OK so here are three reasons you would open the conversation with a potential new client by saying “Welcome to my website”…
(substitute your company name for ‘my website’)
- You don’t know what else to say.
- You didn’t hire a copywriter.
- Your reputation precedes you – you’re already a big cheese in your niche so you don’t need to attract new clients with copy that sparkles or chase any keywords to bolster your flagging SEO.
I’ll make an assumption: you’re not Apple or Google or an internet marketing ‘guru’ with a 100K followers on Twitter. You’re a small business with tight margins and you need your website to deliver by making every word, every image work to support your business aims.
So is your website the copy-written marketing tool it needs to be?
It all begins with words and for 99% of small businesses “Welcome to my website” is the verbal equivalent of the stock image. It’s a generic false smile that in attempting to please everyone says nothing and pleases no one. You may as well be speaking Japanese!
Here’s the thing: as a visitor to your site I don’t want welcoming because actually I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about you or your website.
Sounds brutal, right?
But that’s the reality. I don’t want welcoming, I want my problem solved so your opening headline must at least indicate that you might be able to do that or guess what…I’m outta there baby!
It’s nothing personal. Because I’m not dealing with a person. I’m dealing with a piece of technology…that I expect to help me get to a better place than I’m currently in. Whether you’re offering a product, a service or information…the job of your website is to make me feel better, asap.
Check out some Evidence-Based User Experience Research
Users often leave Web pages in 10-20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer […] How long will users stay on a Web page before leaving? It’s a perennial question, yet the answer has always been the same:
Not very long. The average page visit lasts a little less than a minute.
As users rush through Web pages, they have time to read only a quarter of the text on the pages they actually visit (let alone all those they don’t).
So, unless your writing is extraordinarily clear and focused, little of what you say on your website will get through to customers.
– Nielsen Norman Group
Try another angle: if my plumbing screws up do you think I’ll be going to Google and typing in ‘welcome to my website’.
I’ll be typing, ‘plumber south london broken tap’. And if your headline reads; ‘Family plumbers: We’ve been fixing broken taps in South London since 1799’ well not only will Google wrap you up and deliver you to my browser window, it’s all the welcome I need! I’ll be all over your wonderful website like a rash. I might even stay a while if you have a good story, and read your testimonials over a cup of Earl Grey, before picking up the phone and making a date with your broken tap expert!
So I know what you’re thinking…
“I’m not a fucking plumber, I’m an artist, I make stuff that pleasures people from the inside out!”
Well do you know how many people are making that dubious claim now? Search Twitter for ‘artist’ and see what comes back. It’s a jungle out there and if your stock in trade is images guess what’ll get you your best return: words. Say who you are, what you do and why you’d rather have your toenails pulled by aliens than give it up and you’ll not just get a few retweets you’ll get people who actually want to connect with you, fans no less…
And you know what else..? Your rivals are not doing it.
You haven’t got to ‘welcome’ to be welcoming. You’re better than that… get creative with the words you have because it’s odds on your competition won’t be.