- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 01/7/2009
- Writing for the Web
Copywriting for your website begins at the very top of your virtual page. Copywriters like to say, “The most valuable real estate on the Internet is the top of your page — what you see before you scroll down.” Your top-of-page copy is what visitors — and search engines — read first. So these few pixels will influence your conversion rates, traffic, search engine visits and ultimately sales success. But so many websites have a meaningless graphic on the top of their pages. Sometimes we see a row of color or pattern without a word. Sometimes we see a picture of a sunset or a beautiful landscape. Sometimes we see a logo that’s doesn’t give us a clue about the business. It’s like taking a piece of waterfront property and building a windowless shack. You’ve actually decreased your real estate values. What goes up there? Ideally, use your most powerful headline. For example, you might offer a promise. “Give me 3 weeks and you will feel more energized than you’ve been since you were a teenager.” Some markets respond to a stronger pitch. “Are you losing $500 a year because you chose the wrong insurance company?”
For many markets, the news format works best. “New dog training techniqu
e ends jumping and pulling in 5 days — and your dog thinks it’s a game!” These examples aren’t great (although I rather like the last one). But they’re better than a meaningless image or a beautiful sunset. Sometimes you need images or before-and-after pictures to illustrate your services. A real estate agent sells houses so why not show photos of houses? A weight loss expert shows a person morphing from fat to thin – why not? These images will help you promote your services but I wouldn’t put them right on top. Give readers a context first. When visitors land on your page, they need to know what you do. A photo of nice houses might mean you are a real estate agent, home stager, house painter, residential mortgage broker, or some category of service I’ve never heard of. Use meaningful images that communicate messages immediately. Your logo or company name can go in the upper left corner — if it communicates your message. A business name like “Jane Smith Associates” won’t be helpful. A logo showing a collection of arrows pointing in multiple directions could be anything from a consulting firm promising a new vision to an archery store.
Include before-and-after photos in the text. But don’t use graphics that overpower the copy. Make sure your readers get the message you want to send them as they view the sequence.