When you land on a website that you’ve never been to before, you probably make a series of quick subconscious assessments. Are you where you want to be? Is it easy to find what you're looking for? Do you feel welcome on the site?
Lots of things contribute to a welcoming web experience:
- a clear sense of hierarchy on the page
- a familiar navigation system
- responsive design (especially if you’re accessing the site from a phone)
- aesthetic appeal
- words and message
Now, let’s say you’ve got most of these things down: you just want to brush up your web copy. What can you do to make it more welcoming? Here are a few of tips:
1) Focus on your visitor.
We live in a post-trust culture. People no longer believe you when you tell them your company is the best, the most experienced, and offers services more cheaply than anyone else. So don’t make that your headline. Instead, choose to focus on your visitors. You’ll find this attitude of generosity more fulfilling, and your visitors will feel welcomed by it.
Don’t say this: Sixty-five Years of Experience as the Premier Local Growers in Northern Michigan.
Say this: Are you a landscape architect looking to find just the right plants for a project? Our database searches the inventories of premier growers throughout Northern Michigan so we can help you find just what you’re looking for.
2) Focus on beliefs that you share with your clients.
Again, we live in a post-trust culture. When you say your product is the best, most people won’t believe you. Instead, highlight your “why.” Why do you make your product or sell your service? What are the values that inform your product or service? Use your values to build common ground with your visitors. Simon Sinek says it this way, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe."
Don’t say this: We’ve been rated number one for Landscape Restoration services in the Midwest. We use the most advanced equipment to produce the most satisfactory results.
Say this: We believe that nature deserves respect. The earth takes care of us and our children. Without healthy ecological systems, we’d all be in trouble. That’s why we devote our lives to cultivating and maintaining the land.
3) Keep it scannable and whimsical.
Are you reading this article or are you scanning it? Most people only scan the things they read on the web. By breaking your text down into sections with subheads and lists, you make it easy for people to scan and absorb content. And if your copy is whimsical, they might even have fun while they’re reading.
Do you think that your website needs a dose of welcome? Why don't you head to your home page and ask yourself some questions:
- Do you talk about your "why"? Is it clear what you believe?
- Does your message prioritize potential clients? When you talk about yourself, do you do it in a way that highlights a help or service for the visitor?
- Is your copy easy to scan? Are there long chunks of text that need to be broken up?
- Is it conversational? Whimsical?