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Six Tips for Stronger Web Content

How many company websites have you visited recently where the copy (not the headline) impacted you in any way? Do you remember any words, phrases or lasting feelings?

Off the top of my head, I can’t cite one example. Given how much time I spend on a computer “surfing the net,” this is sort of unbelievable but extremely common. After some research on the subject, here are some of my conclusions and a review of the basic tips.

Web copy is often full of glaring mistakes, written in a sterile corporate vernacular, or just plain sloppy. Why is this such a widespread problem? Many reasons, but mostly, businesses don’t spend the extra time or money to really focus on the text. Who can blame them? Usually, the people hired to spend time on the text aren’t always thinking very creatively and haven’t set a working standard. As a result, web design and development take priority, and afterward, words and phrases are sprinkled over the top like black pepper over an ice cream sundae.

Context is everything, that’s why it’s difficult to talk about web copy so broadly. Companies emphasis different voices based on their services. Some stress professionalism, others want to come across as casual and fun, and many others want the middle ground. Nevertheless, here are some basic guidelines that all of them should practice:

1. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t read yourself.
It’s easy to think of the average consumer as a faceless creature, trolling the Internet looking for corporate buzzwords like “synergy” and “core competencies,” etc. The fact is, consumers are people too.

2. Be real
Even the most professional corporation is trying to attract “real people” – most of whom watch prime-time television, eat at McDonald’s when no one’s looking, and do most of their communicating in conversation, casual texting or in blurby e-mails. Confusing buzzwords and lofty speeches are for politicians and crooked car salesmen. Write your copy for decent humans.

3. Be brief. It makes you look confident.
Instead of being long-winded or wordy to impress your target market, do the opposite. Speak confidently and briefly. Bullets and spacing go a long way in this regard. Remember, most people are like you and won’t read all the text. At best, you’ll get a “glance” or even a “browse.” Use this time wisely and build your text like a children’s pop up book.

5. Be distracting
You should always treat your audience like adults. At the same time, most of us would be lying if we said we weren’t addicted to distraction much like the average toddler. Entice and intrigue. Sometimes it’s appropriate to flirt with controversy or the element of surprise. For example, a recent JLB ad reads: “Who do you think you are?” Click it and find our ad for branding. See what I mean? The real test here is whether our actual article is as clever as our banner. Gut check. Other methods involve asking a question or preparing  for what you’re about to tell them. Keep your reader tracking with you as though you were face to face. Bottom line: Creativity is key even in the stuffiest of professions.

6. Tell a story
The most basic business has a story. Take the time to write your story. Literally. Find the guiding principals, dramatic turns and the journey that brought your company where it is now. Use your findings tactfully in your copy and make sure the end result of your web content takes your reader from point A to point B. A being your initial vision and B being their solution.

Taking your Web copy seriously doesn’t mean making it serious.

Some websites will need to lean on a few of the points I mentioned over others. There isn’t a formula, so be creative and concise. Most of your web visitors are there to do research or homework. Surprise them with more. Surprise yourself with the results.


It’s remarkable working with the team that treats your business they would their own with drive, innovation, humility and a shared love of bringing great things to the wonderful Franklin & Nashville community.

 

RED DOG WINE & SPIRITS – Nashville

 

“In the search of looking high and low for a website design firm, we came across JLB. They are now like a part of our family and strive to do all they can to take our sales and growth to a whole new level. We recommend JLB to everyone we come across looking for a solution to their website needs.”

 

Chad, BOWADX – Franklin TN


“JLB has been the driving force  that has launched our company into the media spotlight, gaining us publicity through a broad cross-section of business related media including new apps and interactive activity for our clients. We are moving forward with our second web design with JLB and will continue to make them part of our team.”

 

John, The Perch – Brentwood TN


“I started with JLB when they first opened fifteen years ago, when they redesigned a website for me.  They are my go-to company for anything to do with web sites. These guys are professional, talented, creative and an energetic team. I will always go to JLB first for my web design work. Thanks JLB.”

 

Phyllis, Carneros Winery – Nashville TN


We were having problems with our online brand and digital marketing. JLB was great. Worked through it with us, created an amazing presence and business is great. The staff at JLB is fantastic too. Friendly and always there for you.

 

Life Line Repairs – Nashville TN


I and all of us at Sports & Entertainment Nashville TN have been thrilled with the website you guys did for us, and especially the professional service and communication you guys have shown.

 

Sports and Entertainment – Nashville


We interviewed several web design firms, but found that JLB’s talented team was the most creative, innovative, and professional. Choosing JLB has been a great decision! We are fortunate to have JLB be a part of the BMC Metalwork’s future as we continue to enhance our business.

 

Jimmy, BMC – Franklin TN