067_3 Golden rules for choosing effective words for your website copy

The Goodness Squad Podcast Episode #67

Show Notes:

The words you use on your website are really really important. These rules will help you hone in on the purpose of those words and the solutions you offer to your following.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Your copy is not about you. Stop writing about yourself.

Misty Marsh - DesignedForGoodness.com Tweet


I’m sure you know what the golden rule is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


This is called the golden rule because it applies in almost any situation you can think of. It can help you decide what is right in almost any situation. Today I have three golden rules for you that will help you with your website copy in almost any situation. 

Your website is not about you


RULE #1 - Your copy is not about you. Stop writing about yourself.


I know that this can sound harsh but, I promise, you want the focus of your copy, in every situation, to be your target audience, your followers. In fact, you want to think about just one of those followers and speak directly to them in everything that you write.


One way to do this is, if you've written out your copy, go through it and switch out I, me, my, mine. Switch out those types of words for words like you, your, yours. As often as possible include those words in your website copy.


A second way to do this is to make a statement that's about you actually more about them. So, for example, instead of saying "this is my favorite product," you could say, "here are three ways to use my favorite product." In one, you are serving them. In the other you are simply talking about yourself.


Clarity is best


RULE #2 - Clear is always, always, always better than clever. If being clever makes something unclear then avoid it at all costs.


I learned this from Donald Miller of StoryBrand. I have used it in my own copy and I've learned it from experience.


So how do you make yourself clear? The very first way is to write at a 6th grade reading level. I know that this might seem really young, but it is very effective. The reason is, we are experts in the subject that we are teaching. Oftentimes we explain things at a very high level without even realizing it.


I love Sharon Says So on Instagram, she teaches about government in a very fact-based way.  Many of you probably know her, if you don't, you need to go check out her out. One of the things that I love about her, that is applicable to this podcast episode, is that she explains things like she is speaking to a five-year-old. Her followers will even ask her this. They'll submit a question and they'll say, "I want to know about XYZ. Explain it to me like I'm five."


I know five isn't quite a 6th grader, but if that kind of visual helps you, explain it to them in that way. This will help you to be much more clear in your writing.


Use words they use


RULE #3 - Use the language that your followers actually use.


If you want help for how to find your target audience's language, go back to episode number 66, the previous episode, or all the way back to episode number 37, both of them will help you to find your target audience's language. But if you use the words they use to describe their products, when they find your website, they're going to have thoughts like "It's like, she knows me. How does she know exactly what I was thinking?" That's how you create that on your website.


My very, very favorite tip for keeping things simple is to put your word count on a diet. 


Commercial Break - Kay West | A Worldwide Sisterhood


Today I want to introduce you to one of my very favorite people. Her name is Kay, and she is the founder of A Worldwide Sisterhood. Just from the name of her website you can get a feel of who Kay is.


She truly believes that we, as Latter-day Saint women, are part of a worldwide sisterhood. She works tirelessly to unite us all on that front - to help us learn to love, care for, and support each other as we work towards being more Christ-like. She teaches acceptance, kindness, generosity, and patience. Not only through the things that she actually writes, but through the way in which she lives her life.


She started A Worldwide Sisterhood all by herself but she has since added on a team. Her team members include Rhonda, Renee, and Audra, who happens to be my virtual assistant. Audra has edited this podcast for you and does lots of wonderful things for you here, through Designed For Goodness, but also through A Worldwide Sisterhood.


If you go to the AWS website, it actually says right there at the very top "Believe in Christ. Encourage Always. Lift Everyone. Kay does this in so many ways. She has done this for me  by simply reaching out to me regularly and cheering me on.


One of the things I love most about Kay is that when she comments on your Instagram posts, she doesn't just hit reply and then make a comment. She always uses your name, even if she has to take some time to actually go look up your name because your handle doesn't have your name in it. This is who Kay is. She is very serious about caring about the one and putting them first. So let's hear from her for just a minute.


KAY: Hi, I am Kay West, the founder of A Worldwide Sisterhood, creator of LIFT women's events, and the testimonies of Christ series. I believe in the power of women united in their faith and testimonies of their Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe in sharing as many different voices and as many different testimonies of Christ as possible because I know every testimony of Christ shared is shining His light into the world.


Our products reflect what I believe. We have a wide range of products that we are always adding to, so check back soon and check back often. Our products are different voices and testimonies from women around the world. Our products also help remind you of your beautiful faithful testimony, which strengthens us. And our products allow you to share your testimony of Christ with others.


I believe something remarkable happens when women share their voices and testimonies. I believe in the united goodness of faithful women, who are all a part of this worldwide sisterhood to help gather scattered Israel and bring others to Christ.


We invite contributors to share with us every few months, so sign up for our email. Women from all different backgrounds and seasons of life share their testimonies of Christ with us. My team and I represent Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, China, Samoa, and Germany. With each and every single one of you, we really do represent A Worldwide Sisterhood. I hope you will join us and share your testimony with our community. We need your light and your strength.


MISTY: If you want more from Kay and A Worldwide Sisterhood, you need to visit AWorldwideSisterhood.com or follow them at A Worldwide Sisterhood on Instagram. 


Don't Use So Many Words


When I wrote my very first sales page, I hired a copywriter to help me do so. I didn't want her to just write it for me, so I wrote the entire sales page and then I sent it to her to edit and tweak and help me.


She said, "before you send me your sales page, I want you to write it and then I want you to quite literally go through and cut the words in half. So if you wrote it with a thousand words, I want you to rewrite it in 500 and then send it to me."


I would encourage you to try this trick, try it on your next Instagram post. Try it on any sort of website copy that you're creating an email, a web page, write it out and then go back and cut it in half. It will force you to be much more clear.


Why it needs to be scannable


RULE #3 - Keep it scannable.


Three ways I want you to do this. I want you to keep your sentences short and your paragraphs short. In addition, I want you to use lots of headlines and sub-headlines. I want you to keep your content well-organized into sections with headlines and sub-headlines so that people can easily go through and scan what is on your webpage and decide if they want to read it or not. And last use bullet points, bold, italicize, underlines, but use those things sparingly just to make something very important stand out.


This will make your copy scannable. If it isn't scannable, people decide they don't need it before they even start reading, because it looks overwhelming. It looks time-consuming. But if it is scannable, they'll probably at least start scanning. And if it's something that they are interested in and that they feel would be helpful for them, then they will very likely read the entire thing.


So your three tips are:

  1. Your copy is not about you. Make it about them.
  2. Clear is ALWAYS better than clever.
  3. Keep is scannable


In the next episode


If you found this podcast episode helpful, will you please share it with someone that you know? There are so many Latter-day Saint women out there who have something good to share with the world, but they don't know how to actually be seen online. To have that impact and that influence for good. I want to help them. I feel called to do so, but I need your help to do that. So will you please tell them about The Goodness Squad podcast and send them my way, so that I can help and support them in being seen online.


In the next podcast episode, we are going to be discussing the things that you need to do before you actually start writing the words on your website.

Know someone who could benefit from this episode?  Share it with them!

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