So you’ve decided to build a website for your business? Perhaps you think the way to start is to pick a cool looking template with some awesome fonts and high quality photos.
I’m going to challenge you to not start that way, but instead start with the words that potential customers will read when visiting your website.
Start with content first
If your customers are looking for flashy graphics and cool images, they can go check out the latest Marvel or Star Wars movie. But if they’re coming across your website, they’re likely looking for you to help them with their problem.
Your website should win them over because you’re going to help them, not wow them because you’ve got some cool graphics.
TIP: If you’re revamping your website or starting from scratch, one way to force yourself to focus on content first is to start with a blank text document, such as one in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.
Engaging customers in a story that makes you the Guide instead of the Hero
So if you’re trying to win customers, the best way to do it is by presenting yourself as the hero who will save the day, right?
No, a better way is to position yourself as a guide who helps your potential customer become the hero. This was a paradigm shifting idea I recently learned from Donald Miller of StoryBrand, the creators of the Marketing Made Simple Course.
TIP: In regards to the gutter cleaning business, you can position yourself as a guide who helps homeowners save their homes through preventative maintenance. You can find out more about positioning yourself as the guide by visiting StoryBrand.
Presenting a plan and a clear call to action
Once you’re presenting yourself as a guide, you’ll want to do two things for your potential customer:
- Present a plan.
- Provide a clear call to action.
If you don’t have a plan, then you could lose customers if they don’t see the connection between the problems they have and the solutions you’re providing. And if you don’t have a clear call to action, the customer may not know what to do next.
TIP: Make your plan and call to action as straightforward as possible, with the call to action being the first step of your plan. For gutter cleaning businesses, it’s likely “Get an Estimate”, followed by 2 to 3 more steps.
Optimizing your copy for search engines (SEO)
With all this talk about copywriting, what about SEO, or search engine optimization? Shouldn’t we be focusing on SEO first, making sure we’ve got plenty of keywords to shovel into our pages so we rank high on Google?
No. Here’s why: If you rank #1, but have a sloppy webpage that confuses and loses potential customers, then you’re not .
I suggest instead writing your webpage so that the words themselves are compelling enough to win customers. Content first, SEO second.
“SEO second” means going back through your copy after it’s clear and winsome, and making tweaks to key phrases based on key phrase research.
TIP: Using a tools like trends.google.com or Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest can help you with local key phrase research. For example, you might discover that “downspout cleaning” is more popular than other phrases in your area. Also the free Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress can help you optimize a page for specific key phrases while you’re editing.
Building the page
Next time, I plan to cover how to build a basic gutter cleaning website from scratch using WordPress and the new Block Editor.