SEO copywriting tips. Or: how to build a website that doesn’t bounce

If you’re a freelance copywriter, art director or designer, your website is your shop. The more people that walk past the better. But you really want people to come in the shop, and walk to the back of the shop where the register is. That means not just a high Google ranking, but also a well designed website that gets people past the homepage. If someone walks in your shop and then leaves straight away, that’s called a bounce. Bounces are bad. SEO impresario Paul Robbins gives you advice:

Here are some SEO copywriting tips to help professional freelancers convert hits into assignments

  • Have a homepage with a single mission

What do you want people to do when they land on your homepage? Call you for a freelance gig? Ask you for a free quote? Sign up to your mailing list? Just asking them to look at your portfolio or read your CV is a pretty low-ambition. You want them to do something that’s going to pay your bills.

Once they open your page you’ve got about 20 seconds – you only have to see your Google analytics stats to see that (read previous post) – so pick one action, don’t pack your website with things that are going to distract them. Keep it simple. Also keep in mind the value of the different actions. If your mailing list has a 1% success rate, but 50% of calls you receive lead to jobs, it’s clear that you push for calls above your mailing list.

  • Don’t play content automatically

Visitors hate it when music or video plays automatically when they hit your website. Often they’re already listening to music and your website will be the thing they close first. Your last TV commercial may be amazing so have it ready to play, but not playing.

  • Think mobile

Freelancer’s websites are their portfolios and often notoriously slow to load. Does that JPEG really have to be full-size? Mobile devices are taking over and wifi is becoming more popular than WLAN, but it’s slower. Be kind to your visitors and design a fast site – 3 seconds and 500kb max.

  • Pictures and change

Don’t become obsessed with Google to the point of excluding all pictures – they’re worth a thousand words and much more interesting to look at. Put them on automatic rotation, like The Collective’s website, so people get a different one every time they come back.

  • Flash is dead

Designers love to make beautiful websites in Flash, but Google doesn’t see them and Apple won’t load them, so forget about it. There are other ways to make make a beautiful site, and anyway, unless you’re a web designer, your work should be the focus, not the website.

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2 replies
  1. Adam Smithberger
    Adam Smithberger says:

    Just a tip for your tips article–if you are going to title an article, “SEO Copywriting Tips” maybe have some content that’s actually related to writing copy. Or, you could rename this to “SEO Web Design Tips” maybe?

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