the rest.

For example, www.clothingstore.com will have several sub pages (referenced as directories in HTML markup). These are URL examples of how silos would be organized:







When you add additional content, you should categorize it in the appropriate category. The image below lets you visualize how it works. A big part of content siloing is linking. Link all pages in the silos to one another.

If you have the know how, the best place to start when building content silos is through your analytics program and Webmaster Tools. You are most likely already ranking for certain themes and keywords (unless your site is blocking crawlers). Start by exploiting those keywords that are already performing at some level. Check out the “Search Analytics” section by clicking the arrow next to the “Search Traffic” category to get your desired keywords. Sort by whichever metric is most important to you and start building content around the successful ones.

If you’re starting from scratch, you should implement analytics tracking and integrate Webmaster Tools into your website. Decide upon the major themes of your website and list all the desired or needed pages in an excel doc. Organize your content pages into the appropriate categories and you will have your silos.

Landing Page Copywriting

Landing pages are crucial in your quest to dominate search engine rankings.

A landing page is a web page that is disassociated from the main content of your website. So, unless you know the actual URL, the only access to a landing page is through a search engine. The purpose of a landing page is to present actionable content with convincing copy. Normally, a landing page should have a CTA at the appropriate spot (usually at the end, but sometimes in multiple places), to get the user to take action – whether it be filling out a contact form or making a purchase.

Here are the high level copy components of a landing page:

  • The headline
  • The subheader
  • Introductory paragraph
  • Benefits/feature bullet points
  • The form header
  • Call-to-action copy
  • Privacy statements
  • Testimonials (though you don’t write these, they’re part of your copy)

When writing copy for landing pages, you need to be succinct. To the point. A user’s attention span when landing on a page lasts from about 3-5 seconds. If they aren’t engaged right away, they’ll bounce. Capture their attention with large, compelling graphics and headlines. They clicked into your site from the search engine, so there’s a good chance that they know what they’re looking for–you just need to push them in the right direction.

Ecommerce Messaging

To the average Internet user, ecommerce comes off as a dry industry. That’s why you need to humanize your company, writing with a solidified brand voice centered around a congruent message. If you’ve put ROI at the forefront of your ecommerce marketing strategy instead of quality information – well, my friend, you’ve already lost.

Here are some ways to improve your ecommerce messaging:

  • Offer them something they can’t refuse
  • Build friendships
  • Say thank you
  • Retarget appropriately
  • Embrace the holidays
  • Run social tests

Copy that converts and the imagery that accompanies it

When creating your pages and optimizing them for conversion, imagery is also extremely important. Here are some keys to making sure that you’re imagery and your text work hand and hand together to make the most impact.

Block your copy with visual design to lead people deeper and deeper into a page

In this example for the site ‘AWAYfind’ the variant increased sign-ups by 38%. The copy has a second paragraph that is halfway between the size of the headline and the smaller paragraph. Thus after you read the headline you’re likely to take a second to continue reading. in this way it leads people on through the process.

Also, the emphasis within the second paragraph, by bolding certain words, makes it easier to read and know where the writer’s intention to stress a particular point would be.

It’s another way to add a kind of ‘inflection’ to the writing and make it feel more human and more direct. By being more human, direct, and leading people through the page with very clear and stair-stepping visual hierarchy you’re more likely to not lose them.

Use benefit-oriented copy like testimonials and pictures of smiling people together

37Signals had a ‘Highrise’ product and wanted the sign-ups to increase. Of course a go to for making these things happen is a smiling face of someone who benefitted from the product. Accompanying the information about the product they added a photo.

Not only was the image of the girl an improvement, but the synergy between the image and the testimonial oriented, benefit driven copy worked together to spur on people’s imagination.

Use call-to-action buttons that have non-generic copy and are big, and brightly colored

Another place where copy and imagery work hand in hand is call to action buttons. Not only do you want your copy to be specific and value-driven, but you need that button to be big and brightly colored to catch people’s attention.

Here’s an example:

In this situation  the button got bigger, and it was very clear it was a button. It also got very specific with the content on the button. “Get Your FREE Converter,” has a totally different ring to it, than “Download.”

Always vet your call to action buttons by how many sites you could swap out the button text with. Very few? You probably have a winner. You want that text to be the opposite of generic. Do you run a digital marketing company? “Get a free SEO Consultation Today,” or “Get a FREE website consultation now,” might be highly converting buttons.

If these buttons are large and bright (many tests, red tested very well in converting), catch people’s attention and are above the fold, you have a bell-ringer.

Place your call-to-action button towards the top of the content, where people are sure to see it

You can see here, that not only was the next obvious action people would take moved from where it was tucked away, and enlarged, it was moved up in precedent towards the beginning of the page. 31.12% is a pretty significant increase in conversions, and anything done to improve a site that much, should be paid attention to.

It’s best to test key elements of your site with Conversion Optimization Testing

Perhaps you would have never made that mistake, but all of these things require testing. In another instance, an increase of the size of the call-to-action button actually decreased the conversion rate.

Perhaps it just looked spammier, so in the end you want tasteful, legitimate looking visual design without overstepping the bounds of non-spammy design.

Testing in the end, is what can help you hone in on what that means for your particular brand. A couple good testing tools that you can check out are: