Why Website Copy is as Important as Design (and how to write it)

Sometimes, the job of writing copy takes a backseat to website design. 

Maybe it’s because they’re often completed by a different set of professionals. Or maybe it’s because website design feels like the structure and copy more like the decoration, to be hung and placed only after the site is built. 

But when it comes to the job of attracting visitors to your business and converting them to customers, copy is equally important as color schemes and button placement. 

That’s why we believe the best websites have considered copy and design in equal measure. (It’s also why we offer both design and copywriting services in-house). 

Here are five reasons why copy is as important as design and five tips you can apply to your own website copy.

Why website copy is as important as design

1. Copy Sells

Excellent design makes people look. It can divert precious attention from the thousand other things fighting for it. 

But it can rarely sell. 

At least not on it’s own. Copy will educate your audience. It will help them understand why they have the pain they do and tell them how you can fix it. 

2. Copy filters your audience

It would be great if every person attracted by an image on your site was an ideal customer ready to buy. 

Unfortunately, they are not. 

When done right, website copy will quickly tell your visitors that this is the place for them. Or that it’s not.

In short, your copy qualifies website traffic so only the right people enter your sales funnel. 

3. Copy converts

What do you want someone to do next? Set up a call? Read another article? Register for your webinar?

A call to action (CTA) directly invites your audience to take these steps. 

It might just be the most important part of any webpage. And it’s driven by good copy.

4. Copy explains your unique value

The value you provide your customers is unique. You solve their problems faster, or cheaper, or in ways they’ve never even dreamed of.

Copy is what exposes your superpowers to the people that benefit from them the most.  

5. Copy establishes your brand voice

Ever been to a website and just felt comfortable? Like, these are my people. 

When it’s written with the reader in mind, website copy will establish your brand voice. And your ideal customer will become part of your community.  

How to write website copy that converts

There are shelves of books and thousands of articles written on the topic of conversion copywriting. We can’t cover it all in one post.

But we can provide a five-point checklist. Run your copy through these action points and your site will be converting like crazy. 

1. Be clear. Then be concise. Then be clever. And then you’ll be persuasive.

It’s easy to get caught up writing alliterative three-word phrases that sound really cool. But if your landing page copy is clever at the expense of clarity, people won’t know what you do and you’ll lose sales.

When reviewing your copy, remember these rules:

  1. Copy should be clear
  2. Copy should be concise as long as it’s still clear
  3. Copy should be clever but only if it’s still concise and clear 

2. Increase conversions with a clear, safe call to action

Whether you’re selling paper towels or enterprise accounting software, your customers will go through a journey on your website.

Your CTAs are how you invite them to the next stage of that journey.

There are two things your customers need from those CTAs:

  • They need to know exactly what will happen when they take action
  • They need to know it’s safe to take the next step

Let’s say you sell that accounting software and you offer a free trial.

Your CTA copy could state ‘start your free trial now.’

But that’s not terribly specific nor does it satisfy the human requirement for safety.

Instead, you might try ‘start your 14-day trial now. No credit card needed.’

Now I know exactly what I’m getting and I feel safe taking the next step.

3. Make a strong first impression by answering these three questions immediately

Within a few seconds, a new visitor to your website should know:

  1. What you do
  2. Who you do it for
  3. What they’ll get

A very simple and effective way to do this on your landing page is with a statement like this:

We (what you do) for (who) so they (the emotional benefit)

Here’s an example:

We plan estates for high wealth investors so they know their families are cared for in any event.

4. To keep your reader’s attention, make it all about them

You’ve poured sweat and tears into creating a product that’s so much better than anything else on the market. You want to shout its features from the rooftops!

But there’s a harsh reality: your website visitors probably don’t care. 

What they do care about is how all your hard work will make their lives better. If your copy tells them that, they’ll buy.

5. Become super relevant to your ideal customer by following the ‘rule of one’ 

In copywriting, the ‘rule of one’ means you focus on:

  • One reader
  • One idea
  • One promise
  • One offer

This narrow focus may feel a bit weird at first. Afterall, you want to sell to a lot of people. The choice here is to be very relevant to one specific audience, or irrelevant to them all. 

If you have several diverse audiences, create landing pages and popups with copy that appeals to each. 

****

Your website copy keeps the attention your design has attracted. It qualifies site visitors and converts them to customers. And it tells your audience that you understand their pain and have a solution for it. 

Writing website copy is part art and part science and can take years to master. Even so, there are a few simple rules that will put you in front of most of your competitors.

Even better, schedule a call with us before you start your next website design, or redesign, project. Our in-house copywriters will help you turn vision to voice and concept to conversions. Whether we’re designing your website or not.

Rock House Events Has a New Website That’s Ready for Summer Fun

Charlotte party planner, Rich Saner, knows how to throws great parties. He’s been hosting big bashes for over 15 years now through his brands Rock House and Rich & Bennett.

Bellaworks loves working with Saner and has designed websites for both of
his brands.  Recently, we launched a new website for Rock House, and we are excited about how it turned out.

Saner’s core audience is young professionals, who use the internet for
everything. They expect a quick and seamless experience on a website. Saner understands this and knows how important his websites are to his business and customers.

Bellaworks connects with Rich’s preference for a very clean look, super
intuitive and easy navigation, vibrant use of icons, and a general “don’t
make me think” approach. These websites are built to sell and convert and
have all of the tools ready to do so.

If you’re looking for some fun, you know who has you covered. Check out all the incredible events that Rock House and Rich & Bennett are offering.

Need a fresh website for your company? Let’s talk about your business
and how a new website can help you reach your goals.

 

Here are 5 Reasons Your B2B SEO Strategy Needs a Blog

You’ve just launched your new website. It’s a beauty! Responsive, mobile-friendly, clear calls to action.

And boy is it set up for SEO. The site maps are up, tags in place, and keywords thoughtfully peppered through each title. Your work is done.

Or is it?

The reality is that technical SEO on your website is just step one if you hope to rank high in search results.

Step two is launching your blog. Why? Because many of the factors Google considers most important for page ranking are influenced by a blog more than by technical SEO.

Consider this chart of Google ranking factor influence from Quick Sprout:

Links and fresh content alone account for over 50%. These are things you’ll be chasing long after your website is launched.

They’re also things a blog is really good at. Actually, there are several ranking factors a blog can help with. We’ve gathered up five ways a blog will help your new website land high up on search engine results pages.

But before we get into how a blog helps with SEO, let’s get two things straight:

  1. Google will probably never buy anything from you.
  2. Google’s aim is to make sure its users find good answers quickly and efficiently.

What’s this mean to us?

Any SEO strategy, including blogging, should be done first and foremost for the humans that use Google, not for an algorithm. If you’re helping Google help their users, they’ll reward you with higher search page placement.

With that in mind, let’s look at five ways a blog can help you achieve better rankings on Google.

1. A blog increases backlink and internal link potential

According to the chart we shared, links to your site have a huge influence over page ranking.

There are two kinds of links to consider. Just in case these terms are new to you:

  • Internal links are when you link from one page of your website to another page of your website.
  • Backlinks are inbound links from other websites to yours.

Google loves both.

Internal links help the Google bot understand your site structure and how pieces of content are related. They show your authority on a particular topic.

Some internal links are considered more valuable by Google, and the whole internal link strategy can get pretty deep. Generally speaking, though, more links are good. And publishing new blog content gives you lots of opportunities to link to pages throughout your site.

Backlinks are even more powerful. When Google sees backlinks to your site, especially from a popular, high-authority website, it assumes your site is also trustworthy.

“Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to another.”
Moz.com

Getting those high-authority sites backlinking to yours can be tough. But publish a great article about an important topic and those site owners gladly do it (kind of like the Moz article we just linked to).

2. A blog keeps your website fresh

Google wants to make sure its users are getting up-to-date answers to their questions. So they give priority to websites that are updated often.

It would be awkward, and unwise, to change your landing page copy twice a week. Publishing fresh content to your blog is a much better way to show Google your website is tended to and updated.

Publishing new content is also a trigger for Google’s web crawlers to index your site more often. This doesn’t help you climb the rankings on its own. Your content has to be good, as judged by your audience.

3. Good content improves traffic and dwell time on your site

This one is pretty simple.

Google wants to know that your site is good at answering questions.

How do they know? By how your audience interacts with your website.

If lots of people visit your site (traffic), stick around awhile (dwell time), and continue past the first page they hit (bounce rate), Google will know that your site is useful to its users.

When you publish great blog posts that answer questions well, all that will happen.

“Focus on ‘dwell time’ (how long site visitors spend with your content), rather than vanity metrics like pageviews. Creating quality content is extremely important because Google cares about how deep people navigate into your site, whether they hit the back button, and worst of all, whether they return to the search results page because they didn’t find the information they were looking for.”
John Lister, Strategist at Elite SEM

4. A blog helps you rank for keywords

When many people think SEO, this is often what comes to mind. Having words on your site that match what people search for on Google increases your chance of ranking high on search pages.

No dirty tricks, though.

Gone are the days of adding hidden pages full of keywords you want to rank for (also called ‘keyword stuffing’). Google is hip to that trick, and most other ‘black hat’ SEO tactics.

But there are only so many opportunities to organically use keywords on your landing pages. So how do you increase the frequency of keywords on your site without being shady?

Content!

Yep, publish content on the topics you want to rank for. Let’s say you run a staffing business and are launching a new employee retention and training product for small businesses. You want to show up on searches like “How can I reduce employee churn?”

So you publish an article called “Reduce Employee Churn with these 10 tips.”

Then, use that term organically throughout the post— especially in your headers and first and last paragraphs.

5. A blog improves your website’s social signals

Like bounce rate and traffic, Google uses social signals to decide if your site is valuable to its users.

Social signals are likes, shares, retweets, and comments on your social media posts.

So, how do I post things that will get more of these social signals?

Before you post anything, consider people’s intent, or mindset, while they’re on social media. It’s different than when they’re using a search engine.

Here’s what we mean.

On search engines, people are looking for information to solve problems and make decisions.

On social media, they’re hanging out with friends, catching up with relatives, and watching funny videos. In short, they’re avoiding making decisions.

Think of it this way. You’re having a drink with your friends at your favorite watering hole, talking about cars. A salesperson walks up, interrupts your conversation, and starts telling you how awesome his car dealership is and why you should buy a new Toyota.

Yuck! (no offence to Toyotas. They’re fine cars)

That’s how an overabundance of product ads can feel on social media.

Instead of interrupting the conversation, join it.

Your blog posts, the ones that offered really helpful information, are the perfect way to do it. Target people that love cars who live in Denver and publish a paid post to Facebook about the 10 best auto shows in Colorado.

Not only will you gather social signals, but you’ll establish your business as a helpful resource to your target audience.


Great website design is a critical first step in ranking well on search engine results pages. But the work doesn’t stop there.

A B2B blog is the next best step in a successful SEO strategy. Its benefits for the most influential search engine ranking factors are long-term and compounding.

But for it to work, that content needs to be good.

Great news! We can help. You can start by downloading our guide on content that converts.

Even better, contact us and we’ll help you launch a blog that drives traffic, generates leads, and grows sales. Yep, we do that!

A Behind the Scenes Look at Creating Our Own Website

We are excited to reveal a new Bellaworks website!  You can take a look at the creativity our designer uses when building website graphics by clicking on our video below.  Here you’ll see him building our homepage graphic step-by-step.  It’s a cool process and amazing to see all of the little tweaks that go into bringing an image to life.  Contact us to see how we can spice up your website with some creativity!

 

Your Website Needs a Video

Does your company have an old website that you’d like to update?  Looking to add fresh content that can compete out on the internet?  Here’s a tip. Your website needs a video on the homepage.

A video, really?  Yes, here’s how it can help.

Improve SEO

According to research , adding video to your website can increase the chance of a front page Google result by 53 times.  Visitors to a website with a video are more likely to stay longer than they are if they visit a website without a video.  Google see websites with videos as being credible and relevant because visitors are finding worthwhile information and staying on these sites.

Engage with Customers

People connect with people.  And, videos allow people at your business to connect with your potential customers.  Videos can very quickly connect and convey emotion in a way that text and still pictures cannot.  There is significant data  to support the fact that video increases website conversions, sales, sign ups and click throughs.  Furthermore, video offers companies the chance to interact with viewers. Users are far more likely to comment on, share, or embed a video than they are a regular social media or blog post.

Tell Your Story

Bellaworks partners with many professional services firms, and we find that these companies have a particularly hard time telling their story.  A video can go a long way toward quickly explaining complicated services. Video can add depth and personality to a company and showcase expertise.  While you’re crafting your story, make sure to take a close look at your “About Us” page.  Website analytics points to this as being one of on the most frequently visited pages on websites because people want to know with whom they are doing business.  Make sure your story is a good one!

Video Options

Though it may not seem like it at first, there are so many different types of videos that can help businesses connect with customers.  Here are some ideas for video content:

  • Introduction video/ Tell Your Story/ Brand Video
  • Instructional/ Explainer video
  • Customer testimonials
  • Video a speaking engagement or event
  • Behind the scenes access
  • Projects/portfolio reel

Remember the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  We promise that it’s still true, only a video is worth maybe a hundred thousand words.  Let’s talk about your website and how incorporating video content can help transform your business.  

Bellaworks Web Design Moves to NoDa!

The Bellaworks website design and development team is excited to announce that we recently moved to a new office in the North Davidson area of Charlotte, NC that is affectionately referred to as NoDa.  If you know NoDa, you know that it has long been recognized as one of Charlotte’s most creative communities.  We are proud to be a new neighbor in a place with many other locally owned and grown businesses.  Our surroundings inspire us – the photo shown here is of a wall mural right outside our office.

Our new office is a very cool loft, if we do say so ourselves, above the small but mighty Reigning Donuts storefront.  We are across the street from the well-known long timer Cabo Fish Taco and next door to the delicious Haberdish.  Our building has a parking lot in the back and there’s more parking on the street.  Come for a meeting with us, and stay for some really good eats!

While our office has changed, our service remains the same.  We are committed to partnering with our clients to build fresh and modern websites with smart digital tools that can help them grow.  If you wish your website could to do more to support your business, please contact us and let’s talk… over a donut or fish taco if you’d like.

Charlotte Youth Ballet Starts Season With a New Website

Bellaworks is honored to have partnered with the Charlotte Youth Ballet to build a fantastic new custom website.  As a nonprofit organization, CYB relies on its website to connect with many different audiences – from patrons to parents and donors to dancers.  Staff need to be able to easily make content changes in order to support activities like event planning, student registrations, and fundraising.  CYB’s new website has a fresh look and lots of great tools to help support all of their programs.

A little note we’d like to share…

“Bellaworks has been an absolute pleasure to work with.  We are so happy with the new website as it’s fresh, current and very user friendly.  We are launching our 2018 performance season and the new website will offer our patrons\parents quality information.  Thank you for taking on our small project and making it a priority.  Greatly appreciated!”

Cindy Gruber, Charlotte Youth Ballet

Collect Customer or Employee Data? You Need to Know About the EU’s New Privacy Law – GDPR

This spring the European Union rolled out a privacy law known as the General Data Protection Regulation.  The regulation sets a new global standard for individual data collection, use, and protection.  It’s shifting the paradigm on the way personal data is handled, and all business owners should take note. If you have an employee or customer base in the EU, you must make sure you are in compliance or risk heavy fines and a legal hot mess.  Even if you don’t have contacts in the EU, GDPR signals it’s time for you to reconsider any personal data you collect and to assess its security.

What Kind of Personal Data Are We Talking About?

Most everything.  The data that is included in GDPR is very broad. According to the policies, personal data is any information that relates to an actual living individual.  This can include your name, home address, email address, phone number, or even location data from your mobile device.

A New Global Standard

It’s important to understand the driving principles of the GDPR legislation.  Whether you have customers in the EU or not, these principles are now setting the standard.  All companies can check themselves against these practices when collecting any personal data on employees, clients, or potential customers.

GDPR Guiding Principles:

Legitimate Interest

Companies may only collect personal data for a very clearly defined legitimate purpose.  They may not use personal data for a purpose that it was not intended.  A company may not collect more data than is needed for the purpose it is intended.  Example – If you are delivering pizzas, you can ask for a home address but not the marital status of your customer.

Consent

Individuals must be told when companies are collecting their data, and they should be allowed control over giving access to their data.  Example – If a company’s website uses cookies to track online activities of customers, this must be disclosed and permission must be obtained.

Individual Control

Giving individuals control of their privacy is a guiding principle of the GDPR legislation.  Along with establishing consent (above), individuals must be given the ability to access and view data and to delete it if they so choose.

Data Security

Companies must secure the personal data they are collecting and processing.  If a data breach occurs, you must notify individuals within 72 hours of being informed of the breach.  Gone are the days of notifying customers months and years after a breach.

Length of Storage

Data should only be kept as long as it is legitimately needed for its intended purpose.  Example – If you keep employee data, you must purge the information when you no longer have an employment or legal relationship with an individual.  Similarly, customer data should be purged at the end of a contractual relationship.

The GDPR was seven years in the making, and its guiding principles make good business sense.  Companies who adopt these principles stand to strengthen trust with customers.  They will be better positioned to compete in a marketplace that is being required to take more responsibility for data privacy and security.

We are currently helping Bellaworks clients comply with GDPR, and we keep up with the latest standards in security.  Talk with us about how we can help your company.

 

Trying to Explain to Your Boss Why Your Company Needs a New Website?

In recent months, we have met with several millennials who have been on a mission to get their company to build a new website.  These millennials are impressive.  They instinctively understand the power and importance of a company’s web presence and are highly motivated to grow their businesses.

Many describe their company’s owners as being hesitant to undertake a website redesign, but once they get the “green light” to “look into a new website,” we meet to discuss the possibilities.  They return to their company and face the challenge of convincing older senior managers why a new website would be a great investment.

We want to help millennials and other savvy professionals communicate to their bosses why it is time for a website refresh or redo.  You know your site’s not working, but how do you effectively explain this to people who think it’s fine?

Here are some topics to think about that can help identify the pieces that are missing and the opportunities for improvement.  These topics can help your management team see that same old company site in a different way.  We want you to get both the “yes, look into a new website” and the “yes, let’s build it.”

Once Upon a Time?

Does your website tell the story of your company at another point in time?  In today’s economy, companies can experience significant growth even in a short period of time.  If your site does not reflect your company’s current level of expertise, it’s a great time to reposition, showcase your best work, and get credit for your experience.

You Do What?

Can your visitors figure out what your company does within about 5 seconds of landing on your site?  Has your company’s tagline and elevator pitch changed?  Visitors generally have a problem to solve or something they want to buy, and they want to qualify you and find out quickly if you have what they need.

Long Overdue for a Spring Cleaning? 

Clients come to us with cluttered sites all the time.  We hear that a site has been in use for years and now “no one can find anything.”  If your site has an old design and has become cluttered with years of additions, it’s time to get back to basics.  Your visitors need to be able to scan your site on a mobile device and get what they need quickly.

Who Do I Call?

Does your site easily convert visitors?  Has your process for taking inquiries changed or does it need to?  Clear contact info and calls to action are a must for engaging with your audience.

Do We Use Any of This Anymore?

Do you have a blog that hasn’t been updated in years?  Photographs of employees who no longer work at your company?  Portfolios that are outdated?  Rest assured, you’re not alone.  Reconsider the strategy behind how you use your website.

Stuck in 2016?

In the last two years, mobile viewing of websites has overtaken viewing on personal computers.  In fact, mobile responsive sites are now industry standard, and if yours isn’t responsive, it’s time for a rebuild.  A good mobile design supports everything else – your user experience, potential conversions, and ranking within search results.

 Are You Secure?

Installing a website security certificate (SSL), which gives your site the “https” in your domain, has become a best practice.  A SSL encrypts all information that is transmitted to and from your site, protecting both your site and your users.  A side benefit of an SSL is that your site will be viewed more positively by search engines, boosting you in search results.

Another aspect of security to consider is whether or not it’s time to protect some of the information you post on your website.  Maybe you would like to put certain information on a password protected page so that it is viewable only by certain clients or vendors.  Or, maybe your users should have their own log in.

Millennials know it.  Your company’s website is a critical tool.  When you “get the green light” to pursue a new website, call Bellaworks.  We will make sure that your customers connect with your company quickly and effortlessly.

Now These Are Dynamic Church Websites

One of the best compliments we can receive for a job well done is a referral.  Just recently we launched a new website for First Presbyterian Church Concord, a project that came to us through a referral from our friends at First Presbyterian Church Uptown.  We are so proud of the way the new FPC Concord’s site turned out, and we invite you to take a look.

The website redesign was part of the church’s efforts to re-brand and attract younger members and families.  The church recognized that in order to attract new members they needed to make it easier for visitors to get information and to connect with the church community.  In addition, the church wanted to freshen its look and showcase itself as a vibrant, dynamic, and welcoming community.

FPC Concord’s new website has a clean, modern design that is very user friendly and offers easy navigation.  New photographs offer wonderful glimpses into the community.  An “I’m New” button was added to the homepage to make it easy for visitors to get the information they need.  The church also designed a beautiful new logo that was inspired by needlepoint cushions stitched by members decades ago.  All of the interior content, forms, and sermon archives were reworked to make sure that they are easy to access and to keep updated.

We are so glad for all the ways this new website will help support the FPC Concord community.