Business Start Up Help

Julian Croft

How to write a website header like a copywriting pro (and why you need an awesome one)

Posted by May 20th, 2013

Your header/opening statement is the most important piece of content on your entire site. It creates an impression on your web designer who uses that impression to design your website.

Basically, it’s very important to get it right.

How to write a website header

How your headline affects your design/your designer

Your headline is the first thing anyone looks at, and your designer is aware of this. It’s their job to design something that will effectively support the points you raise in your headline so the more specific and persuasive you can be the easier you make their job. Inspire your designer with your headline and you’ll see that a truly effective design is quickly born.

High quality content + a high quality design = an optimised number of conversions.

How to get your headline right for your website

Writing website content is different to writing for other mediums. You don’t have the privilege of your reader’s undivided attention. You have to earn it every step of the way to stop your audience from clicking the back button (which they will decide to do within 7 seconds).

Additionally, the places where people will see your headline to begin with (social media, email, search engine results) are all places of high competition.

What this all adds up to mean is that you need to 100% make sure that you are communicating your value to give a strong reason for someone to read your page to grab their attention.

How do you do this? Read on…

The 4 steps of writing a strong web page headline

1)    The first 3 words – grab attention

Make sure that your headline starts strongly. Don’t be vague, and don’t try to be super creative with a metaphor or story from the start of your headline (this is likely to confuse). A great way of grabbing attention is to make sure you include a verb in the first 3 words, as this ensures that you are explaining what you are doing, or what your reader is getting.

2)    Clarity

Remember your audience are primarily lazy and rushed. You have to make things easy for them by writing clearly and concisely.

3)    Detailed explanation of value – don’t be too worried about length

Every page on your website should be a step in persuading your reader to take your call to action, so it is vital that you use your headline to explain the value of your call to action. Your headline is likely to be the only piece of content anyone reads, so you need to make it count and make sure that it has enough meat in it to either convince someone to taking your call to action straight away, or persuading them to read a bit deeper.

Don’t be worried that you can’t do this in 3-5 words. On your website you aren’t restricted for space and there is a lot of research to suggest that on the web longer headlines are far better at converting. The best guide for length is to make it as long as necessary to get your point across (but no longer).

4)    SEO

You can’t forget SEO when it comes to web content, but it shouldn’t overpower your readers. Write naturally first, then think about any tweaks that might need to be made to include either your primary keyphrase (if this is a homepage or primary web page) or a longer tail phrase if you are talking about a specific niche or aspect of your services.

The importance of your homepage headline/opening statement

By far the most important piece of text on your whole website is the headline on your homepage. We prefer to think of it as your opening statement – this is the sentence that defines your company and what you offer. It is worth taking some real time to develop this, test it, and make sure it is consistent with your brand.

The points above still stand strong for your opening statement, but doubly so. A weak opening statement will see your website suffer and this is the main landing page that you want to inspire your designer to optimise for you.

If there is one piece of content to get professional help and advice on it’s definitely your opening statement headline.

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Posted in: Marketing | Web Design

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