You’ve got less than 3 seconds to make a first impression online.
Is your website turning would-be customers away without you even knowing it?
Your site and the words you use — your copy — could either be making you money or costing you big time.
I invited copywriting pro Laura Belgray on the show to do some live “copy audits” of listeners’ sites.
Laura is a professional copywriter with nearly 20 years of experience. During this time, she has written everything from TV promos, launch campaigns, online content, and tons more.
She is also the co-creator of The Copy Cure, an online copywriting course with Marie Forleo to help you “write like you talk and make people love and buy what you sell.”
In this episode, we check out the sites from our brave volunteers and critique their language and structure. We looked at sites in e-commerce, service businesses, and blogs.
Listen in for some common mistakes that could be killing your conversion rates along with Laura’s copywriting tips for compelling lead magnet offers and taglines.
I’m confident you’ll get a ton of value from listening in on these website reviews and have some homework to go home and implement on your own site right away.
(Screen shots and summaries of our comments are below.)
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- Some of the common copywriting mistakes Laura found on the listener sites.
- How to write compelling copy for opt-in lead magnets.
- Why it’s important to have a call-to-action or opt-in above the fold.
- What you should be doing to help visitors navigate your site easier.
- Why “Conversational is the new professional” and how to write in a conversational tone.
- Laura’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.
- Laura’s 60-Minute Copywriting Mini Course
- Hello Bar (I use the Sumo version called SmartBar)
- Optin Monster
- Seth Godin’s blog
- Apartment Therapy
- ProBlogger (cool example of great category pages)
- Story Brand
- What WP Theme is That
The Sites We Reviewed:
The first thing Laura recommended was adding an opt-in offer to get customers on an email list. “Email is the most powerful tool of all social media for marketing,” she said.
Some sort of offer like free shipping or a discount is the best way to get their attention. “Something big and bold,” usually converts well Laura said, and it’s important to have it near the top of page or above the fold.
Laura uses Optin Monster on her own site and uses their Welcome Mat pop up, this allows you to keep scrolling while it’s on the screen.
She also noticed Michael has some of his Instagram images on the home page linking out to their Instagram account. Laura recommended taking the links out, he should be linking into your site and keeping customers there.
- Add a welcome mat/pop up above the fold.
- Collect emails in exchange for discounts.
- Don’t link out to other sites on the homepage, even your own social media accounts.
Looking at Liz’s site, Laura said she noticed the nice slider first, but it wasn’t obvious who the site is for or what they offer.
She suggested adding a tagline in the header image telling people what the site is and who it’s aimed at.
After discovering more about the site Laura came up with some taglines Liz might like, “Plastic bags are trashy,” “plastic bags were never cool anyway,” or “Trash waste, not the planet.”
There is an email opt-in form right at the bottom of the page. Laura suggested using a click-to-popup form above the fold to collect emails, and not to ask for people’s last names when they opt-in.
Looking at the content on the homepage Laura said Liz should increase the font to make it easier to read. As well as making one bold statement about the site, then directing customers what to do next.
- Add a tagline with the header to make it clear who the site is for.
- Change the opt-in form to a popup above the fold.
- Increase the font size and make bold statements.
Parcel Sentinel is a clean e-commerce site that sells a self-locking storage box for package deliveries. Ben has a good tagline at the top of his site that says, “Is the package you are expecting safe on your porch?”
Laura said he should use contractions to make his copy more conversational, so it should read, “Is the package you’re expecting safe on your porch?”
“Conversational is the new professional,” Laura said.
Ben also needs to update his copyright date from 2014 to 2018, and Laura said he should try moving some of the pain points he addresses higher on his page. People want to see benefits of products first, not features.
- Update copyright date.
- Move benefits above features.
- Use contractions for a conversational tone.
The message of what this site does was not clear enough for Laura to know what they are offering.
Looking at it as a resource to help people hold workshops, Laura said Michael could try a tagline that explains their services better, like, “Create and host your first live event, we’ll show you how.”
The opt-in was buried at the bottom of the site too. She suggested they bring the opt-in to the top and offer a free resource to improve conversions.
There is a note in the footer about the site having 70,000+ of fans. This can be good social proof but needs to be explained better. Where are the fans? Are they people that have been helped by the site?
- Add an opt-in near the top with a lead magnet.
- Add a clearer tagline and message for the site.
- Tidy up the footer information.
uPivot.co (no longer active)
Laura said the message of the site is not clear when she first landed on it. Is it training for people interested in learning about cybersecurity, or is this for people who are already trained in cybersecurity and are looking for a job?
She suggested a tagline like, “Trained in cybersecurity and can’t break into the field? We’ll help.”
The current tagline says, “Chat with a cybersecurity pro now,” which sounds more like tech support for when your computer is acting up. Laura said Patricia should change that to a uPivot Pro to put the emphasis on the team and what they do, not the industry.
She said they should add some copy near the top of the page to get the visitor excited about the service. Remind them why it’s worth it and why they should work with uPivot, also moving a testimonial to the top and adding some social proof will help conversions.
- Make the offer and company message clearer.
- Add a testimonial and social proof to the top of the page.
This site is in need of a major remodel. The white text on a black background is a very dated color theme, and the images were not clear enough.
This is a small business site for a recessed lighting specialist. So, the images of the work should be very well lit and high-quality to showcase some of their work.
Laura also didn’t like the tagline “It’s cheaper than you think.” “Cheaper” isn’t a good word and you risk giving the impression that the quality of work might look cheap.
She recommended checking out some home décor sites for layout ideas. If you see a site you like, you can use WhatWPThemeisThat.com to find out what theme they are using and copy the layout.
- Perform a site overall on the design.
- Upload high-quality images.
Laura really liked the look of this site and the image does a great job of showing what the site is about, although the picture was a little pixelated for us.
She said Jen should think about adding a call-to-action and an opt-in at the top of the page to help direct people where to start.
The opt-in that’s lower down on the page offers way too much as a lead magnet too. It’s a bit overwhelming. Laura said to simplify this with one offer, and consider laying out the over offers below for people to click through to other pages.
- Add a call-to-action button.
- Simplify the opt-in offer(s).
- Send people to different landing pages depending on what they’re looking for.
Laura said this site makes it pretty clear what they do, assuming you found the site because you know what STEM is of course (science, technology, engineering, and math).
The images are not the clearest though. The main image looks a little old-fashioned, and the cartoon imagery throughout makes it confusing which age group the site is aimed at.
Ash should offer something more compelling as an opt-in too. Something to hook the visitor in like, “5 great STEM careers you didn’t know existed,” Laura said.
We both loved the great social proof section.
- Make it clearer which age group the site is for.
- Add a more compelling opt-in offer.
Yeah, I asked Laura what she thought of Side Hustle Nation…
She pointed out that my font doesn’t stand out against the brick on the home page image, and she said the font itself wasn’t quite “Comic Sans” but in the same family.
She liked the call-to-action on the homepage and the Join The Nation! Page. On that page she pointed out that the button could be higher up as a lot of visitors will know what a side hustle is and want to get to the point quicker.
She also said I could use more images and names of past guests on the show that people might know and catch their eye.
- Move the call-to-action higher up on the Join page.
- Rethink the structure of the below-the-fold content.
- Consider a more prominent opt-in offer.
A huge thank you to all our volunteers!
More From Laura
Want more Laura? Check her out at TalkingShrimp.com and be sure to check out her free download, 5 Secrets to Non-Sucky Copy.
2 thoughts on “283: Your Copy Sucks! Website Reviews from a Professional Copywriter”
Laura- love the critiques, very insightful.
Nick – Thanks for intoducing us to Laura, but you should know your link does not work for http://www.whatwpthemeisthat.com. The link goes to a 404 page through SidehustleNation.com
Thanks Lori — fixed now!