Copywriting is one of the few tasks most wineries try to do in-house when redesigning their winery's ecommerce website. And it is often the easiest task to procrastinate on. I know what it's like, that term paper that you put off writing until the last day before it's due. With that comes the added frustration of revisions and edits that need to be approved and proofed by your marketing team.
I always find that if you know where you're going, the tasks are much easier and less likely to be postponed. Use these guidelines to make a plan and put a system in place that will make everyone's life a little easier.
Winery Website Content: Writing for the Web
People consume information very differently depending on the medium. If you are reading on your Kindle or paperback, you can read more in-depth and for longer periods of time. Mainly because there is a lack of competing information, such as other website pages, to bounce to the minute you get bored.
Television and radio are consumed very differently as well. With radio, the audience can multi-task. Television, on the other hand, is often the sole focus. Web content is a whole different animal as well. Users tend to scan information on the web and look for specific information. So, as good marketers know, you adjust communications based on the audience's behavior.
Headlines (This is a Headline)
Use lots of headlines in your copy. Even if the headline just identifies a paragraph or two, headlines in your web copy tell readers what information they should expect to find in the following paragraphs. Web copywriters do this because they understand the user is looking for specific information and may not need to read the whole page.
Bullet Points or Numbered Lists
Anytime I am writing a sentence that includes a "series," I quickly edit my text and replace the series with lists. Again, it comes back to writing for the medium's audience behavior. Writing well for the web makes it easier for the reader to scan the information.
Not sure what I mean by the grammatical term "series" ? Don't worry you are not alone. A series is a list of nouns, phrases, verbs, participles, infinitives and more. Or . . .
A "series" is:
- and more
When you want to give emphasis to a word or phrase, DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPS. It sounds like you are yelling! Also, don't you dare change your text to red, this looks like a warning! Dang, I just want a great glass of wine, not a panic attack. Or the worst: BOLD RED ALL CAPS TEXT. That doesn't mean that sentence is super important, it means your don't respect your website visitor. Instead, use headlines, italics or boldface text.
Search Engine Optimization
There are no "tricks" to search engine optimization (SEO). It is really best to think long term strategy, which means writing for your audience, not Google. If you can make your website users happy, you will make Google happy. Google is getting more and more sophisticated at gauging the quality of content on websites. If you have great content you will rank higher.
Sure, there is a lot more to it and many more variables that effect your website's ranking in Google. For the sake of the scope of this article we are going to discuss the checklist for a fully optimized single webpage. But factors off that page also figure into your ranking.
It is not so much about keywords anymore, it is about "key subject". In the "old days" (pre-2008) we had to use the same keyword over and over again for search engines to recognize the context of the article. Now we can write like real humans and use synonyms!
Stay on the same subject. If you are blogging about the topic "noble rot," stay focused on that topic and use that term throughout the article. Also, make sure you use "Noble Rot" in the webpage's:
- First paragraph
- A headline
- At least once or twice throughout the web page's paragraph text
Make sure to include one or two images in your webpage and provide the "alt" text that explains to Google what that image is. Google can only read words, not images.
My general rule is 600 words or more per webpage - and Google prefers that too! Research shows that it is okay to have less than 600 words here and there, but don't make it a habit. Try to reserve your >600 word webpages to your "Contact Us" page and product pages. If you don't have enough content for a "Vineyards" webpage than try combining your "Winery" and "Vineyards" pages together so that you do have 600 words or more.
Make sure you have a meta description, that body of text that shows up in your search result listings and Facebook "shares" of that web page. Meta Descriptions do not effect where you rank in Google but they do effect how many people click on your links in Google or Bing. Think of your meta description as your ad copy. It tells them why they should click on your link. Character count should be between 150 - 160 characters.
About The Author:
Courtney Holmes is the Creative Director at Talk is Sheep Marketing, a winery website design and brand identity agency that specializes in the wine industry.