As a copywriter, I never niched down into an industry.
I niched into a specialty: websites.
But, like, not just “I crack my knuckles, sit down, and type furiously, magically producing a website three days later” type of writing.
I only get to the knuckle-cracking stage at the very end.
My secret most favorite part of website copywriting?
The strategy bit when we figure out the site map.
(boring, I know, but hang on it matters)
Site maps are so much more than an organizational tool or simple navigation for your website visitors.
Site maps, especially the top-line navigational bar, are the physical (ok digital) manifestation of your business’ positioning in the marketplace.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say there’s a hypothetical business.
This leadership coach has created their own unique methodology for coaching.
They are a genius at helping folks consistently find and sustain transformation AND their program is much more accessible than most other leadership development offers.
Pretty sweet right?
Unfortunately, their top menu navigation bar probably looks like this:
In short: their navigation is 100% expected.
There is a benefit to this type of approach.
As a user, there is NO question where you need to go if you’re looking for more info on what this person does.
People like it when things are what they expect.
It makes them feel comfortable and confident in navigating a new site, trying to figure out if this coach is the right fit for them.
So why is this navigation unfortunate?
The coach is missing a huge marketing opportunity.
We don’t know they work with leaders.
We don’t know they have their own process.
We just know that they do what thousands of other people do: coach and teach.
Top-line navigation is one of the first things people see when they land on a website.
In fact, it’s navigation and the hero image on your homepage that makeup 90% of someone’s decision to stay or bounce.
For copywriting, most of us, rightly so, focus on the sweet one-liner in the hero image.
It’s much more interesting, gives the client more joy, and makes for great case studies.
But remember, you have less than 3 seconds to convince someone to stay on your website.
With all the energy focused on the award-winning tagline, you’re missing out on the biggest tool in your arsenal.
Let’s look at this hypothetical coach’s navigation bar again.
What if they re-organized a little bit, to push the envelope on what is expected?
New navigational bar:
Their business starts to feel a bit different, doesn’t it?
Even though we don’t know what the “3-2-1 Method” is, it does tell us two things:
- this coach is good enough to have developed their own proven method for best results (trust)
- the method is easy to follow (lower potential overwhelm)
Plus, the navigation tells us they offer Leadership Development. (not just “Courses)
Awesome—their target market is right there!
AND! They have resources! Amazing!
It might be MORE than just a blog – maybe there are PDFs! Or podcasts! Intriguing!
AND! It’s not just “contact” but “get started.”
(told you I was gonna nerd out)
A great top-line navigation needs to be more than giving boring directions.
It needs to include your positioning.
It needs to generate excitement and interest for your website visitors.
When I work with my clients, especially service providers, I work really hard to figure out how to make their nav bar super cool.
Like, way cooler than their competitors.
The “Go Try It Out” Section
Take a look at your top-line navigation bar.
Write out every single page in a list.
Is it expected?
Is it showing off how you’re different?
If not, how can you reorganize/rename your site to show off your true value?
Be cautious though.
There is an art to naming your pages.
You don’t want to veer too far off the beaten path or people may be confused on where to go.
Untangling services and helping with positioning is my #1 favorite thing of all time.
If you’re looking at your navigation bar and thinking:
I’m not sure if I’m showing my value…
Are my services organized properly?
Do I even have a super awesome method of my own?
I’d love to help you out.