Why your website copy shouldn’t sound professional

Why your website copy shouldn’t sound “professional” | Plus a free guide to making your website copy more authentically you

Website copywriting is difficult enough. Don't make it more difficult by trying to sound like someone you're not! Get this FREE guide to more authentic website copy and get your voice in line with your brand personality!

As a web designer, I get asked a lot about website copy. Though copywriting is not the service I provide, I’m tangentially exposed to it extensively due to its unavoidable presence in the finished websites that I work with my clients to create.

That being said, I’m not an expert on the topic. I truly believe that copywriting is an artform. And one that, to be completely honest, I haven’t yet mastered and maybe never will.

However, I do have a few nuggets of wisdom now and then 🙂

I was listening to an episode of Amy Porterfield’s podcast the other day where she was talking with Marie Forleo (whose website is mentioned by many of my website clients as inspiration).

They were discussing how important it is to be yourself and allow your personality to shine through in your business; how it’s so much more fun to be in business when you’re not trying to pretend to be something you’re not.

And I’m totally behind that idea! In fact, I’ve always believed in authenticity. p.s. stick around to the end for some tips to making your website copy more authentically you.

I started thinking back to when I was 18 and one of the the first things I did with my brand new adulthood was get my eyebrow pierced. That night I had to listen to a seemingly endless lecture from my dad with token phrases like:

“how do you expect to get a real job?”

“who’s going to think you’re professional or take you seriously with that thing on your face?”

You get the picture.

I actually did have a summer job at the time and the boss did freak. So I quit. Not that an eyebrow piercing was what made me authentic – but come on, I was 18!

I went on to have many career exploits ranging from working at Hot Topic, planning film events at my college, online marketing, playing acoustic guitar gigs at coffee shops, running social media at a indie record label and others.

All of these places were much better suited for my personality. And not one of them cared about a tiny sparkly adornment on my left eyebrow.

Why? I think it’s because the old stereotypes and expectations of what makes a responsible and effective worker no longer applied.

The definition for “professional” has changed

After reminiscing about those turn of events I started thinking about the word my dad used when he was predicting my dark and depressing jobless future.

Professional.

What does that even mean? I actually wanted to know so I googled the definition and here it is:

relating to or connected with a profession

My dad’s generation would consider that word to mean dressing in business suits, being reserved and fitting the mold of job descriptions for mainstream employers.

But to me, that seemed and still seems so backwards.

In my opinion, the act of being professional would mean VERY different things depending on your actual profession.

Not all professions require the same skill sets, the same type of people or personalities.

To me, being professional has more to do with being honest and true to yourself so that you can thrive in what you choose to work on.

To me, being professional has more to do with being honest and true to yourself so that you can thrive in what you choose to work on. Get the FREE guide for more authentic website copy: Click To Tweet

Hopefully your profession is in line with who you really are. If not, maybe it’s time for re-evaluation.

Why your website copy shouldn’t sound “professional”

So what does all this have to do with your website copy? Everything!

As a business owner, it can be very tempting to make your website copy sound “professional.”

For example, you may feel an urge to use jargon, or words that you use as an expert in your field but may not be common language for your customers.

Or perhaps you feel the need to edit the language you would normally use in order to make it sound more polite.

And that’s totally normal! A lot of us were raised with the mentality that it’s important to sacrifice our uniqueness in the name of professionalism.

But if you’re anything like me, then one of the main reasons you became an entrepreneur is to create your place in the world; to be your own boss and to make your own rules. So please don’t forget that when you’re writing your website copy!

If you’re anything like me, then one of the main reasons you became an entrepreneur is to create your place in the world; to be your own boss and to make your own rules. So please don’t forget that when you’re writing your website… Click To Tweet

It’s your chance to show potential clients and customers exactly who you are. If you are a service-based business, it’s also super important to give clients an accurate depiction of what you’re all about and a preview of what it will be like to work with you directly.

Now I’m not saying to completely ditch the idea of professionalism. It’s important to show how savvy of a business owner you are; That you are reliable, trustworthy, etc.

But I do encourage you to think carefully about what professional means in the context of who you are and your business.

For example, when I first quit my job to go freelance, I thought I needed to talk all about technical coding stuff to prove that I knew what I was doing as a web developer. But after a while I realized that the people who I really wanted to work with (other female entrepreneurs and creatives) weren’t going to click with detailed information about “responsive CSS” or what javascript framework I used on a particular website.

My audience wants to learn how to grow their businesses online. So I decided to stop using so much tech jargon and instead start speaking how I would normally in real life. I practiced explaining things so that my audience actually gets it and can utilize the information instead of being intimidated by it.

And THAT was what actually started to show that I’m an expert. Because not only am I teaching valuable knowledge, but my audience actually understands me better and trusts me more. We vibe better!

More recently, I’ve been making an effort to incorporate more of my personality into my own business in other ways as well, such as sharing some sneak peeks into my life on Instagram and in my own email newsletters (if you’re not receiving them yet, be sure to sign up below).

So when you’re working on your website copy, remember to keep asking yourself…what’s YOUR definition of professional?

Remember that your personality is a business asset, too!

Read more about incorporating who you are into your business in my blog posts, Attract ideal clients and customers by sharing your story and 7 ways to make your email marketing more personal.

As promised, I wanted to give you some pointers for make your website copy more authentically you.

Need help with your website copy?

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About the author

I’m Taylor…I’m a designer, developer + dreamer. I help creative entrepreneurs build an online presence that showcases who they are & what they do. Read more…

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