You finally did it. You scaled the mountain that is writing your website copy. It’s no small feat, so you’re happy as heck.
You hit “Publish” with pride… and suddenly your pits are
dampened drenched with sweat.
“After all that work, what if my copy doesn’t convert?”
“Did I map out each page correctly?”
“Does this answer my ideal client’s questions?”
“Am I being too wordy?”
“Am I not saying enough?”
It’s easy to let our doubts ruin the fun. Especially when it comes to the way we talk about ourselves and our businesses online.
But there’s a tried-and-true way to see if your website copy is pulling its weight… and it’s called the copy audit.
So check your doubts at the door because I’m giving you a step-by-step guide to performing your own copy audit so you can be sure your words are working for you.
What is a website copy audit and why does it matter?
Before you learn HOW to audit your website copy, let me tell you about the WHAT and the WHY.
A website copy audit combs through your website copy, not only to check for spelling and/or grammar oopsies, but also to make sure the words on your website flow and function properly.
If a professional website copywriter like myself was performing the audit for you, I’d ask questions like:
- Are the H1 headlines keyword-rich?
- Is the tone of voice consistent across the website?
- Does each page have a clear call to action?
When you know what questions to ask and inconsistencies to look for during an audit, it’s easier to determine whether your website is doing its job.
So without further ado, let’s go through the steps you need to take to conduct your own website copy audit.
Step 1. Understand the job of your website.
Here’s a little secret — no matter what your specific goals are for your business, every website has the same objective:
To get your readers to take the next step with you on their journey to becoming a paying client or customer.
Which means your website needs to act as a piece of your sales funnel instead of an online brochure.
Now that you know the overall goal, you can get more specific about what is your ideal next step.
Do you want to fill up your calendar with 1:1 client work? Guide your readers to your application form or contact page.
Do you only sell digital products and mainly market them through your email newsletter? Direct your readers to sign up for your email list.
Do you run a fitness app with a 7-day free trial? Make sure your readers can easily sign up for that trial period.
You get the idea. So, what is YOUR ideal next step?
Once you know, it’s time to make sure you understand your ideal client.
Step 2. Really get to know your target audience.
This might make the marketers of yore wag their finger at me in disdain, but I rarely look at demographics when conducting research on a client’s target audience.
There are of course exceptions where things like age, gender, or location come into play with messaging (e.g., a bachelorette weekend planner in Nashville). But I’d bet on the power of psychographics over demographics every time when it comes to really understanding the buying behavior of the people you want to work with.
Psychographics seek to understand someone’s wants or needs, motivations, and pain points by studying their emotions, values, lifestyles, and attitudes.
And while you’ll have to make some hypotheses about your ideal client’s psychographics, there are many places you can look to gather the information you need to get there. Here are my favorites:
- Comb through your past client testimonials to understand what they were experiencing before you came into their life and how your service changed their situation.
- Take note of common struggles your clients are facing when they reach out to you. If you don’t yet have info to pull from for this, add a question to your intake form asking, “What are you currently experiencing that made you reach out to a [insert your role here] today?” or ask this question during your discovery calls.
- Read through Google or Amazon reviews of books related to your industry.
- Look through your competitors’ social media accounts to see what kind of questions they’re answering with their content.
As you research psychographics for your target audience, note your findings in a document with four sections:
- Their pain points (what they struggle with)
- Their desires (what they want or need)
- Their doubts (what might cause them to hesitate to become a paying client/customer)
- Their motivations (what would help them move confidently toward purchase)
Once you have a few bullet points for each section, read through your current website to see if your message is resonant to someone experiencing these things.
Step 3. Check for tone, word choice, and writing style consistency.
Now that you have a grip on your message or WHAT you’re trying to say, look at HOW you’re saying it. This includes your tone, word choice, and writing style…
Because maintaining a consistent brand voice is crucial to making your brand recognizable and memorable.
Here are a few things to look out for when auditing how you say what you say:
- Eliminate jargon. You understand your job inside and out. But your audience probably doesn’t know all the industry lingo and jargon you use on a daily basis. Make sure your copy sounds like you’re having a real-life conversation with your readers instead.
- Check for consistent word choice. Do you use the phrase “kickoff call” or “launch call” when referring to the start of your process? Do you prefer “contact” or “inquire”? Do you call yourself a “party planner” or an “event planner”? Comb through your copy for inconsistencies when it comes to your brand’s vocabulary.
- Pay attention to your punctuation. Do you prefer the ellipsis […] over the em dash [—] to show continuation of a thought? Do you use the Oxford comma? Are you totally against exclamation points? Do you use parentheses to add additional commentary and flair?
Your voice is just that — yours. But you have to keep it consistent to make it memorable.
Think about someone whose voice you could recognize anywhere…
Your friend who’s the first to shout “Yasss” in the same tone every time anyone needs a hype woman. Or a coworker with his own unique email sign-off that he never hits “Send” without. Or Matthew McConaughey and his unmistakable “Alright, alright, alright” catchphrase that would make your ears perk up with recognition, even in the noisiest of bars.
The goal is that if your audience reads your website copy off of an otherwise blank document — no design, no logos, no brand fonts, no photos of your face — they’d know it’s yours.
Step 4. Optimize your website for SEO and relevant keywords.
Search engine optimization can be daunting. But after investing in this DIY SEO Course last year, I learned how approachable and simple SEO can be. Most people are just overcomplicating it.
The fact of the matter is that SEO is NOT something you can afford to ignore. And while this is certainly not a list of everything that contributes to pushing your pages higher in search engine results, there are here’s a quick look at 3 things you need to make sure every core page of your website has:
- A keyword-rich H1 headline.
One of my biggest takeaways from that DIY SEO Course was that websites do not rank, but pages do. So to make sure your pages aren’t competing with one another for the same keyword, select a unique keyword for each page of your site.
Ubersuggest is an easy (& free) way to start identifying keywords that could work for your business. Otherwise, think about what your ideal client might be searching for on Google and incorporate those phrases into your H1 headlines.
- A title tag.
A title tag acts as a headline for your page in search engine results. It is how you name your page so the reader knows what that page is about.
An easy formula for writing each page’s title tag is:
“primary keyword, secondary keyword | brand name”
As you can see, you also need to use a keyword or two within your title tags. Here’s a quick checklist on how to write them properly:
- Do no repeat them page to page
- Keep them 50-60 characters in length
- Use title case (capitalize all major words, lowercase all minor words)
This is how a title tag appears in a search engine result:
- A meta description.
This is the section of text beneath the title tag in a search engine result, describing what’s on the page. And here’s how to write one:
- Describe what the reader will learn on the page
- Use keywords
- Keep them 150-160 characters in length
- Do not repeat them page to page
- Use a call to action to convince the reader to click
This is how a meta description appears in a search engine result:
And because SEO is so. much. more. than these three components, here are my three favorite SEO resources I recommend you look to when you’re ready to dive in a bit deeper:
- The SEO Blueprint Course by The SM Collective
- Showit SEO Tips by Ryan Moreno
- SEO Group Coaching (& more) by Duo Collective
(Oh, hey – another SEO tip! Linking to relevant resources throughout your website and blog posts like I just did there will optimize your site further. Bonus points if they’re links to other pages of your own website.)
A website copy audit can help you get higher conversions.
A website copy audit is no small undertaking. But it is one way to fix many of your conversion problems. So if you need someone to take it off your plate, you know where you can find me. 😉
Book a website copy audit and get all these insights & more in a *detailed* document complete with a ready-to-implement checklist of action items.
Because you have bigger things to worry about than “Is my website copy doing its job?”
This service is offered on a first-come-first-served basis and has limited monthly availability.