Many small business owners are facing the same problem.

They’ve spent good money to have someone design their websites for them. And when the sites go live, they’ve got all the bells and whistles for a great user experience (UX):

  • They’re easy to navigate.
  • They’ve got video and a streaming banner.
  • They’ve attractive color schemes that hit the right tones.
  • There are professional photos and beautiful graphics in all the right places.

They’ve got everything you could want in a small business website except one… visitors.

Do you wish more people would visit your website? Do you want more visitors to check out your newsletter, or download a brochure, or purchase your product or service?

Of course you do!

But here’s the problem: Too many well-intentioned small business owners get themselves a shiny new website… and that’s where it ends.

They forget (or haven’t been told) that a significant part of the overall UX is the words on the screen.

And that’s why you need a professional copywriter to write your small business website.

User Interface is Only Half the UX Story

According to PRNewswire, “research shows that every $1 that businesses invest in user experience design can cultivate a return on investment of up to $100 or more.”

Nothing wrong there except that user experience “design” is too often equated with making a website visually appealing… attractive… pretty.

Antique book open to a blank page

Great websites without great words are like attractive books with blank pages.

Remember being taught not to judge a book by its cover?

Small business owners, with their sleek small business websites but too few visitors, have great covers. What they don’t have are great words. And without great words… well, that’s like an attractively bound book full of blank pages.

UX that doesn’t consider what visitors are reading is missing a huge opportunity to create more traffic and conversions.

Brigid Kaye, partner at Creative Characters in Philadelphia, PA, says it best:

What most people do not know is that content, writing, is part of the design of a site and plays an integral role in how the site is perceived by visitors; i.e., the user experience.

Professional Copywriters Understand Perception

Anyone who’s ever seen an optical illusion knows perception is a funny thing. Not everyone sees the same thing even though they’re looking at the same thing.

Likewise, how someone will perceive a message and then react to it isn’t always certain. Even so, we know enough about human behavior, language, and the possible associations words can have to choose them carefully.

Penrose triangle optical illusion

Professional copywriters can shape perceptions with strategically chosen words.

A professional copywriter is an expert at choosing the right words.

A copywriter who knows what she is doing can select the right words and use them to shape perceptions and elicit the desired action.

Let’s look at an example of a call to action you might find on a financial services website:

Sign-up now for our newsletter and you’ll learn the latest information about the hottest stocks in which to invest your money.

You can also buy our 1,001 Ways to Lower Your Taxes the Legal Way for the low price of $19.99. Just complete the order form and submit it with your check.

But you need to order before the February deadline to get this price.

Let’s check out the words and the possible reactions of a reader:

  • Sign-up: This sounds like a commitment. What am I going to have to do? What information are they going to want? How long is this going to take?
  • Learn: That sounds hard. I don’t have the time.
  • Invest: Uh oh. I work too hard to risk losing my money.
  • Buy: They want me to turn over my hard-earned money. What if it’s not worth it?
  • Complete: This sounds like more work. What more do they want?
  • Submit: What’s the process and how much more of my time do I have to sacrifice?
  • But: This is as bad as saying “no.” (My reaction.)

It doesn’t matter how fleeting or conscious these thoughts and the emotions that accompany them are. Like a bad first impression, the damage is done. To the reader this call to action demands a lot of effort, and what they’re offering isn’t worth it.

How might a professional copywriter write this call to action? Here’s one of many possibilities:

Check out our newsletter and you’ll get expert insight into the market so you can discover how to earn more for your money. We reveal the hottest stocks and share the latest industry news so you can create a financial plan that works for you.

When you do, we’ll reserve a copy of 1,001 Ways to Lower Your Taxes the Legal Way just for you.

This book, exclusive to new members, reveals secrets and advice from seasoned tax professionals—many who have worked for the IRS—about how to lower your tax bill and maximize your refund.

Claim your copy for just $19.99 before the deadline and be ready for tax season!

Better, right? These words are so optimistic it makes you want to share the joy and adopt a puppy.

Words like check out, get, and share pose no threat, require no commitment, and present no risk.

Other words like discover, reveal, and create are exciting. They suggest things that are new and desirable.

The last paragraph uses words like exclusive and are meant to make the reader feel special (we all want to feel special.) Secrets and advice from seasoned tax professionals offer limited access to precious information.

The words used in the second example completely change a reader’s perception of what he’s asked to do and, in this case, make him more likely to do it.

What About SEO?

Too many people believe that SEO is only about good coding, backlinks, mobile friendliness, and the like. Even the reputable Forbes magazine talks in terms of backend technology when it comes to a successful SEO strategy.

An SEO mind map with eight branching ideas

Forget SEO includes more than the backend, and you hamstring your strategy.

According to Forbes author, Allison Bowlus, SEO includes giving attention to items like optimal web code, fast loading speed, high-quality backlinks, and keyword research and implementation.

Hmmm… keyword research and implementation.

That sounds like it might include some writing.

Professional Copywriters Know SEO

A professional copywriter will not only be able to perform keyword research, but also implement those keywords in ways that maximize your overall SEO strategy.

We all know Google’s algorithms change more often than gas prices. Still, there are some rules. And while they may not be written in stone, they’re at least written with a Sharpie marker.

For example, did you know that the importance of keywords isn’t simply finding which words and phrases are popular search terms? It’s also about where those keywords appear on your website and its various pages:

  • headlines
  • crossheads
  • first sentence of paragraphs
  • image captions
  • meta-descriptions
  • tags

Of course, you also want keywords in your content, but that can be tricky. By now most people know you risk getting on Google’s bad side if you stuff your content with keywords.

Professional copywriters can seamlessly weave keywords into a piece of online writing without straining visitors’ understanding or tolerance for bad grammar.

They also know the importance and benefits of writing for readers and not machines. Benefits like repeat visitors who become loyal readers who turn into customers.

Small Business Websites Need a Constant Stream of High-Quality Content

To be fair, in her Forbes article Ms. Bowlus does list creating quality content as #8 (too low) in her list of 10 key steps to building a small business website. But even then, there is no guidance given about how exactly someone is supposed to do that… assuming they had the time to do it.

However, you have no need to fear… a professional copywriter lives, breathes, and makes a living writing high-quality content.

But before I talk about writing content, we first need to define “high quality.”

Content is words on a page… anyone who can use a keyboard can produce content. High-quality content is a completely different animal, and not everyone can write to the standard required of business and readers.

Of course, you want all your business content to be high-quality, but the high-quality content of the type I’m discussing here is typically found in blogs. It’s often referred to as “content marketing,” and it serves a purpose beyond boosting the writer’s ego for every like she gets.

People Read Blogs for ONE Reason

People will only read a blog if the information is somehow important and useful to them.

A good blog, a successful blog, answers for its readers the questions they want to ask.

To deliver this type of content, a professional copywriter will research his audience. He’ll:

Male researcher consulting a laptop and taking notes with pen and paper

A professional copywriter will research his audience and write to their needs.

  • Search for available demographic information about his audience and use it to make some educated guesses about who they are.
  • Find where his readers hang out online and read what they say and how they say it so he can use their language.
  • Discover what’s important to them from what they comment on and complain about.
  • Read what his readers read—journals, newsletter, magazines, and websites.
  • Conduct his own surveys and directly ask readers what they want.

Now that you know why you need a professional copywriter, I’ll give you some pointers in a future article about how to hire one.

 

Have you used a professional copywriter in your business? Join the conversation and tell us what your experience was like. Share your comments in the box below.

 

Image credits

  • Featured image: rawpixel from Pixabay
  • Empty book: Pezibear from Pixabay
  • Penrose triangle: Gordon Johnson from Pixabay
  • SEO mind map: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
  • Researcher: StockSnap from Pixabay