While strong imagery, straightforward navigation and competitive pricing are all important for any Ecommerce site, written content is still key. If you can’t convince a visitor to become a customer, then all your efforts will be in vain.
The written word is still the most powerful tool available to online businesses. It helps to inform, develop trust and, most importantly, drive sales. Treating it as anything less would be a massive mistake.
There are a few common errors that many sites make when producing their on-page content.
1. Avoid keyword stuffing your content
We all know that search engines use your content to determine where and how you should be ranked. In the past, this meant that many websites filled their pages with keywords, often where they shouldn’t be. That made for some pretty awful content.
Search engines aren’t stupid anymore, and keyword “stuffing” is ineffective. Counter-productive, even. Yet some are still determined to employ outdated tactics. You do still need to have your key terms on the page, that much is true, but you don’t need to have them everywhere. A decade ago people would routinely have a keyword density of 10%+, as this got them rankings. Unfortunately, it also ruined the readability of their pages.
Get your keyword in the title, use it at the start and end of your body copy and wherever else that it makes contextual sense. Endlessly repeating the same few words will be enough to make any visitors turn tail and leave.
2. Don’t write content that’s too short or too long
The way in which you present information is critical. A huge block of text will do little to invite consumers to take a look, whilst a brief snippet is easily ignored. Most visitors won’t read beyond the first paragraph, but that doesn’t mean that your attention should end at the same point.
Provide clear sub-headings and break up the text monotony with bullet points or imagery. Essentially you are looking to convince those with limited attention or time to skim through and still gain all the information they need, whilst also conveying the nuts and bolts in detail to those who need convincing.
3. Avoid basic grammar, syntax and formatting errors in your content
Whilst copywriters will always talk about the need to create flowing, engaging content, your top priority should always be to ensure that there are no glaring errors.
Typos, clunky wording and the occasional grammatical faux pas will always undermine the clarity of your message. They can also cast doubt into the mind of any readers, potentially losing you the sale.
So make sure you get the basics right before worrying about taking your content to the next level. (See: “How To Write Good (For The Interwebs)” – ReferralCandy’s Internal Copyediting Guidelines)
4. Don’t imitate or duplicate your content
Originality is essential for any serious ecommerce site. If you’re passionate about your products, take the time to write about each one. If you copy from other pages or sites, your content will be unavoidably generic. Equally, thanks to the recent Panda update from Google, your search engine rankings could suffer as a consequence, making it difficult for you to attract visitors in the first place.
So what should you be doing to improve your ecommerce content?
Now we’ve covered the mistakes, let’s take a look at what you can actually do to boost sales:
1. Address customers directly in your content
There’s nothing worse than an ecommerce site that only talks about itself – “we offer exceptional value”, “we are market leaders”, “we offer a huge range…” etc. Your customers should be your primary focus, so make sure you address them.
This is easily done, just flip the focus. Instead of “us” and “we”, use “you” and “your”. This will also eliminate any passive sentences, which can neutralise your content and render it impotent.
2. Remember to have strong calls-to-action in your content
A decent piece of sales copy can easily fall flat without a strong call-to-action. This is where passing interest is replaced with an overwhelming desire to buy. Sometimes circumstances will make this much easier. For instance, if you’re having a clearance sale and only have a few products left, this can create a feeling of urgency.
Every page has a purpose; whether you want visitors to buy a product, fill in a contact form or phone your sales team, it’s vital that this is conveyed within the copy. As mentioned earlier, visitors will generally pay more attention to the first and last paragraphs, so your most persuasive argument should be communicated at the beginning or end of your content.
3. Your content has to get to the point
Nobody wants to endure trawling through verbose chunks of text that offer little or no clear information. Whilst you should be looking to have upwards of 200 words on each page, endless padding will do your chances of securing a sale no favors at all.
Get the most important details up front and look to avoid repetition. If a reader feels like they are going around in circles, it’s unlikely that they will want to continue. Short, sharp sentences can help to build pace too, so don’t overload every utterance. Sales patter can often seem quite abrupt, but that is simply the nature of the beast.
4. Your content must cater to your audience
When it comes to knowing who your customers are and what they want, you are the expert. So adopt a tone that will resonate with your target audience.
For instance, content on an extreme sports ecommerce site should be markedly different from one offering children’s clothing. So always keep your intended readers in mind and avoid adopting a “one size fits all” approach.