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Why your website copy matters

Getting started writing website copy.
Image by Bongkarn Thanyakij via Pexels

Creating a website for your small business can be pretty daunting. If you’re doing it yourself you need to decide which platform to use and how to make it all look great. If you’re not, there are loads of different professionals out there who will build it for you, but which do you choose? Even businesses who employ web designers to create their site for them often decide to write the website copy themselves. After all, how hard can it be? Or how important is it really? Here’s why your website copy matters and why you need to get it right.

You need to talk to your ideal customers

When a new visitor lands on your site you have less than 15 seconds to show them they’re in the right place because you have what they need. That means it isn’t about you. It also means that you need to use language and images that speak directly to the kind of customer you can help. I know that small business owners are sometimes reluctant to do this. They worry that they’re excluding people. The truth is, if your website tries to talk to everyone you don’t hit the mark with anyone. When you’re specific about who your products and services are for you’ll get customers who love what you do and that you’ll enjoy working with.

You need to sound like you

Your website copy will work better if it’s in your voice. OK, maybe a polished version of your voice. Your personality might be the difference between a website visitor choosing you or someone else. The way you do this in practice depends on how you work. You might want to sound professional and approachable, completely down to earth or a total eccentric. It all depends on your brand and how you want to come across. It’s especially important if your service means they’ll deal with you one to one. If there’s a massive disconnect between how you come across on your website and the way you are in person you can lose the trust you’ve spent time building.

Using keywords well

I know we’ve all heard about SEO and the importance of targeting the right keywords so you get found in searches. The thing is, the way you use keywords in your writing is really important. There’s no point using all the right keywords to bring people to your website if the site itself is unreadable twaddle. There used to be a school of thought that website traffic was the only important thing. It resulted in lots of blog posts and website pages that made no sense. Thankfully, times have changed and Google now prioritises content that’s actually useful. Your website copy should include keywords but the most important thing is that it’s easy to read and helpful.

Focus on what’s important

As I said before, your website isn’t about you. It’s really about your customers. You might be incredibly excited about the new product or service you’ve created and want to tell everyone. That’s great, but you need to pause. Ask yourself what your customer will get out of this. What are the benefits? How will it help them go from having a problem to an easy life? Your copy needs to show them that. It needs to take their aspirations, values and beliefs about themselves and wrap it all up in one clear message. When you can do that, you show them that you understand them on a personal level. That’s what turns them into customers.

Does that sound complicated? If you need some help, get in touch. I can help you edit what you already have or write your website copy for you. Alternatively, sign up to my mailing list for handy hints and tips straight to your inbox every month.

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Networking: The business resource that keeps on giving

Networking - you are not alone

I’ve been thinking about the resources I use in my business a lot recently, trying to work out what’s working and what isn’t. I keep coming back to networking, mainly because business is often about who you know and partly because there are so many options. As I mentioned in this blog I’ve found that paid networking events have given me more solid relationships than free ones. But then I talk to other business owners and realise that not all networking is created equal. It got me wondering about the kind of networking I do and why it works for me.

Timing

There are so many networking event that you could feasibly spend all your time going to them, but you wouldn’t get much work done. The demands of family life rule out both breakfast and evening networking events for me which helps me narrow them down.

It means that I only go to daytime events, which has a massive impact on the kind of people I meet. They’re often senior employees of larger businesses, which usually means they have money to spend. (Yes, I’m totally capable of being mercenary.) I’ve also met people who’ve built up their side hustle or who threw themselves in at the deep end like me.

Connecting with people

Building a business is about creating relationships. Some of the people I’ve met networking have become customers, but others have become my unofficial ambassadors in their own networks.

My main networking group is women only and hugely supportive in lots of different ways. There’s always a listening ear and great advice. While approaches differ between business owners and employees, there’s still one common thread. We all promote each other, even though that’s not a requirement of membership. My network has widened because we mention each other on social media and attend each other’s events.

Follow up

My favourite networking groups have become my favourites because they make it easy to build relationships. I’ve no problem with making the time to follow up with new contacts individually, but it’s easy for your email (or theirs) to get lost in the midst of a heaving inbox.

While social media can be equally busy, the memberships with Facebook groups have brought more lasting relationships. Other members ask questions or share their content and the hive mind gets to work. People don’t just learn what you’re about in a chat over lunch, they see reminders all the time.

Other networking groups

I often turn down events because they don’t fit with my schedule or my budget. But I’ve also said no without really understanding why. I look at some of the people I’ve met over the years and marvel at the connections they have and the events they’re invited to. Often the only difference between us is that they’ve been in business for longer and have more contacts.

Yet sometimes I think I hold myself back through fear. What if they’re just better than me? Maybe they’re ‘proper’ business owners and I’m just someone who’s going to be found out one day? I think it’s something I need to address.

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this, it’s to look at the events you’re going to (or not going to). Are they the right ones for you? Is avoiding some holding you back? The reason I tell you this story is not because I have a networking event to sell (I don’t), but because I hope it’ll help. It’s also because being honest and sharing my story has helped me to build my business and meet some amazing people along the way.

If you want some help sharing your story in the right way, just get in touch.

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Where do you need to spend money in your business?

Spend money in your business - image shows woman at laptop with credit card.
Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.com

Let’s face it, when you’re a brand new start up it’s unlikely that you’ll be rolling in spare cash. Unless you’ve got a trust fund or have managed to attract a massive investment, there are going to be areas where you need to economise.  That doesn’t mean cutting corners. There are lots of free resources that you can use to build your business (I wrote about some of them here) and they can be amazing. Even if you’ve been in business for years prioritising your spending is hugely important. But if you’ve just started your business and are taking a DIY approach to things, there are still times when you need to spend money. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Coaching

Getting the right coaching has transformed my business. It’s helped me to set goals and learn what’s getting in the way of me reaching them. (Sometimes it’s my own brain.) It’s something that I couldn’t do by myself, so it’s been worth the money. I’m not going to tell you what kind of coach to choose as what works for me could be completely irritating to you. You can find everything from spiritual guidance to coaches who’ll create your business plan for you and everything in between. My coach never tells me what I ‘should’ do (which is good because I’m deeply stubborn). She challenges me and asks great questions which let me uncover what’s actually going on.

Training

Generally speaking, when you spend money to learn a specific skill it’s because the person offering it has invested time and money in knowing their stuff. It also means that you can ask questions if you need to. YouTube tutorials are great for smaller stuff but they won’t give you feedback if you get stuck. There’s also the fact that you’re fishing around to find what you need. There’s no-one to tell you if you’ve missed something important.

Of course, there could be things that you need to learn but where you don’t have the budget for one to one training. Online training and books can give you well organised, useful information for a fraction of the cost.

Branding

I hesitated over including this. Branding is important for building your profile but a full branding package can cost you serious money. You may not have that to spare when you first start and I’m not convinced that it’s always necessary.

If you’ve got a clear idea about who your customer is and how you want to be presented the right designer can work with you to create a logo and images to get you started. You can always change things later. It’s also worth investing in a few good quality photos that are unique to you. I asked a student friend to do mine – I saved some money and she got new shots for her portfolio.

Networking

When you get together with other business owners you create relationships that help you in all kinds of ways. I’ve experienced a definite difference between free and paid events. It could be because people who’ve paid want to get the best out of their sessions. In some cases a paid membership means that you need to attend regularly to get the most from it so you build better relationships. Maybe everyone’s just in it for a decent lunch! All I can say is that the people I’ve met at paid events are the ones who’ve turned into friends and supporters along the way.

So, where do you spend money in your business? Let me know in the comments.

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Resources

Need some blog writing training? Find out more about my 121 and small group sessions here.

My no-nonsense, stubbornness defying coach is Jo Lee at Life Atlas Coaching.

If you’re a woman in business check out the Love Ladies Business Group for networking throughout the Midlands and in London.