Rewrite the Content for a Website Intro Section … And You Could Earn $200!
Who’s ready for a paid freelance web copywriting job?
If you are … keep reading because I have a Challenge for you.
You’re going to fix a website’s homepage that’s missing the right information for its visitors.
And, if your new content is one of the best three submissions, we’re going to award you $200.
Not a bad payday for a simple web copy makeover!
We’re doing this because we want you to have immediate, hands-on experience with writing web content that WORKS, so you can help countless clients with your skills.
And we want you to have that experience TODAY. Plus, you’ll end up with a solid piece of web copy for your portfolio.
We’ve done these Writing Challenges a couple of times before with different types of writing projects, and HUNDREDS of people have taken part. It’s fun!
A team of us here at AWAI gets involved in judging all the submissions, and it’s amazing to see so much great writing.
And yes, we DO send out those $200 prizes!
Here’s How It Works …
First, keep reading.
I’m going to brief you on the project, just like a real client would.
Then, I’ll explain how to write web page copy that brings in more traffic and sales … which is a highly valuable skill you can offer clients.
Finally, once you’ve written your copy and gone through a few drafts to make it the best it can be, you’ll submit it to us (instructions below).
Think about it. It’s a great opportunity to get a sense of what it feels like to be given a brief to write web copy for a real client — and identify gaps you can fix on any website.
Are you with me? I hope so.
Let’s get started …
Here’s Your Brief …
Your Challenge is to rewrite the homepage web copy for GreenerGarden(dot)com; just the “above the fold” area (that first screen people see on their computers when landing on this page). NOTE: This is not a real website or domain. It’s a sample for this Writing Challenge.
See the image below to understand what’s there now:
- The company logo at the top, in the header (also known as the masthead) along with contact information at the top (very small)
- A little bit of navigation: Meet Our Team, Our Services, Book Online
- Headline: (missing … this only has the name of the practice: Greener Garden Landscaping)
- A subhead: Quality Lawn Care You Can Trust
- Body copy that says this:
“Our focus at Greener Garden Landscaping is to deliver an experience unlike any other landscaper. Check out Our Services to find out the ‘essentials plus’ services we have to offer to complement our garden-landscaping care.”
- And, a call-to-action button: Request an Estimate.
That’s everything a visitor will see “above the fold” on a typical laptop, before scrolling down the page.
Why is this “above the fold” area so important?
It’s the first content visitors see, creating an instant first impression.
Statistics show that website visitors decide within just 3-8 seconds whether to stick around or hit the back button … so that first impression is critical.
If a web page doesn’t include vital, clear information the visitor needs, it’s losing business. (This happens every day, by the way.)
This sample website has a few problems we’d like you to fix with a content makeover.
- First, we don’t have any idea where the business is located. Since a landscaping business is likely to be a local business serving customers in a local area, it’s important to make it obvious in the content: this is where we are, and who we serve. More on this in a moment.
- Second, there’s no inviting or engaging headline. There’s simply the name of the company. There’s no wonderful solution, relief, desired outcome, or anything that would inspire the visitor.
- Next, the subhead, “Quality Lawn Care You Can Trust” is generic and not specific to the amazing landscaping outcome or end result a customer can enjoy with this company. There’s no copy that helps the visitor picture getting quality care and remarkable enjoyment from their surroundings.
- The body copy is very generic, stating “an experience unlike any other landscaper. Check out Our Services to find out the ‘essentials plus’ services.” Sadly, it doesn’t really say what this means; how they’re unlike any other and will solve the visitor’s needs in a unique and powerful way.
Turn this vague, ho-hum, and locally invisible web page into appealing copy that’s a first-impression winner, leading to interest and action.
How will you turn this into MUCH better content?
1. Start by knowing the client’s offering and business mission.
Your client should give you some briefing information like this, whatever you’re going to be writing (you can also ask for it):
The Company Name: Greener Garden Landscaping (I made the name up, but it’s based on a real website). For purposes of this Challenge, let’s say the business is located in Raleigh, North Carolina; serving customers within a 30 to 45-mile radius of Raleigh-Durham.
Target Audience: People in the Raleigh area, looking to transform their garden/lawn/landscape into something they’d be proud of; a beautiful, hassle-free “paradise.” They’re specifically looking for a reputable landscaping company located near them.
Product: Based on the current homepage web content, this company offers “Quality Lawn Care You Can Trust.” What they don’t say is that their experts combine expected “essential garden and lawn-care services” with a “genius array of ideas that preserve water use and reduce upkeep.”
- A combined approach to landscaping, including the customer’s lawn and garden
- Addresses both the essential services (mowing, blowing, edging, seeding, feeding, etc.) as well as ideas for a more eco-friendly approach and easier upkeep
- Quality care
- Trusted care
- Unique ideas that preserve water use and reduce upkeep
What’s unique: Based on the current content, an experience “unlike any other landscaper” means that the company delivers a combined approach to landscaping that’s unique. (We can assume most companies only focus on the essential, expected care.) However, it’s not clear how this unique approach will ultimately help the customer enjoy a fabulous landscape for their home and be the envy of their neighbors. Plus, it’s not clear that this is a unique offering in Raleigh-Durham.
Benefits: We’d like you to come up with the benefits. This will involve some online research to determine how this company’s features turn into benefits for the customer looking for terrific landscape services. There is LOADS of information online about landscaping measures that save water, deliver minimal upkeep, create a beautiful setting that’s also eco-friendly, etc. This is where you can pull in benefits and get creative to write exciting, beneficial copy.
2. Be familiar with three main aspects of web page copy that WORKS.
These three best practices give you a solid starting point for this Writing Challenge.
- Clear: In just seconds, you should be able to tell what the company is, what it offers the visitor, why it’s an excellent option to solve the visitor’s specific need. Since this Challenge is for a LOCAL business, your content also needs to include local information: something called the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone). The NAP is what people look for when searching locally, to help them determine, “Is this a great place near me?” Location makes a big difference, especially in a major city, because a prospect in north Durham (for instance) may prefer to work with a nearby company, especially if there’s a nursery visit involved to choose plants, etc. So, the street address needs to be quickly visible.
- Customer-focused: The copy is 100% written to the visitor (the prospect or potential customer from the Raleigh-Durham area). It has a personal tone directed at the individual; ideally in a conversational style as if you’re talking to a prospect in person in a coffee shop. It’s not about how great the company is; it’s how the company solves “your” need!
Competitive and conversion-optimized: This landscaping company certainly has competition in the greater Raleigh-Durham area. If you search online to find a local landscaper there, you’ll see many websites in the search results. Take a look at each one and consider: how does Greener Garden Landscape stand apart as the best option out there? What can you say, on the website’s homepage, that instantly sets them apart from other options in Raleigh-Durham?
And then … conversion means prospects DO something after visiting the website. You want to make sure the homepage copy converts visitors into appointments or other inquiries, or at least have them follow their Facebook page or get a free guide or something. Yes, the current website has “Request an Estimate,” but is that compelling enough? Could something else be more inviting?
Here’s a pretty good example of a local business website that follows all three best practices. It’s a website for an landscaper in Austin (and Houston). (Believe it or not, it’s really, really hard to find a website that covers all three best practices! I looked at two dozen websites before finding one, which means there’s a LOT of opportunity for you as a web copywriter and consultant.)
Why is it a decent example?
- First, the locations and phone numbers are visible on every page, at the top. Even though there aren’t street addresses, at least the cities and phone numbers are helpful. Again, many local websites lack this important information!
- It’s customer-focused, with a nice promise speaking to the individual visitor: “Experience the great outdoors at home.” It helps the visitor visualize a wonderful environment.
- And, it’s competitive when it hints at why a Maven design is the best: “Surround your home with a stunning landscape designed and built by Maven.”
- Finally, it has two calls-to-action: Request an Estimate at the top, and Get Started in the main content area.
Sure, there could be a little more intro copy to set this landscaper apart from other options in Austin. But this is pretty good for covering the basics (which many, many local sites don’t do, from what I’ve seen).
Now that you know the main aspects of web pages that work, let’s get writing!
Your task for this Challenge:
1. Write the NAP for the header.
Add the address (you can make up a Raleigh address) and a phone number (anything you’d like).
2. Write a new headline.
Make it a solution promise that also includes the word Raleigh … that would be ideal. Make sure it’s unique and specific! (Not just “quality care,” but something that’s more of a picture; a desirable outcome.)
3. Write a “solution-focused” subhead.
Support the main promise with a second line that speaks to the unique solution the company offers. It could even be a very short testimonial from one of the company’s customers.
4. Write some short, competitive body copy.
Include a few competitive “why choose this company?” bullets or a short paragraph … always leading with the benefits of choosing this company. Let’s say 50 words maximum for the body copy.
5. Include text for a call-to-action (CTA) button:
Provide one clear, beneficial call-to-action that invites the visitor to DO something they’d value: it could be “Request an Estimate,” but you might go further with a value message such as, “Request a Free Estimate and ‘What to Ask Your Landscaper’ Guide.” (As an example.)
How to Research and Prepare
Go to Google and search for landscaping/garden services in Raleigh-Durham. Based on the websites that show up, study their homepages.
Take notes. Get a feel for what the different sites have to say.
You may find that many of them suffer from the same issues as our sample website. It’s a common problem! I looked through dozens of local business websites throughout the U.S. before finding the decent example I posted here. Many, many websites don’t have the local NAP or any inviting message “above the fold.”
Once you’ve looked at a few local competition sites, move on and research the “unique approach” mentioned in the current website’s copy:
There is LOADS of information online about landscaping measures that save water, deliver minimal upkeep, create a beautiful setting that’s also eco-friendly, etc.
See if you can find out what this truly means when it comes to helping a customer find a company that can deliver a gorgeous landscape that needs minimal upkeep.
In other words, do homework that makes you a hero to the client! During your research, you’ll discover great ideas you can write for your client.
This is how it goes with real clients at a basic level. They give you a briefing, then you do your own research too, digging deeper and immersing yourself in the product or service.
Pro Tips for Making Your Homepage Copy a Big Wow
Once you’ve done all that research, you might think it’s time to start writing.
Not so fast!
That’s just Step One.
Step Two is to immerse yourself in the lives of your prospects.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself as someone who’s unhappy with their current landscape and would love to be proud of their lawn and garden as a neighborhood showpiece.
Now consider, what’s motivating the prospect and why are they searching NOW?
Are they motivated simply by the idea of beauty and serenity? Or being the envy of their neighbors? Or, instead, maybe it’s FINALLY pulling into the driveway and seeing the landscape of their dreams; it’s their paradise.
Not sure how to answer those questions?
Here’s a special pro tip for you …
Go back to Google and search for forums related to landscaping. For instance, I searched “landscaping forum” and found several online forums that answer questions about trees, shrubs, ornamentals, hardscapes, etc.
THAT’S where you get to know how it feels to be in your prospects’ shoes.
Totally immerse yourself in those questions and different answers. Get a feel for the words (and even emotions) people use when talking about choosing the right plants, reducing water use in the garden, knowing how to choose a landscaper, and how some have found help.
Do that and THEN you’ll be ready to start writing.
Remember … a website’s homepage is often the first impression potential customers have with a business. You need to provide a wow solution in just seconds.
And finally … remember that the prospects for this Challenge are in the Raleigh area. The web copy should be obvious that the Greener Garden Landscaping is in Raleigh, and it’s easy to reach them.
One More Important Tip
As you do this exercise, consider it as practice on how to review ANY website for the three main basics of web homepage copy that WORKS: Clear, Customer-focused, and Competitive (with a call-to-action).
Imagine the value this will bring to ANY web client!
Most websites could use a Site Content Audit and copy makeover, to improve how it works. So this is way more than a writing contest; it’s showing you how to wow any web client with a smart review of the content.
There Are Two Rules
First rule …
Only submit your own, original work. No copying text from other websites!
Remember, the real value here lies in the practice, and in having a piece of writing for your portfolio.
Second rule …
You have a deadline. There’s always a deadline!
We will cut off entries at 11:59 p.m. ET on November 27, 2020.
We’ll announce the three winners in The Writer’s Life. When? That depends on the number of entries. But we should have our winners selected within a couple of weeks.
Your submission needs to be dated by 11:59 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020.
Submit your entry here:
Only one entry per person.
To recap what you’re submitting:
- The NAP for the header (The business name, address, phone)
- A new headline
- A “solution focused” subhead
- Short, competitive body copy (up to 50 words maximum)
- Short text for a call-to-action button
Remember, following the guidelines from a client is very important, so any submissions that do not follow these guidelines will be removed from consideration.
I look forward to seeing your copy makeover!
Site Audits Made Simple: Consult Your Way to Lucrative Web Copywriting Projects
Pam Foster reveals how you can make as much as $2,500 auditing websites while setting yourself up for even bigger web copywriting projects. Learn More »