Website copywriting: How to write a conversion-optimised home page

Lewis Folkard

Lewis Folkard

Suffolk-based conversion copywriter.

Text-based image with how to write your website's home page

You only get one first impression. One (first) chance to grab your reader’s attention and compel them to keep reading. And on your website, the place where most people land is your home page. The land of first impressions. Like a “catch all”.

But home page copywriting is inherently more challenging because you have all these prospects at different stages in their customer journey. They each ‘need’ different things. And you’ve got to try and talk to them all without driving them away.

Naturally, you’re going to speak to some more than others – and it’s your job as the website copywriter to talk to your most profitable reader the most. That’s not to say you shun others away, of course not, but you have to focus on the customer type that’s going to help your business most. 

The job of the home page

So, whilst you only get one first impression, you also only have a split second to make it. Your home page, specifically your hero section (the top of the page), has to let your reader know whether they’re in the right place. And do so compellingly so they want to keep reading.

Once they feel like they’re in the right place, your home page needs to build trust but also help them find the pages they need to continue their journey. And because your home page pulls such a wide variety of prospects from such a wide variety of traffic sources in lots of different positions in their journey, you can expect your home page to have lots of navigation to other pages.

How your home page builds trust will happen in different ways. I’ll take you through them, but they generally fall into two categories: explicit (e.g. stating how many customers you’ve had) and implicit (e.g. legitimacy-boosting imagery or brand logos where you’ve featured).

So, in a nutshell, your homepage needs to:

  • Let your reader know they’re in the right place
  • Help them feel like they can trust you
  • Allow them to continue with their individual journey

The 3-step process to writing a home page

This next part isn’t rocket science but it’s important you understand. These same 3 steps apply to any copywriting project, including website copywriting projects like this. 

Here are the 3 steps you’ll be taking:

  • Research
  • Write
  • Edit

The rest of this article will walk you through each of them.

Step 1: Researching your home page

If we roll it back to 1966 when Eugene Schwartz blessed us with Breakthrough Advertising, there’s a lot we can learn about persuasion. The same principles apply to all forms of copywriting in all eras of business – including “modern” website copywriting.

If you haven’t read the book, read it. Because what I’m about to share with you is explained in a lot more detail… and it’s almost a right of passage for any marketer, advertiser, copywriter, or business owner looking to write copy.

But for now, here are the three core principles that are going to help you the most.

Market desire

“The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already-existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire—but to channel and direct it.”

And as a student of the greats, you are to abide by these facts. Because if you’re trying to work against the market and create the core desire yourself, you’re setting yourself up for a much bigger challenge.

What’s potentially hidden here, though, is the importance of timing. Truly exceptional results are sometimes bound by timing. But unless you’re capitalising on a trend, you shouldn’t need to worry about timing too much. Most (long-term) businesses are built upon long-standing human desires, fears and needs. 

…just keep in mind that external circumstances (like cultural trends, economic conditions or global events) can temporarily nudge these pre-existing desires and influence timing.

Schwartz explains that with his three dimensions of mass desire.

  1. Urgency, intensity and degree of demand to be satisfied. (e.g. chronic arthritis vs a minor headache)
  2. The staying power, degree of repetition and the inability to become satiated. (e.g. starving hunger vs the craving for fancy food)
  3. Scope – the number of people who share this desire. (e.g. to play a video game very few people have heard of vs Grand Theft Auto 5)

What this means for you, then, is that you need to research and find the most pressing hope, dream, need, fear or desire in your market and channel that onto your product. You should already have an aspect of your product that satisfies this mass desire.

Once you know what mass desire you’re working with, you need to then channel it in an engaging and persuasive way. How? The next teaching of Schwartz will help.

Market awareness

Good copywriting is like bridging a gap. A gap from where your market is right now – and where you want them to end up (buying your product).

The stage of market awareness tells you where to start. And through your marketing flows and copy, you take them through each stage (sometimes quite quickly) to the point where they exchange their money for your offering. Remember, external events can influence the speed of stage progression too.

So if your market only knows they have a pain, lead with the pain. If they know there’s a solution, lead with the solution. Meet them where they are. 

But remember, you’re writing from your reader’s POV, not yours. So, just because you know your product or service can do something doesn’t mean your market does.

Market sophistication

To then take the delivery of your message more granular, you need to consider market sophistication. You can think of this as the number of – or exposure to – other products on the market. 

Or, in other words, how will your claims stand out vs your competitors? Are you just repeating the same message? Are your claims falling on deaf ears?

This principle isn’t to be overlooked and highlights the importance of creativity. When your market is bound by the same desire, and you and your competitors are fundamentally claiming the same benefits, the impact of your copy can come down to how you deliver your claims.

Completing your research will paint a clear picture of these principles.

The rule of one

Okay, leaving Schwartz’s principles to one side, I have another principle you need to follow. The rule of one.

Your audience is busy, stressed and doesn’t have the time for multiple messages. You need one distinct message, one powerful idea, for one clear persona.

Besides, one good idea clearly and convincingly presented is always better than multiple ideas weakly strung together.

Repeating this message – as you will throughout your home page – means it’ll stick, and your reader will remember it. Not only does this make it more persuasive for those buying now, but it also means those who like to think about their decision before they commit have something (persuasive) to remember.

This isn’t to say you can’t tell a story or include multiple perspectives. It means they all have to be unified by one core idea.

Let’s get into actually completing your research.

Completing your research

Whenever you write copy, every word should be justifiable. There should be a reason why you’re saying what you are. Research is arguably the most important part of copywriting. You can say the right thing poorly and still get results… but you can’t say the wrong thing well and expect anything. 

Remember, you can have a beautifully written home page, but if it doesn’t talk to the right people, it’s useless. 

Schwartz’s principles are part of what you’re observing, and I’ll show you how they fit into your research as we go.

I find it best to start with your market and familiarise yourself with what they want, need and fear. And then dig into your product because you might spot new ways of highlighting what it does. Intentional naivety.

Of course, you need a basic understanding of the product, but keep yourself open to new possibilities for now.

Where to research

The answers to your research questions could be anywhere (technically). But you will spend most of your time online scanning social media, reading reviews, speaking with ideal/past customers and conducting research surveys. You are not limited to these options, though. 

You might find it useful to sit an earwig in conversations outside. Or you might have access to customer service conversations. You might even have first-hand experience that you can recall too.

Wherever you can find audience insights, use them. You’d rather have too many insights than not enough – you can always disregard the stuff you don’t need.

Audience research

First up, your audience research. 

Remember, it’s not a copywriter’s job to identify the whole target market but rather the most profitable persona. So it is your job too. You must be careful of your own biases and view your findings objectively.

It’s important to note that there are different types of decision-makers within your most profitable persona. You want to do your best to categorise your research findings into these decision-makers so you can cater for them all. Here they are, based on Miller William research

  • Charismatic. These are visual, fast-moving, and more spontaneous. They want outcomes and facts.
  • Thinkers. These are logical and very methodical in their thinking. They’re likely the hardest to persuade because they need lots of details and information for reassurance.
  • Sceptics. They need solid proof and lots of it. Detailed reviews are extremely important.
  • Followers. These are very humanistic and lead with emotion and trust. They follow what others do and need to know it’s worked for other people before they feel ready to try themselves.
  • Controllers. They need data and feel like they’ve come to their decision themselves*. They’re logical and fast-moving and need to know what they’re getting. They need numbers, stats and data to support claims.

*You can be clever with this kind of decision-maker. It’s not that they need to be thorough in their research but rather feel like they’re being thorough. So you can plant/prompt mental questions and then answer them in your copy so it feels like they’ve thought of them themselves.

Of course, there are crossovers between them. What works for one type will work for parts of another, so it’s not like you need to write five different home pages. It’s more about cleverly presenting information and drawing attention to different elements so each decision-maker can find what they need. For example, crossheads can be tailored to fast-moving decision-makers so they can scan over what they don’t need. And then you can supplement the crosshead with body copy that slower decision-makers need.

Onward. 

When researching your audience, you can also categorise your findings into the following sections:

  • Problems they’re facing*
  • Motivations to overcome
  • Previous (failed) solutions
  • Desired short-term outcome
  • Desired long-term outcome
  • Potential objections (think functional and emotional)
  • Pulls from best-case scenario
  • Pushes from worst-case scenario
  • Outcomes of failing to choose you

*If there are enough, you should then further categorise the problems. For example, money, time, social, emotion (and what type). And what’s the severity of the problem? How often do they feel it? Once you’ve categorised, you’ll understand the scope of the mass desire.

That should then lead to you finding answers to the following questions:

  • What do they want?
  • What’s currently getting in the way of them getting it?
  • How can you remove those blocks?

You should also have a better idea of what stage of awareness they are. Is your research showing more of a “I’m having this kind of issue…“? Or is it more features around a solution?

To further help, you can look at your home page’s traffic sources. For example, are they coming from search queries (if so, what)? Or more educational resources?

And then finally, if you’re conducting surveys, remember to take things with a pinch of salt. As David Ogilvy famously said, “People don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say”. So you’ll need to read between the lines and dig into the meaning behind what they’re saying. 

Alternatively, you can restructure your questions so you ask your questionnaire-ee what they think others think rather than themselves. It helps you create a bit of distance between them and their answer (so they answer more honestly and keep their ego intact). 

Or even better, observe behaviour.

Language research

Your prospect’s or target customer’s language* can be a very helpful tool when trying to persuade them. Your role, as you research, is to act like a chameleon. Absorb their mood and reflect it back at them, using their own words and phrases to create a deeper sense of rapport between you and the reader.

Pay attention to repetitive themes or phrases you’ve not heard before, usually anything that feels very candid and ‘unpolished’. You’ll know them when you see them. These are gems in all copywriting.

*It’s often referred to as Voice of Customer (VOC).

Product and business research

You should already be loosely familiar with what the product(s) do and very familiar with what your audience is looking for/need/don’t want. Now’s the time to dig into the product(s) and see how you can fill the voids and give the audience what they want.

If you’re writing this for your own product, don’t skip this step. Repeat the questions and see if you can find new opportunities. Opportunities you might have missed. Something that might give you an edge.

It’s also important to dig into the brand behind the product. This will also help you bridge a gap between where your audience is right now (and how they feel about the brand) to where you want them to go. If you end up saying something radically different to what the audience is used to, you’ll be met with resistance, which you’ll need to overcome. 

So, some of the following answers to these questions might sit brand-side as well as product-side.

Here are some of the questions you could look to answer:

  • What are the benefits of your product or service?
  • What makes you different? What is your USP?
  • What are the different ways (or scenarios) where your product can be used?
  • In what ways can it provide value (e.g. save time or money)? Which one seems the most potent?
  • What are the features of the product?
  • What are some of the main ‘enemies’ of your product?
  • What are alternatives to your product? 
  • What are the disadvantages of your product? (You can sometimes reframe them into positives)
  • What are the disadvantages to alternatives of your product?
  • Are there any myths that exist around your product or brand?
  • Are there any events that (could) evolve around your product or brand?
  • Are there any important brand history events that reinforce your product now?

Proof research

Make a list of all the proof you have – reviews, detailed testimonials, case studies, affiliations, brands you’ve worked with, places you’ve featured, years in business, and number of customers. Pull this all together and categorise them into these types of proof.

This is also a great opportunity to highlight key bits of VOC that you want to focus on or bits you think you might use for crossheads or body copy.

During your earlier audience research, you should be familiar with the anxieties your audience feels around your product and business. Match your proof to the relevant anxiety. In other words, how can you settle those anxieties/fears with proof? What proof best settles them? 

Don’t forget, you can use product features to settle these anxieties too. Or even better, product features matched with their relevant proof.

For example:

  • Security worries? Product encryption details.
  • Unsure of a product’s durability? Material specifications or awards.
  • Scared of hidden fees? Reviews highlighting costs (and lack of surprises).
  • Worried it won’t work? Performance awards, reviews or guarantees.

Competitor research

The final part of your research is to see what your competitors are doing. You might already be familiar with your competitors from earlier stages. But now you need to make sure you’re not blending in and saying what they are.

You might even spot some new opportunities.

This will also help you gauge the level of market sophistication. See what ads you can find and the types of claims they’re making. Are they exaggerated (e.g. faster or easier)? If so, this would suggest a higher level of sophistication – and that you might need a different mechanism to deliver on your core value prop/promise.

Crafting your home page offer

Research done. Although you might end up adding and thinking of new things as you go. Regardless, you should now have a clear picture of the environment you’re going to be selling within.

Hopefully, you found some hot zones – some pains, desires, fears. Opportunities that you can lean into. 

And now you need to bring them all together and turn them into an offer so good your prospect feels silly saying no. 

What is an ‘offer’?

It seems to be regularly confused online. And it’s used in a lot of different contexts. Most copywriters just sorta sniff around until they figure it out. To save you that pain, here’s a simple definition.

An offer is literally what you’re providing to your customer. For your home page, this is mostly like what they’re going to receive in exchange for their money. 

The simplistic take would be to say “they’re receiving the product”. And, alright, fine, you’d be right. But that’s not the full picture. There’s so much more than just a product… They’re receiving a transformation. From their ‘painful’, ‘problem-ridden’ life right now to one where that pain goes away and everything is golden. 

Your ability to frame this offer as something irresistible will play a huge role in your home page’s success.

So, even though you don’t have to necessarily copy and paste it onto your home page, your offer sets the tone and unifies everything your home page says. Or, if we flip that into something more powerful, everything on your page needs to reinforce your offer. So, whilst, by definition, it’s what your customer gets, it’s also to guide you.

What makes a strong offer?

In short, it gives them what they really want and removes any obstacles they might feel are in the way. (Can you see why research is so important? It literally tells you precisely this).

These obstacles could be self-imposed (e.g. beliefs, procrastination) or built within the selling environment (e.g. product cost, delivery charges, no suitable options). But once you know what they are, you need to carefully frame your offer so it overcomes them. This means you might need to adjust pricing, offer different options, add urgency builders, use scarcity techniques, include upsells or other sweeteners, boost your guarantees – and countless other options.

Once you know what you’re offering your reader and you’ve got something too good to say no to, you’re ready to start writing your home page.

Step 2: Writing Your Home Page – Page Structure

Time to write copy. Okay, so as you already know, your home page is a “catch-all” for lots of prospects in different positions along their customer journey. And despite this variety in readers, it still needs to imminently reassure them that you do what you promise and that what you’re promising is what they want/need.

What you’re going to write first is your first draft. I’m sorry to point out the obvious, but it’s important to understand the purpose of it. Your first draft is a mind dump. It doesn’t need to flow nor make sense. It’s going to look and sound rubbish. But it should. For now, just get everything that you could possibly need for each section down. You’ll refine it after.

But as with all copywriting, your final version still needs to be clear, concise and compelling to keep your reader engaged.

Note: this structure may change from business to business and what your research suggests. Each section isn’t size-capped but it needs to keep the reader interested. Some sections can be blended together. Some might need expanding (e.g. you found that your reader needs a lot of help switching from other viable options). Use the section sizes as a guide.

I’ll take you through each section of the home page, but here’s how you’re going to structure the page. 

A conversion-optimised home page structure

Section 1: Hero

Your hero section is the first section your reader sees on your home page. So, this is where you make your first impression, and your prospect decides whether they’re going to stay or leave. 

If they leave, the chances of them returning and becoming a customer are slim. And for some people, that’s fine (maybe they’re not the customers or types of people you want to attract), but for those you do want, you must give them a reason to stay.

Generally, there are three main types of hero sections for home pages. 

  • The “What We Do”
  • The “Where You Are”
  • The “Where You Want To Be”

The “What We Do”

Here you’re simply stating (explicitly or implicitly) what your product can do for your prospect. It must connect to what your prospect wants. If it connects to something they don’t want, they’re going to think they’re in the wrong place and look elsewhere. Look at your research for guidance.

Your headline should show what your product (maybe uniquely) does, and your sub headline/body copy gives it more context and clarifies further. You can use an image that supports what your product does, too.

A “What We Do” Example. Credit: Slack

The “Where You Are”

Here, you’re trying to agitate their current situation – likely something pain- or problem-focused. This is particularly good for lower awareness prospects because it connects with what they’re familiar with and attuned to. This is the most effective way to bridge the gap between where they are and where you want them to go.

Of course, it doesn’t just have to be low awareness prospects. You could combine it with the “What We Do” hero and agitate issues with other solutions on the market (for high awareness prospects). 

In any case, your headline will lead with the problem/pain and your sub headline/body copy will either agitate further or pique their interest in a solution.

A “Where You Are” Example. Credit: Hotjar

The “Where You Want To Be”

From your research, you should have a good idea of where your prospect wants to go. What’s the best-case scenario for them? What are they dreaming about? Here, you’re trying to tap into that and show them how good life could be (with your product).

Your headline will focus on their dream state, and your subheadline hints at how they can get there (with your product). Open a loop of curiosity and then close it through your coming home page content.

A “Where You Want To Be” Example. Credit: Wise

For SEO purposes, it’s wise to also consider any target keywords in your (H1) headline. This will change what you need to write and maybe even what hero-type you choose.

And then finally, your buttons. Some hero sections need them. Some don’t. A rule of thumb is to avoid “curiosity clicks”. In other words, clicks from people who are just free-roaming. Higher awareness prospects are more intentional with their clicks, so if your home page gets traffic from high-awareness (Product or Most Aware) sources, or repeat visitors, then include a button here. If not, test a button to see.

Section 2: Proof Bar 1

Also above the fold (the screen your prospect sees before they scroll) is the first proof bar. Or part of it, at least. Generally, you should opt for broader appealing proof here. As you move through your home page, your proof will become more specific.

A broad appeal and highly effective form of proof is social proof, and that’s what you should be focusing on here. In essence, social proof is showing that others already trust you. Because we (humans) tend to follow the actions of others, if we see a company is ‘already trusted’ by X amount of people or Y types of businesses, we feel more comfortable trusting this company too.

If you’re dealing with a high-awareness audience, more specific proof might be better. 

How can you use social proof?

Here are some prompts to get you thinking about broad social proof:

  • The number of customers or clients you’ve helped 
  • The amount of revenue you’ve helped others generate
  • The amount of time you’ve saved across all customers
  • The number of complaints you’ve avoided
  • The types of companies you’ve helped
  • Places where you’ve featured
  • Credible people or organisations who have mentioned you

You’re aiming to show you’re already trusted – either through the volume of people (or results it brings them) or through trustworthy people/organisations already trusting you.

A copywriter always battles believability. So keep your feet on the ground and be honest with yourself. Yes, you need to dramatise the proof and show it in its best light, but you also need it to be believable. If you sense it’s not believable, find a way to show the proof rather than only saying it. For example, if you’re a small start-up but you’ve been featured in HBR, screenshot and show it along with your copy.

Proof Bar Example: Customer quantity. Credit: Moqups
Proof Bar Example: Specific customer quantity. Credit: Hotjar
Proof bar integrated into the Hero. Credit: Yoast

Section 3: Value Proposition/Main Benefit

Next is a nice, simple section. As always, it’s related to your main offer, but you’re trying to show what value you can provide. Think, what do you do? Or what’s the key benefit of your product?

If you’ve stated your value proposition or main benefit explicitly and directly in your hero, then maybe don’t here. Reframe it or show it in a different light – still reinforcing the same main offer, though. (It keeps it more engaging)

Curiosity-building value prop example. Credit: me
Main benefit example. Credit: Loom

Section 4: How/Who

Next, you’re either going to explain how you deliver that value proposition (or main benefit). Or, you’re going to explain who gets the value prop/main benefit. 

In the case of the “How”, the mechanism is your product or service range, meaning this is your opportunity to draw attention to what a product or product range offers your customers. AKA key features or products.

The “Who” is particularly useful if you have a number of personas who buy from you. This is your opportunity to lean in and expand on how each persona benefits from your offering. 

In both cases, you’ll likely need a button that takes them to a piece of content where they can learn more about the products (and delve into the product descriptions… like a product page…) or their persona and continue on their journey.

Here, your crossheads will generally be an expansion of the benefits (sometimes in the form of the outcome), and the eyebrow copy (the slightly faded copy that sits above will be the product name) will be a key feature or persona name. This makes it scannable for those skimming the page.

Your body copy will then be you explaining further what makes the value prop/benefit possible. Usually a short product description. Remember, you’re linking to another page, so you don’t need to explain everything here. Just the most important. 

Finish the body copy with a benefit again, likely reiterating your crosshead in a different light. An easy way to do this is to start this sentence with “so that”. 

If you want to go the extra mile, sprinkle in some proof. Maybe a star rating with the number of reviews or a “Most popular” placed on top.  

This section can become quite long – and that’s OK. As long as you keep the reader interested and respect their time with concise copy, you’re all good to go. Good visuals (and design) can help break it up and make it not seem so overwhelming.

And service providers… remember your services have features too.

Interactive “How” section that demonstrates the product. Credit: Hotjar
Another interactive “How” example. Credit: Wise
A “How” section inside the Hero. Remember, there are no rules that can’t be broken. Credit: Monday.com
A “Who” example. Credit: Canva
Another “Who” example. Credit: Later

Section 5: Proof Bar 2

Following, we have another proof bar. This is your time to get more specific, so you’ll likely use reviews, testimonials or case studies. Or snippets of. 

If you think it suits, you can merge this section with the above and give reviews for each persona or product.

Because this proof bar is generally a little more text-heavy, you need to pay special attention to the text you’re using. Your proof must align with your messaging. So, for example, if you’ve played up a specific benefit in the How/Who section, use a review or testimonial that specifically reinforces it. Don’t pick the reviews randomly if you can avoid it.

Including faces in your proof can be powerful. It’s an efficient way of increasing trust whilst also breaking up a lot of text. 

Persuasion tip: Seeing human faces is like a subconscious trust builder. They’re always worth including where you can – even outside proof sections.

Believability is like a wedge. You have to start small (with broad appeal proof) and keep building in detail so that when it comes to asking for action, they have no doubt you can’t/won’t do what you promise.

A stacked list of customer feedback. Credit: Moqups
Proof and benefits integrated together. Credit: Monday.com

Section 6: USP/Agitation

Okay, so, you’ve made it clear what you do and believable that you can do it. You’re most of the way there now. 

The next step is to separate yourself from others on the market. Because, in the mind of your prospect, there might be someone else who can do what you do. It’s your job to show there isn’t.

How? Either through a product/service USP… or the trusty FUD. Fear. Uncertainty. And doubt. 

You can tackle it head-on and agitate the downfalls of other options (which your product doesn’t exhibit). Or you might choose to do something like a comparison table – somewhere where you can show all the wonderful features your product has – that your competitors don’t. Or, if a table isn’t suitable, you could plant little seeds of doubt around competing products.

Persuasion tip: If there are (minor) elements that your competitors do better than you, you can own them and leverage the Pratfall Effect – where making a small concession can make you seem more trusting. This means your bigger USP claims carry more weight.

To write, your crosshead could tackle the agitation head-on or play with your USP. Either can work. Choose whatever you think is strongest and most suitable. Think, is there the opportunity for FUD, or is your USP particularly strong? That should highlight which route to take. 

Your body copy spells it out and drives it home.

If you have a page, or piece of content, on your site that talks about this in more detail, you can link it with a text link.

And then, for those with no direct competitors, your competition becomes inaction. What FUD can you create around not buying your products – what will life look like to them?

Remember, the aim is to agitate the other options. Unsettle them in the minds of your prospect. And then position yourself as the best option. We head there next.

Agitation example. It plays on a not taking action. Credit: Copyhackers

Section 7: Positioning

Now, with all that FUD swirling about, it’s time to become the guiding light. To do that, you want to help them picture how good life will be with your product – again, reinforcing your offer like you have throughout the page. But now you’re spelling it out for them. 

This doesn’t have to be some long, poetic piece of writing. It could be as simple as displaying their key success metric – and explaining why you’re the only one who can easily deliver it.

You want them hungry – certain that you are the only one who can take them to where they want to go. So when it comes time to ask for the sale, it’s just a matter of exchanging details and listening to your cash register sing.

The following section from the above example. A great Positioning section that helps the reader picture their dreamstate. Credit: Copyhackers

Optional Section: Proof Bar

If you hadn’t already noticed, you need a lot of proof. Nobody ever refused to buy because they trusted a company too much. 

Of course, it still needs to be believable and interesting (aka not repetitive), but if you have lots of proof to choose from, then you should use it.

You have a few options here. You can use proof that reinforces your USP and Agitation messaging – like VOC from reviews. 

Or you can use the following questions to help:

  • Do you have any proof that disqualifies competitor products or other options?
  • Are there any anxieties you need to reduce?
  • Are there usual objections you need to settle?
  • Can you highlight another persuasive feature of your product that you haven’t mentioned?
  • Can you draw attention to the (desirable) personality traits your products talk to? Things your prospect would feel good telling others about themselves.
  • Do you have any potent guarantees that make it seem silly to say no?
Proof bar example that settles anxieties and instills trust. Credit: Aweber

Section 9: Close

Your work has been done. It’s time to dot the Is and cross the Ts. It’s time to seal the deal. Oh, and make it incredibly easy to do so.

Here, you want to summarise your offer and ask for action with a simple CTA. If you included a guarantee earlier, now’s a good time to remind your prospect of it.

Simple Close example. Credit: Grammarly

This kind of close is the most applicable, but there are others you can try. 

For example:

  • The List
  • The Motivator

The List

Pretty self-explanatory. The aim here is to bring together everything they’re getting within your product (these should be points you’ve already made) and turn them into a long list. Try not to introduce anything new.

What I like about The List Close is that it also taps into the “length implies strength” heuristic. A long list is generally deemed more believable than a short list because it requires more thought to create. The “value” the reader feels they’re getting thus carries more impact.

“The List” and “The Motivator” Close merged example A shorter list, though. Credit: Drumeo

The Motivator

If you know your prospect has a tough time making decisions and likes to procrastinate, here, you can ramp up the intensity with some urgency builders or extra proof. You might remind them of the time (or lack of) they have to act… or that maybe their impending happiness shouldn’t wait any longer… or that your stock will soon run out.

You’ve got to make it look like the best time to get your product is now – and that they’re doing themselves a disservice if they don’t buy right away. You can play with some loss aversion – like limited-time offers or deals so they feel silly if they miss out too.

“The Motivator” Close example, including an anxiety-reducer beneath the button. Credit: Moqups

In all close cases, your crosshead should be compelling and focused on their dream state. 

And for the body copy, if you’ve got lots of products, direct them to the product page where they can browse all. Or, if you have a core service or product you want to push, you can ask for the sale here instead.

Close example encouraging the reader to continue their journey. Credit: Later

Section 10: Proof Bar 3

And then as your final section, one final proof bar. You see, around any moment of taking action or making a decision (like during the Close), indecisiveness and doubt spike. So, to settle things, we need proof.

Generally, this bar uses awards, logos of companies you’ve worked with, or places you’ve featured – credibility boosters. You can also use guarantees. 

Of course, if you don’t have any of these to use, you can use reviews or a form of social proof again. Just make it clear in the crosshead that this is a proof section.

Clever use of social proof showing Instagram content beneath the Close. Credit: Huel

Job done. Let’s edit.

Step 3: Editing your home page

Okay, and that’s your homepage written. Congratulations. Now, I’m going to teach you how to edit. This is very important and shouldn’t be skimmed over. 

Here are some guidelines to help make your editing process as smooth as silk.

Read your copy aloud

Copy that sounds good out loud reads well inside. Always read your copy out loud to make sure it flows well.

Vary sentence length

If you do the step above and read out loud, a varying sentence length will come more naturally. Tools like the Hemingway App can be really helpful in highlighting long sentences. (Remember, short sentences are much easier to read and understand!)

Vary crosshead length

A page that looks repetitive loses interest. Pay attention to how your copy looks and vary your crosshead length to keep your potential customer engaged. If you’ve used 7-word crossheads, try a 1-word crosshead, for example. Or if you’ve used a 2 word crosshead, try a 2 line crosshead. 

Use “low effort” language

Words that seem like a lot of effort push people away. You want your potential customer to expend minimal effort reading your copy and keep their energy towards internalising your message. 

Don’t waste potential persuasion with complex language.

Examples include: 

  • Utilise → Use
  • Experiment → Try
  • Acquire → Get

Check for compliance

You should never say anything dishonest or illegal. Make sure you check all your claims and promises, and you’re allowed to say what you’re saying.

Line breaks and font size

Similar to the above, how your body copy looks also changes the appearance of your website. Big blocks of text put your reader off (it seems like too much effort). So, every 2-4 lines include a line break. Or keep your sections short and break them up with visual props. 

A common (but misguided) approach is to adjust your font size to make it look less daunting. And whilst in some ways this is OK, you don’t want your reader straining to read your copy. Let the smallest size you use be 12pt.

Use CTVs over CTAs

Your penultimate check/adjustment focuses on your buttons. For your home page, you can use what’s called “call to value” buttons (vs call to action). 

It’s easier if I give you an example and then explain why. 

Turn boring buttons into micro-commitments

This works by encouraging your reader to make a micro-commitment. In other words, it helps to keep them sold on the value you provide. It also acts as a motivator to want the transformation you’re offering. Keep them end-benefit/value prop focused.

But for closer-to-transaction buttons, keep these as conventional CTAs – for example, on complete purchase pages. 

You should use language similar to your crosshead, or at the very least your body copy.

Check the flow

And then finally, check everything all the way through. Make sure all your points logically flow together. The structure you’ve followed should get you most of the way, but make sure everything you’ve said makes sense. A fresh pair of eyes are worth a lot here.

Conclusion

And that’s your lot. You’ve now got a fully functional, conversion-optimised home page – or a very strong start point, at the very least. Remember, you can always improve it. Optimisations are iterative, so keep developing, testing and improving. Try the things that don’t make sense. Break the rules. Run wild. Sometimes you don’t know what’s going to work until you try it. That includes design elements, too.

Anyway, you now know the role of the home page, its challenges, how to structure one (and why), how to write one and then how to edit one. Now, go get ‘em.

Or, if you need me to help you personally, I’m here. Or, to learn more about my website copywriting services, click me.

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