It’s your About page – so make it about you!

Did I ever tell you the story behind Trumpet Media? No, well pop the kettle on to discover how I went from a copywriter to a trumpet-blowing copywriter – with no musical instrument required.

It started when I was working with clients on their web content. We’d be sitting having a coffee and a good old natter about their business. They’d be telling me lots of useful stuff to add to their website. They’d be happy, enthusiastic, their eyes shiny and bright. And then I’d ask them for information for their About page. They sat back in their chair. They squirmed. They mumbled something about their CV. They did NOT want to talk about themselves AT ALL.

But this is the bit where you can really connect with the audience, I’d tell them. The bit where you highlight your experience, your talent, your expertise, your passion, your ‘why’. Yeah, they’d say, but it’s just sooooo icky. And then they’d suggest I looked at their LinkedIn profile (I did – it was dire).

What they meant by ‘icky’ was that it was embarrassing. And awkward. That good girls (and it’s mostly women, I’ve found) don’t boast.

Well I’m not having this, I thought. These people should be blowing their own trumpet. And if they REALLY can’t big themselves up, then I will. So I changed my business name to Trumpet Media and got busy with the trumpet blowing.

Don’t write in the third person

Helen is an amazing copywriter.

Yes, she is. I mean – yes, I am.

This is a GREAT example of trumpet-blowing, right. Er, wrong. The purpose of your website is to connect with your audience. And writing in the third person immediately puts a distance between you and your potential customers and clients. It sounds like an agent talking on your behalf and that you’re too busy/can’t be arsed to communicate directly.

Don’t get me wrong. If you’re a large organisation, you might want to talk about yourself differently (though I still think you can loosen up a bit and drop the over-formality). But if you’re Kevin the accountant, why put up a front? Be you, be real, be approachable. Be Kevin.

You’re gushing. Please stop!

Helen is a brilliant copywriter.

Yes, she is. I mean – yes, I am.

Some great trumpet-blowing going on here, yes? Um, no. Helen/I may well be one of the best copywriters you’ve ever come across – but it’s not for Helen/me to say so. Not like that, anyway.

Brilliant. Amazing. Fantastic. These are adjectives that mean nothing. Honestly, would you hire me if I told you I was an awesome copywriter? Doubtful. What about if my About page explained I had over 30 years experience as a writer? More likely.  And how about if there was some evidence to back that up? Very possible.

Trumpet-blowing isn’t about telling people you’re great – it’s about showing it. For a psychotherapist, that may mean adding your qualifications. For a florist, forget the diplomas and tell people what inspires you to create beautiful bouquets.

There’s no formula for your About page. The most important thing is to think about who you want to attract – and what they’d want to know about you.

* Squirming over your About page? Me and my trumpet are ready to help you

PHOTO: Halay Alex/freepik.com

Is your website messier than the January sales?

What have the January sales got to do with bad websites? I’ll tell you. They both leave me confused, irritated and frustrated – and that means I walk away without making a purchase.

Here’s an example. This month I wanted to buy a new dress – a kind of smart-casual number for business meetings. Maybe in orange. Maybe not. I go into a department store confident that they’ll have what I’m looking for. But as soon as I’m in the door, I start to feel stressed. There’s a lot going on – ‘Sale’ signs, ‘Pay here’ signs, sales assistants trying to lure me over to their counter. Frankly, it’s all a bit too in my face and I’m tempted to leave.

Why your Home page is a headache

I often get the same feeling when I land on a Home page. There’s so much going on I’m like a rabbit in headlights. There are sliding banners, gazillions of links, more CTAs than you can shake a stick at plus testimonials that whizz past before you’ve had chance to read them. Just thinking about it is bringing on a headache.

TIP Get focused on your Home page

What you want in a Home page is order and calm. First up, I want to be reassured that I’ve come to the right place – and that means setting out your store. Who are you, what does your business do, how can you help me? A good copywriter will come up with clear and concise content to get those messages across.

Once I’m confident you’ve got what I need, I’d like some help getting to the next stage. Women’s clothes? First floor, madam! I don’t want to be sent on a wild good chase via the ‘Sports’ section and ‘Home appliances’ (no, I’m not going to buy a toaster!). You need to lead your customers to where they want to go quickly and seamlessly too. Otherwise, like me, they’ll be on the elevator heading for the Exit.

Service pages that suck

So I’ve arrived in the department for women’s clothes. But what’s this? Well, I’ll tell you what this is – this is a mess! Clothes crammed so tightly on the rails I can’t see the wood for the trees – or in this case the dresses from the skirts. Shoving everything under the ‘£50 or less’ sale banner isn’t helping. I want a dress. In my size. Maybe in orange but I’m open to options. I’m getting another headache. Is this how your Service pages make people feel?

TIP Sort out your Service pages

Like a department store, you might have a lot of different offerings. Squash them all into one page and you make it hard for people to find exactly what they need – not to mention buggering up the SEO value of using separate key words for separate services.

Say you’re a roofing company. Rather than shoving all your content under ‘Roofing’ you could break it down into ‘flat roofing, ‘pitched roofing’ and ‘green roofing’. Think about what your customers are searching for – then signpost the way there. Once they’re in the right section, THEN you can do a bit of re-routing/cross-selling. As in – ‘Want some guttering with that? Click here.’

De-clutter before your competitors pounce

Did I get that orange dress? No. With all the clutter and confusion, January sales do my head in. I’ll wait until calm is restored in February. I might even end up buying a bag and shoes at the same time (probably not in orange – I mean, I don’t want to look like a giant, walking fruit).

That’s OK for me. But can your business afford to wait for customers to come back? And what if they DON’T come back? What if they clicked on your competitor and discovered a much more user-friendly experience?

* Contact me to get your website in order  

PHOTO: Artem Beliaikin/Pexels

I won’t submit (on your website or mine!)

two cartoon characters hand wrestling

I’ve never been a fan of the Submit button on websites.

I mean, check it out in your thesaurus. ‘Submit’ means capitulate; defer; give in; put up with; yield; surrender. Jeez! Hardly the warm, fuzzy Call to Action (CTA) you’re going for, right?

When I see the word ‘submit’ I always think of wrestling. I grew up in the days of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks – yeah, yeah, I’m old, look them up – and they did their fair share of submitting during their career. For a laugh, on rainy Saturdays me and my two sisters used to recreate their wrestling bouts at home. Well, it started off as a laugh but usually turned pretty vicious – unless it was your turn to be referee.

But it’s not childhood trauma that makes me dislike the ‘submit’ button. The word is so damned cold, harsh, unfriendly and unengaging. Everything you DON’T want your CTA button to be. 

It also doesn’t give you a clue what you’re letting yourself in for. Thing is, you know where you are with online buttons that ask you to ‘Sign up for free monthly tips’ or ‘Register now’ or ‘Join our community’. And doesn’t that sound more friendly and inviting? You can even be a bit playful with your CTA buttons to reflect your brand personality – something I’m personally all for.

Still not convinced? Well check out this Hubspot study that showed people who used ‘submit’ buttons on their website landing page got lower conversion rates than those who had CTA buttons with alternative wording.

Still want your potential clients and customers to submit?

* Want help with some friendly words for your website? Get in touch

PHOTO: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke/Pixabay 

Which comes first – the words or the design?

Close-up of rooster with red crown

I get asked this question all the time – so I’m going to darned well answer it. And a few other web content questions while I’m at it…

Content or design – what needs doing first?
I’ve worked with many lovely web designers. One of their biggest gripes? Twiddling their fingers waiting for the words. Sure, they can make a start on ideas, but until they get the content they can’t really get cracking. And my own gripe? Having my words shoehorned into a design that doesn’t fit. I mean, it’s not the designer’s fault – how were they to know it wasn’t going to work when they didn’t have the words! For the perfect pairing of content and design, chat to your copywriter first. 

How long’s the content going to take?
Good question – and one you should definitely ask because the web designer’s going to need to know too so they can organise their schedule. I usually say around 2-4 weeks. Four weeks? Yep, maybe a month, maybe less. Here’s the thing – do you want it fast or do you want it fabulous? Because I don’t do quickies, I do quality. And any decent copywriter will say the same.

What exactly are you doing in that time?
OK – so here’s how it’s going to go down. First off, I’m going to do a shed load of research. I’ll be checking out your current website, if you have one, your blogs and your social media stuff so I can start building up a picture of your business. I’ll also be getting clued-up on your industry and poking around to see what your competitors are doing.  Then I’ll put together my questions so you can fill in the blanks at our meeting.

Meeting? Now we’re talking!
Yes, well, it’ll be you doing most of the talking. The more you talk, the more I’ll find out about you and your business. I love it when clients are chatty. Once they start nattering, they really open up about their business and end up spilling the kind of interesting detail that sets them apart from the competition.

You mentioned questions…
Yep, I’m really, REALLY big on questions. But don’t worry – it’s not like it’s a test or anything. Most of what I want to know is in your head. If you need to check any facts and figures, you can always email me later. And if you’re a control freak – that’s fine, me too! – I can pop you over the questions before we meet.

That’s useful. And how can I help you?
You’re sweet – thanks for asking. Best thing you can do is keep me in the loop. I once spent AGES on research only to be told by the client at our meeting that, actually, he’d dropped four of his services and was introducing two different ones. Oh, and remember you said you’d get back to me with those last little details? If you could pop them over, ta.

Want to talk web content? I’m all ears.

PHOTO: Moon Bhuyan/Pexels