Over the years, the home pages of many websites have taken on a cleaner, minimalist look. You would have noticed them before, uncluttered home pages, with the background of a single colour or image, with a few words grouped together near the centre or bottom, offering a short and sweet description of the service it promises to deliver, call to action (often, to sign up for a free trial or service).
These home pages are structured to work as landing pages, taking a web user through a much simpler process of becoming a client and thus helping to secure an increased number of conversions.
One thing you need to keep in mind when figuring out how to create a website that truly converts, is the need to provide the right amount of copy on the home page. After all, words are essential tools for giving your audience a gentle, encouraging nudge toward the action you aim for them to take. Too much or too little text on your home page and you risk losing your grip audiences’ interest and missing out on valuable opportunities.
The online reading dilemma
A concern that many marketers have is the fact that today’s web users can be quite finicky about the content they wish to read through to the end. With so much information available online, it takes nothing to scan through a web page and quickly leave the site if they don’t immediately find what they need in the midst of thick blocks of text.
In the same manner, web users struggle with a website that is unable to clearly deliver its message or pinpoint its main thought.
A special formula
The best way to grab and hold readers’ attention is an approach that evenly combines the right information architecture, an effective page layout, and good copy.
As for the length of your copy, there’s really only one answer: Make your copy as short or as long as it needs to be. To determine this, you need to study these four important details:
- What is your home page’s goal?
Is the page meant to rack up sales for a particular product, or to get people to sign up for a course? The kind of persuasion that your copy needs to present will depend ultimately on your particular goal.
The content you need to share with the readers lists the benefits that your specific course or product can provide, and why it should be the solution that they choose instead of the competition.
- Who is your audience and what motivates them?
To effectively sell your product or service, you need to know the people who are most likely to benefit from what you have to offer, and what their key drivers are as a client are. After all, you designed your service/product/workshop to fulfill a specific need. You should have an idea of who needs your offering and what will inspire them to take action on your website. The length and quality of your copy will depend on how you are able to support your audience’s motivations.
- Do you understand your audience and how relevant can you be?
Just because you might be working in a niche or micro niche market, does not guarantee he or she will be interested in your services or products. There are three points to consider when talking about relevance.
Relevance can change, especially over time. Let’s say you are a coach specialising in transition. Copy that speaks to someone looking for a start in their career fresh out of university will have different needs than that of an individual looking to finish full time employment and move into retirement.
What is relevant is in the eye of the beholder. A prospective client maybe looking at one of your workshops but feel they are adept with the specific skills you offer within the workshop and may decide that it is completely irrelevant to his or her current needs.
Lastly, different delivery methods or service/product offerings affect relevance. A client may be interested in a particular topic or issue and want to dive deep into that particular subject. In terms of delivery the client may only be interested in learning more via a face-to-face meeting, not a Skype call or over email.
Your copy may include bullet points stating that no prior experience or specific educational backgrounds are required before clicking the button. Other gates such as payment details could be removed; you could also add information about other people or entities that have tried the service before. What you add in the copy will depend on the potential barriers that your clients could face and how easily you are able to remove them.
- What does your audience know about you?
Your clients have a problem. You offer the solution. But do your clients know that? The amount of copy you put on your homepage can also correspond to what your clients are currently aware of in terms of your business. Simply put, the less they know or understand about you, or relate to you, the more you will have to persuade them to give your product or service a try. And that can affect the length of your homepage copy.
For instance, your prospective client may already know about your product, but not the specific “deal” you offer in your site. He may be aware of what you’re selling, but may not know its right for his or her requirements. Maybe he knows what results he needs, but doesn’t know that your product can deliver it. Perhaps he knows he has a problem, but can’t identify a proper solution. And maybe he knows nothing about you at all, but has a good idea of his own opinions or identity.
Your homepage copy will need to be based on what your audience knows, as the way you structure your content to convince them that you’re coaching is what they need to get them to the place where they want to be.