The Importance of Product Descriptions for Online Retailers

The prospect of writing multiple product descriptions for your e-commerce website can seem a daunting task. Can you get away with a few bullet points or is it worth allocating time to showcase each item in your range?

Product Descriptions that Convince Customers to Make a Purchase

When a customer enters a physical store, all senses are employed to hunt down their purchases. They can be attracted by shop displays and fabulous packaging design. They can lift, handle and feel the product. They might be able to try it out, watch a demonstration or try it on.

The shop can control the ambience with carefully positioned lighting, background music and pleasant aromas. These all contribute to an environment that entices buyers.

Online shops have to rely on visual impact. Shoppers are deciding on the purchases based on written product descriptions, small images and customer reviews. Skip on this content and you’ve nothing to convince them to buy. Would you part with your money when all you had seen was a vague image, a product name and price?

Preparing Product Descriptions

Use High -definition Images

A quick snapshot on your phone is not going to cut it. You need a professional photographer with the equipment and aesthetic understanding to showcase your products in the best light. Yes, this comes at a cost, but it will greatly improve your chances of boosting sales, so you’ll get a return on this investment.

Ideally, photograph each product from various angles and if possible, provide a sense of scale. Multiple images help the shopper to understand if the product fits their requirements.

Write Descriptive Copy

When writing product descriptions, put yourself in the customers’ shoes. What would help them to make an informed decision? You need to include features, however, extend this to share the benefits of these features.

Use the terms shoppers are likely to search for in the product title. This helps customers to find what they are looking for. It also helps the search engines to match the page with relevant searches, which will drive more traffic to your pages.

Whilst you want to include keywords, ensure that they occur in the natural flow of the text; the descriptions need to be readable. On this point, use plain English and keep sentences and paragraphs short.

Finally, consider your audience and ensure that the tone of the product descriptions fit the reader and are consistent with your brand.

Include Customer Reviews

Providing reviews from customers who have purchased the product is an asset. Shoppers trust customer reviews and they provide valuable information that influences their decision.

You might sign up to a review platform, such as Feefo or Trustpilot to help keep the reviews on your website current. This does mean that unfavourable reviews will be shown. If you are quick to respond in a polite, problem-solving manner, this need not be detrimental. Many customers will value this transparency and it could help to build trust.

Writing Product Descriptions

I’ve recently started writing product descriptions for a new client. Like most e-commerce businesses, their range evolves, so although they prepared product descriptions when the website was launched, there are inconsistencies. Some items have full descriptions, whilst others have little more than an image. It was time to update their web page content!

As someone new to the product range, they invited me to the office to see a selection of items before I wrote about them. This was a great opportunity to ask questions, look in detail and consider what customers might want to know. You may find that telling someone from outside your industry about your products proves an insightful exercise.

In Summary

High-definition imagery and detailed written descriptions convince customers to make a purchase and also support search engine optimisation. These are essential factors for e-commerce success, so it is worth the time spent on creating them.

Try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and give them the information that convinces them to ‘add to cart’.


Words & Images in Harmony: Interior Design Website Copy

This article explores why website copy is essential if you want your business to be found online. I also share two interior design websites that I have worked on this year.

Interior designers create beautiful spaces that present aspirational lifestyles to homeowners, visitors and employees. They know how to deliver a vision, with impact. They understand how to balance colour, shape, light, space and texture. As such, they can create stunning websites.

The challenge for such a visual profession is that they often want a portfolio website. Full of professional photography, images showcase their talents and distinct style. Words are secondary and, in many cases, designers would love to keep written website content to a minimum.

Website Copy & Search Engine Optimisation

A visual website, with just a few lines of text, is very unlikely to get noticed. If lead generation comes from other marketing strategies, this may not be an issue. However, if you want to be found online, then the web page content has to include text.

When preparing website copy, I see it as a triangle. You have to approach it from three distinct perspectives:

  • Grabbing the interest of your target customers
  • Using words and phrases the search engines will be seeking (keywords and related terms)
  • Effectively communicating your message

When an internet search is made, the search engine bots scan millions of web pages to find a match. This does include tags on images, but the best chance of delivering relevant results comes from the page copy.

With billions of web pages to choose between, competition is high. If the written content on web pages is sparse, it is unlikely to be ranked in the listings. For this reason, 300 words are the absolute minimum that should be included. In SEO terms, that is thin content.

How to Make Website Copy Less like an Essay

If you prefer images to words, this sounds like a lot of text to fit on each page. The trick is to break it up in the following ways:

  • Design the layout of the website to separate chunks of text
  • Include sub-headings through the text
  • Use bullets when listing key points
  • Incorporate testimonials or a mission statement part way through the page

This approach makes it easier for visitors to skim read and navigate quickly to the information that they are seeking.

Examples of Interior Design Website Copy

I have been fortunate to provide website content writing services for two interior designers this year. One is a recently launched business, the other is more established.

Amberley Studio

Amberley Studio is a business in its infancy, but already working on creating interiors for homes, student accommodation and a newly-built apartment block. Owner Alix took on the challenge of building her website, employing a professional photographer to produce the images and asked me to write the copy.

I’ve seen Alix’s home and was excited to play a small part in getting this new enterprise up and running.

Alix was hesitant about including a lot of text, so we built it up by detailing her portfolio case studies. This information outlines her response to a brief. The large images still dominate the page but combined with the written copy, it helps visitors to understand her approach and style.

“I absolutely love it. It amazes me that I can write you some notes and then you spin that into a comprehensive piece of text. You have managed to make the content professional but still sound like me, which is exactly what I was after and I love how you have organised my services.”

– Alix Stoney

Alix plans to add a blog to her website. This will provide another way to add text that ticks the SEO box, whilst providing information of interest to site visitors.

Petina Julius Interiors

As part of a rebranding project, Petina Julius Interiors wanted to upgrade its website. Petina had a strong partnership with a professional photographer, had selected a web designer and asked me to prepare the website copy. I had collaborated with Petina in the past and understood her unique style and focus on biophilic interior design.

“‘It was important for me to get good content together as well as to fit in with the overall look and feel of my new website.  Content writing is not my strong point and enlisting Catherine’s services has certainly taken a load off my shoulders. She captured the essence and natural tone of my personality and interpreted that brilliantly into what I needed. I would highly recommend Catherine’s friendly, helpful service.”

– Petina Julius

Petina recognised the need for pages brimming with imagery and text, yet wanted to retain a sense of harmony and calm. Each page contains a lot of information, yet due to the way the web designer has divided up the page, it is beautiful rather than cluttered or wordy.

Getting the Balance Right

Even with impressive photography, video and graphics, a website still relies on a match between search criteria and page copy to be found and ranked by the search engines. By breaking up the text and getting the balance right, it is possible to include plenty of words without compromising visual impact.


Readability: Writing Accessible Content

Do potential customers understand your business offer?

The first port of call for many prospects is your company website and they are looking for solutions. Your website content plays a vital role in giving prospects insight and answers. This is important, because it enables them to make informed choices.

In this article, I will explain why accessibility is important. I will also help you to assess whether your website content is accessible.

Website Accessibility

We will begin with the word ‘accessibility’. It is widely associated with being able to get into, and move around, physical premises. So, what has this got to do with website content?

To answer that question, here is the dictionary definition of accessibility:

“The quality of being able to be reached and entered, easy to obtain or use and easily understood and appreciated”

In summary, accessibility is about empowering others to get what they need.

A website is more accessible when the content is easy to read and understand. In contrast, complex words, industry terms and acronyms, compromise readability. Rather than enlightening the reader, this  confuses and frustrates them. As a result, they will look elsewhere.

What are the Three Barriers to Readability?

Three reasons why website visitors may struggle to understand your written content are:

  1. Legibility – physically seeing the words on the page

Legibility can be compromised if:

  • The text on the page is too small
  • The contrast between the colour of the text and the background is not strong
  • Text is presented on top of an image
  1. Readability – reducing the complexity of words and sentence structure

Readability can be challenging if:

  • The text includes industry jargon
  • A dictionary is required to understand the meaning of words
  • Sentences are long
  1. Comprehension – understanding what is being said

Comprehension is difficult if:

  • There are no clear answers to common questions
  • Data and features are not supported by applications, case studies or customer reviews
  • Readability is poor

Improving Readability

Are you ready to take action? If so, the following 5 steps will help to improve website content readability:

  • Firstly, explain all technical terms, abbreviations or acronyms
  • Secondly, divide written content into sections with subheadings. (Breaking up the text allows readers to skim to sections of relevance to them)
  • Then, split long sentences
  • Next, replace complex words familiar words
  • Finally, use bullet points to summarise key points

Tools including Readable are another option for checking your company website.

Turning Prospects into Customers

Being ranked on the top page of Google is an aspiration for most business owners. To this end, it is recommended that webpage content exceeds 400 words. This can look like an essay, so how can readability be improved? The answer is in the presentation.

These tips will help you to get the presentation right:

Introduce your Offer

Use the Main Heading and Introduction to summarise your offer. Your prospects need to immediately see something relevant to their search.

Use Subheadings and Visual Content

Divide the bulk of the text into sections. Then use white space, images and infographics to aid presentation.

Drop Down Sections are Effective

A short paragraph is sufficient for some readers, but others want more. Use drop-down buttons, such as ‘Read More’ to expand the content and address both needs.

Include Internal Links

Include links to other relevant pages on your website for further information. This could include Frequently Asked Questions, case studies or shipping information.

Share your Customer Testimonials

Do you have a customer testimonial for the specific product or service on each page? If so, share it, as this adds value to the visitor and content to the page.

Interesting and well-presented content will encourage visitors to read more. As a result, they gain a better understanding of your offer and your company becomes more approachable. This increases the likelihood of prospects becoming customers.

I can assist with web page copy, simply email to discuss your requirements. I will prepare written content that delivers your message and appeals to customers.



Any Advice on Website Content?

Furlough has provided many with the time to realise long-held ambitions. Online forums are filled with questions about the different aspects of starting a business. From business bank accounts and e-commerce platforms to marketing tips and website content, shared advice is helping many to feel positive about the future.

A good friend has been studying Interior Design, building a portfolio and gaining practical experience in a construction company. She has been preparing to launch her own business for years. Weeks without work have been used productively and she got in touch.

Her initial thoughts were to create a simple website. As she responds better to images than text, she planned to keep wording to a minimum. She asked if I have any advice on what should be included in the text and if writing a blog was necessary.

Below is my advice. I thought it could be useful information for anyone setting up a business and considering website content.

Website Planning

Before you start work on the website, it is advisable to undertake some serious research.

Customer Focused Content

Setting up a business means that you need to plan everything from the perspective of your ideal customer. The reality is, it isn’t about what you want, it is all about what they want! So, you need to get in their head and work out what will sell your services to them.

I would suggest you start by answering these questions:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What do they read?
  • Why do they want the (goods or) services you will offer?
  • Why don’t they (make it or) do it themselves?
  • What would convince them to make you a contender?
  • What barriers might prevent them from placing an order?
  • Are there barriers which might prevent them from employing you specifically?
  • What are their expectations?

I know it is especially tricky at the moment, but it is insightful if you can find ways to get into their world (the places they visit) and their heads (the online groups they join, articles they read…). What is influencing their decisions?

If you want to take this further, this article on Neil Patel’s site provides more insight in how to understand your customers.

It might be that you have more than one ideal customer, so this activity should be repeated.

What is the Competition Offering?

You also need to suss out the competition. Who are your online competitors? (in her case Interior Designers in her geographical location, but also kitchen fitters/home furnishing stores who offer a design service).

  • What does their website look like?
  • Which pages have they got on their website?
  • What information are they sharing?

You do not want to replicate their websites, but it is useful to see who you are up against and what they offer. You can learn from their mistakes and improve on the bits that they have got right!

The Purpose of the Website

The next step is to seriously consider what you want your website to do.

  • Is it simply a stylish catalogue of your work?
  • Do you want people to find it online?
  • Do you want it to operate as a sales tool?
  • Would it be helpful if it enabled you to create a list of interested contacts?
  • Will it provide useful information to customers?

Website Content

Every business offer and every target market is different. When it comes to the design and content of your website, there is no set formula.

It is only when you have the answers to these questions, that a website developer can build a site that works for your company. It is only then that you can plan the website content – not around what you want, but what the customer is looking for.

With the answers to these questions, it is possible to make informed decisions about:

  • Whether a low-cost DIY website is better value than paying a professional to design your web pages
  • If Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important
  • What content to include on your pages
  • Whether a regular blog writing will benefit your business or distract from other tasks

She is now working through these questions. This exercise will help me to provide her with useful advice and it could also help her with other marketing strategies. I hope it will help you too. Just remember that you only have a business if you have customers, so your website content has to meet their needs, rather than yours.

Writing Website Content

Are your time and skills are better spent on other areas of the business set up or development? If writing website copy, content planning or creating blogs is not your forte, I can help you to move the project forward. For further information, please email

written text on mobile

Is Written Content Still Important in 2020?

Over the last decade, content writers have focused on keyword-rich text on web pages and in blogs. As we move into a new decade, is this approach still relevant?

A growing number of clients are asking me to minimise the text. They have seen the statistics that show that video is a preferred medium for website visitors. They know that mobile-first website design means short, concise messages that are ideal for the small screen.

So, is 2020 the year that I have to give up being a freelance copywriter? Thankfully not.

It seems that written content still has an important role to play in showcasing expertise, authority and trust. Google is still giving value to the words on your web pages and in your blogs, especially when that content is customer-focused.

What Changes are Affecting Content Writing?

Voice Search

It is estimated that, by the end of 2020, 50% of search queries will be spoken, not typed. When typing, we tend to keep the query short; ‘copywriter Aylesbury’, but we use a lot more words and ask more questions when speaking; ‘Who can I get to write my business blogs in Aylesbury?’.
With an idea of the questions being asked, there is a great opportunity to respond with useful, informative content. This benefits your customers and your Google rank.

Intent Marketing

Another change to keywords is that Google is moving away from direct keyword matching, in favour of intent marketing.

In the past, copywriters have needed to include keywords in the text for SEO purposes. Advancing technology means that Google is better able to identify whether page text and blogs provide an appropriate response to a search query. For this reason, there is expected to be a shift towards topic-focused content.

Consumer First Marketing

Businesses marketing is all about delivering what the customer wants. This takes priority over pushing out messages that the company wishes to share.

With an objective perspective, content writers can see the business through the eyes of the customer. They can undertake customer research to find out what is important to this target group in 2020. A subtle shift in angle could transform engagement.

Writing for Mobile-First Websites

I mentioned in the introduction that there was a growing demand for concise copy for mobile-first websites. The user experience on a small screen is certainly an important consideration. Although clear, succinct copywriting is great for mobile devices, it leaves little room for gaining trust and proving the expertise and authority of your brand.

Mobile-first means starting with a tight design that works on mobile devices, but building on this to create a full screen, desktop website. Added content should be added, both to pages and through blog writing. This will help to differentiate your company from the competition.

Video, Photography, Infographics and Written Content

Many of us prefer to consume information through visual media. A strong infographic, a powerful image or a well-edited video can speak a thousand words. Ideally, a website will include the presentation of content in a range of forms; each reinforcing a coherent message.

How Do I Ensure my Company is Found Online?

For now, the search engines still rely on written content to understand the relevance of your web pages to search queries. For this reason, video scripts and page copy still have a vital part to play if you want your products and services to be found online.

Regular blog writing is not a quick win. It will take time to see the results but patience is a virtue. According to Hubspot, websites with blogs generate an average of 67% more leads than those without. They also have considerably more indexed pages in the search engines, boosting the chances of their pages appearing in the search listing.

A freelance copywriter can help you to create web page content or blogs which meet the requirements of your business, your customers and the search engines. With an understanding of your business objectives, your target audience and search engine optimisation, they can help you to engage with potential customers.

If you are looking for an Aylesbury copywriter, please get in touch:


Writing for the Web

Writing for the web is a little different from other forms of correspondence. If you were to write a letter, it would be addressed and sent to the recipient. They would know it was for them. On the internet, they need to find your message and recognise that it is more relevant to them than all of the other messages that are available.

As a freelance copywriter, I visualise writing for the web as a triangle. I have to balance the requirements of the company, the target customer and the search engines.

Common Challenges of Writing for the Web

The challenges are writing for the web can be illustrated by the Family Law pages of two solicitor websites that I have come across.

Content on Family Law Page of Website One

This read along the lines of:

“Our experienced family law solicitors are aware of the financial and emotional cost that family proceedings can bring. Timely, focused legal advice can be crucial in cases of:
• Divorce and Separation
• Paternity and Parental Responsibility Issues
• Adoption Proceedings
• Domestic Violence and Injunctions”
(and the list extended to cover every other element of family law).

Now, this clearly states what they offer, but my first question is, how does this differ from the message that any other family law solicitors are sending out?

The content is full of keywords that people might search for and included geographical location, which can help them to be found online. However, when someone reaches their web page, it is impersonal. Despite stating that individuals needing their service are likely to have financial concerns and be in an emotional state of mind, they have not addressed this in the written content.

What is more, the list was so long that it was overwhelming. If you were going through a separation or divorce, do you need to speak to have a separate meeting to discuss parental responsibility? How much is that going to cost?

Content on the Family Law Page of Website Two

The second was at the opposite end of the spectrum:

“As an established firm, our committed team have earned a reputation for providing responsive and caring advice.

We offer all new clients a free 30-minute consultation. In this session, we ascertain your situation and advise on how we can use our expertise to help you. We recognise that this is a stressful time, so to get the most from this consultation, it can be beneficial to note down any key points in advance.”

It continued in this caring tone, which addresses the emotional and financial concerns by providing a clear idea of what to expect.

The issue in this example was that no relevant keywords could be found on the page. There was no mention of ‘divorce solicitors’ ‘legal advice’ ‘parental rights in a relationship breakdown’ or any other words or phrases that someone needing their services would search for.

Updating Website Copy

Both of these solicitors were in the process of upgrading their websites. As part of this process, they asked me to review the existing page content and provide feedback. I was then involved in creating fresh copy for the web pages; balancing the requirements of the company, the target customer and the search engines.


Business Story Telling

As a freelance copywriter, I like to meet my clients in person. My aim is to gain a deeper understanding of their business values and to uncover the story behind their service. Why is this important for creating web page content?

Barry Scott or Levi Roots – Who would you, buy from?

Marketing used to be about your products. Maximise exposure, blast the message out across the media and come up with a catchy tune that no one could get out of their head.

Let’s call this the Barry Scott approach. It’s loud, in your face and quite frankly annoying. Cillit Bang – ‘BANG and the dirt is gone’. Whilst I remember the slogan and can picture the bright purple bottle, I have no intention of making a purchase.

Marketing is now about connecting with your customers, providing what they want and telling your story and engaging on a more personal level. It’s a shopping experience.

Let’s call this the Levi Roots approach. Levi is one of the Dragon’s Den success stories. Peter Jones didn’t invest in the bottles of sauce; he invested in Levi’s story and his personality because he knew this was what consumers want. In Levi, we gain the tale of bottling his grandma’s secret recipe, the colours and flavours of the Caribbean and a twist of Reggae music – ‘Put some music in your food’. It’s a tempting combination.

Standing out from the Competition

The internet has transformed marketing. No matter what products or services you offer, the competition is only a click away. What differentiates you from everyone else with an identical menu of services or product range is your story and your reputation.

A business story doesn’t need to be highly emotive or personal, but take a moment to think back. Why did you set the business up in the first place?

There must have been a reason to step off the ‘safe’ path, to move away from someone employing you, sorting out your tax, contributing towards your pension and paying a steady salary. Were you:

  • Able to spot a gap in the market?
  • Full of spark and read to break free from restrictions?
  • Desperate for a better work/life balance?
  • Willing to put out all the stops and reap the rewards?

There may be many other reasons why being your own boss was appealing and this is the start of your story.

Underpinning Business Values

Was your business formed through the development of a new product or did you see an opportunity to enhance the customer experience?

When you set up a company, you can’t simply copy another business and hope to win customers. There has to be a plan of how you can offer something that the competitors aren’t. This typically feeds into your company values. Did you intend to:

  • Reduce environmental impact?
  • Focus on exceptional customer service?
  • Approach business with a modern, dynamic twist?
  • Reach out to an untapped niche market?

Do your initial values and aims still hold true, or has focused evolved as the company has grown? It would be interesting to find out if your employees have a clear idea of your company values.

Write an About Us Page

I still see websites without an ‘About Us’ page, along with plenty of ‘About Us’ pages which actually tell you nothing about the team, their expertise or the values of the company. This is a missed opportunity. Whilst your values should be communicated across your website, it really is important to write an About Us page that differentiates your company from the competition.

In Summary

Tell your story. It helps people to identify with your brand. It helps your company to become familiar, approachable and personable. Even if you never meet your customers in person, it offers a means of building trust and rapport. It will entice people to call, complete an enquiry form, visit your premises and buy – surely that’s what every business wants.


What About Us?

It’s commonplace for websites to have an About Us page, but what purpose does this serve? Surely your visitors are only interested in your products, services and prices.

The most visited pages on a website are the Home, Contact and About Us pages. (If you have Google Analytics, you can check the exact number of page visits on your website.) When writing website content, it is vital that these pages really hit the mark.

Whatever you offer, there will be a host of other companies who could also serve your customers. Your About Us page content is the primary opportunity to convince them to come to you.

The About Us page provides the opportunity to differentiate your business from the competition. It should:

  • Make your Business More Approachable
  • Celebrate the Values that Underpin your Business
  • Build Trust in your Services
  • Invite interaction

Make your Business More Approachable
If you want people to call, email or pop in, it’s important to make your company approachable.

Write the About Us page in a friendly, conversational style.
Use ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘you’, rather than your company name and ‘our clients’. This may not fit with the style of copy writing on your Home and other pages, but the About Us page is all about adding a bit of personality to your website.

Include professional quality photos of your team, particularly customer facing staff.
Photos make you easily recognisable. Visitors may have previously met members of your team at exhibitions, networking or socially. Your company is instantly familiar when they see a photo of a person they recognise on your website. Equally, a photo will help them to identify you when they arrive at a training session, turn up for a meeting or when you are stood on their doorstep ready to fix their boiler.

Consider Video Content
Video content can bring your team to life. Consider opportunities to show collaborative team work, possibly on a work project or volunteering for a local charity.

Celebrate the Values that Underpin your Business
About Us is the ideal website page to communicate your company values. Your values should be determined by the desire to provide the best services to your target customers, so let them know. Do you have a reputation for quality, is customer convenience a priority or have you developed strong environmental credentials? If you’ve received a business award for your values, or have gained relevant accreditation, let it be known!

Build Trust in your Services

Seal of Approval
If your business is an approved provider or has been independently rated, add logos to your page.

Social Proof
Include case studies and testimonials to show how others have benefitted from working with you.

Established Business
Readers trust an established business, but if you are a start-up, mention previous roles to highlight your expertise. If this is a completely new venture, focus on what your company are going to do better than the rest to meet customer’s needs.

Invite Further Interaction
Having made the effort to build a little rapport, allow visitors the opportunity to keep in touch. Invite them to ‘follow’ your company on social media, sign up for your monthly newsletter or request a free consultation. What would be your preferred call to action?

What to Avoid on an About Us Page
Having provided ideas on what to include, it’s also important to mention five things that must be avoided:

  • Technical or Industry Jargon
  • A Sales Pitch
  • Lengthy Mission Statements
  • A detailed autobiography of the company
  • Fake or very out of date reviews and testimonials

Should any of these feature on your company’s About Us page, it’s time for change!

If you would like a bit of feedback on your company’s About Us page content, email me a link and I’ll share my thoughts.