“We’re an Essex-based design business, with 15 years’ experience in the industry…”
What do you think of this as an opening line on a website? If you were in need of an Essex-based design business, would you be tempted to read more?
I’ll be honest: I wouldn’t.
For one thing, it’s dull – and I don’t want dullness from a design business. For another, it sounds exactly the same as a LOT of other Essex-based design businesses (yes, even the X-years’ experience in the industry).
Where’s the creativity? Where’s the personality?
That’s often the problem when businesses get too hung up on SEO-friendly copy (search engine optimisation). They use the same keywords, in the same search-engine friendly ways…
…so they all end up sounding the same.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t think about what search engines might find useful as you go about writing your web copy. Just don’t get so obsessed with pleasing Google, that you forget about pleasing potential customers.
SEO is a much-misunderstood topic
Research by Copyblogger shows that “almost 85% of the total factors determining how a web page is ranked are based on things that happen off the page itself”.
Things are always changing in search-engine land, too – so you could find that what used to work, suddenly doesn’t any more.
In other words, you could write SEO-friendly web copy until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t put some regular work in behind the scenes, it won’t matter very much.
Some of that work involves ensuring your website loads quickly, and that it’s mobile-friendly. Other work involves consistently writing content that’s so interesting, entertaining and compelling, other people want to share it.
Quality will always matter most
Use keywords and long-tail phrases by all means (a long-tail phrase is made up of at least three words that are very specific to your product or service). But don’t get too fixated on them.
A good start is to try focusing on what makes you unique first, then weave in some popular keywords and phrases afterwards.
(Hint: uniqueness comes from detail, so try drilling your business down to some customer-focused essentials, such as: what’s the biggest emotional benefit of using your product or service? What can new customers expect when they contact you?)
Focus on results, not experience
A lot of people think highlighting their many years of experience in a particular industry will do the job of selling their business.
But in most cases, it won’t. Not on its own, anyway.
The reason is simple. We all know people who have worked in the same industry for years, and who (whispers) just aren’t very good.
In my former life as an HR Manager, it frustrated me when people were recommended for promotion, just because they’d been with the company for the ‘right’ amount of time. Talent and results should always count for more than plain experience.
To underline my point, I’ve got over 40 years’ experience of trying to get a good night’s sleep. But I still don’t succeed in that as often as I should.
So instead of writing about the years of experience you’ve had, try writing about what it’s taught you. If you really have been in the business for over 15 years, for example, you should have plenty of actual results to showcase. They will help you stand apart from someone who’s only just started out.
(Though from my personal point of view as a customer, most of the time I couldn’t care less about how long someone has worked in their industry. I’m far more concerned about their approach, how they’ll work with me, and what results I can expect).
I know. You are a human, so how could you come across as anything else?
But you’d be surprised how robotic some people can get when they start writing copy, or any kind of business content for that matter. And is there anything more dull than overly formal, overly wordy business content that reads the same as every other website you’ve seen?
Writing only with search engines in mind is sure to distance you from the searchers themselves. Real people who are actively looking for what you do.
So help them choose you over all the others, by creating regular and informative content that fizzes with life.
I'm a friendly and professional writer, reviewer and editor who works with warmth, humour and flexibility.
Creating a schedule can be a difficult task, especially when you're planning for work you're not being paid for - or that nobody is expecting! Here's how to get started on crafting a time plan that will work for you.Read more
Are you reading this over coffee, or maybe as you wait for a late train? Blogging for business is a handy way to keep in regular contact with your followers and show them the human side of your company, but it can be difficult to keep it going once you've started. It's worth it, though - so here are a few tips to keep your blog posts consistent and entertaining.Read more
With a new year on the horizon, why not make a resolution to tell your life story? Committing your personal tales to paper can be a rich and rewarding experience for you to write and others to read...for generations to come. Here's how to get started.Read more
Are you often left with the feeling that you don't quite know enough about all the online tools you can use to promote your business? How about website analytics...shouldn't you be checking them every five minutes just like the experts say? Relax - here's how to take advantage of all the advice available online, by defining exactly what YOU want to know.Read more
Is time getting the better of you? With a growing business, several passion projects on the go, books to read and friends I'd quite like to see, I was starting to feel overwhelmed...until I decided to take a closer look at planning my time more effectively. Here's how you can do the same.Read more
BOO! Like a ripe pumpkin Hallowe'en has rolled around yet again, so what better time to extol the benefits of ghostwriting, definitely not just the province of bargain-bin bound celebrities.Read more
An encounter with a corporate headhunter made me question my career - why was I still doing something I didn't love? Here's how I formulated my corporate escape plan and found a career I truly enjoy.Read more
Going it alone, releasing yourself from the shackles of a traditional nine-to-five, is exhilarating. It's also incredibly scary! To celebrate my first quarter-year in business, here are some of the most important lessons I've learned from the front line.Read more
Regular blog posts - especially if you run a business - can drastically increase your following, as well as helping you beat the competition by describing how you do things your way. Read on for a few more great reasons why you should join the blogging revolution!Read more