I spend a huge chunk of my week reviewing website copy (usually) for small service-based businesses that are in the process of getting a new website.
I've seen every mistake in the book (easy mistakes to make when you're not a trained copywriter).
So, I decided to share them in the hope you're inspired to avoid them!
1) No headline on the homepage.
2) A 'clever' headline that confuses the reader and does nothing to show what the business does and who they help.
3) No benefit led sub-heading on the homepage (missing a huge opportunity here).
4) Not making it immediately obvious what problem the business solves.
5) Not making it immediately obvious what solution the business offers.
6) Not giving website visitors a clear, consistent and COMPELLING call-to-action throughout the copy.
7) Boring subheadings (get creative and add some intrigue, please!).
8) Not overcoming objections/clearing up common misunderstandings.
9) Boring About pages.
10) About pages that forget to highlight the businesses USP.
11) No clear and compelling call to action on the about page.
12) No FAQ page (missing a trick there!)
13) No clarity between the sections (just repeating the same boring stuff without a well-defined structure to the points raised).
14) Not using the contrast principle (using contrast between sections keeps people on the website and engaged).
15) No personality.
16) Not enough text.
17) Too much text.
18) Not splitting up long chunks of text with subheadings.
19) Boring contact pages (another huge missed opportunity to give your visitors one final push to make an enquiry).
20) Being shy with your achievements (shout loud and proud about your skills, experience and qualifications. If you don't, who else will?!)
21) Focusing on the features instead of leading with the benefits.
22) Focusing on the benefits and forgetting to cover the features!! (Remember to add "What You Get" and "How it Works" sections).
23) Introducing the homepage with bullet points. I prefer a nice meaty paragraph to really draw the reader in.
24) Technical jargon that no one understands but the business owner.
25) The wrong tone, for example, a corporate tone for a personal brand.
26) Not using contractions (you're, it's, don't) which usually read better than the full words.
27) Not repeating the call to action enough (keep sticking it in there!).
28) Not making good use of adjectives (describing words that help the reader visualise things).
29) Starting sentences with "I" or "We". It's ok to use the first person sometimes, but try switching the sentence around so you don't start it with "I" or "We".
30) Starting HEADLINES with "I" or "We" is a big NO (in my personal opinion).
31) Burying your USP on the about page. I've seen this quite a few times - the big juicy thing that differentiates your business is hidden three-quarters of the way down the about page.
32) No thought of keywords (if SEO is a priority).
33) Keyword stuffing (although, to be fair, I've only seen this a couple of times).
34) Spelling mistakes (get a proofreader).
35) Really bad grammar (doesn't need to be perfect old school or anything, but you've got to get the basics right).
36) Page headlines that are too long (you can say a lot in just a few words)
37) Forgetting to add your brand values. Not just to "tick a box" but to really show people what your business passionately believes.
38) Not showing empathy. All businesses can show a bit of empathy for their customers, admittedly some more than others.
39) Not using second-person pronouns enough (you, your, you're).
40) Sentences that are too short with not enough details in them (details sell).
41) Sentences that are too long (no one wants to read a never-ending sentence).
42) Very long paragraphs (Short paragraphs are better for mobile, and since most users are on mobile these days, it's better to write with this in mind).
Woohoo!! I made it to 42 ✍️?
If you enjoyed reading this, come and say hi to me on LinkedIn
Hannah Gibson, PhD
Learn to write lead generating sales copy
Owner at Gibson Copy Ltd