When I worked for an agency, guess who got to do a lot of pre-launch and post-launch checklists for websites? You guessed it, me.
That’s okay; I’m a stickler about getting all the boxes marked; however, over time, I learned others didn’t see the value.
Anyway, we had some fairly mundane things to do, like making sure the timezone was correct, adding something for the website title in the settings. Something that would come up regularly was what to put in the tagline.
If you didn’t know, the WordPress dashboard has a place in the settings to add a tagline.
So, when I came to that part, and we didn’t have anything, I had to make something up. I just didn’t want to see it blank.
I knew that would show up in the browser bar and could be helpful to the person visiting your website.
I figured it was an SEO thing. After all, it shows up in your listing in the SERPs.
I think it is much more about clarity than actual SEO.
So, does it really help your SEO? Probably not. Does it help users know what the heck your site is about? You betcha.
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Unfortunately, when putting together a tagline, people will often just throw something that sounds good into the field.
This is similar to how some business owners approach their website copy, and it is a huge mistake.
The biggest drawback is that your users will not know what your site is about. I see it all the time when looking at websites.
Go to the homepage and see if the copy in the hero area makes sense within 5 seconds. That’s about how much time you have to grab someones’ attention.
Only insiders get the inside joke. And only insiders will get your clever message.
So, let’s do away with putting something that sounds good to YOU and create a tagline that is worthy, including in the results of Google.
Beware the SEO plugins
Here’s the thing, when I looked at my WordPress settings, I found one thing for my tagline, but it wasn’t the same as what was showing in my browser bar for my website.
I did some digging.
I found that I used something different in the SEO Title field provided by Yoast on the homepage.
So, if you are using an SEO plugin and taking advantage of the SEO Title field, it will override your tagline.
If you come up with a tagline you really like, then make sure you insert it in your SEO title field. If you are creating custom pages, you might find yourself using a different title on each page.
You can either use the same tagline for each page or create a specific one for each page.
Ignore the “Just do it” mantra
So I’ve looked at a lot of articles about taglines, and they almost always start with looking at taglines for multi-billion-dollar businesses.
These are not great examples of your average small to medium-sized businesses. The bottom line is that most of these huge corporations have truckloads of money to get their tagline out to the masses.
So, Nike says, “Just do it,” and you see it in the context of the commercial, and most people get what they are saying.
Neville Medhora pumps the brakes for us a bit in this article and makes this important distinction that we should remember,
Your tagline will unlikely be a big driver of business. Like….at all.
I’ve NEVER gone to McDonald’s because they had a cool tagline.
It’s cause I want food stuffed into my face immediately.
He’s got a point. Tacos anyone?
It is far more important to make your tagline clear than vague and clever.
We just don’t have truckloads of money to spread the catchy, easy to remember phrases.
And, has Medhora says, the purpose of the tagline is to “… get attention and make your customer want to read/research more!”
And for this reason, my next point makes much more sense.
Start with your value proposition
Neville has a great little formula for writing your tagline that is worth the look, but for our purposes, let’s start with a value proposition.
The value proposition is from where our tagline should originate.
Your value proposition is one or two sentences that give the ultimate benefit you offer with your product or service.
Think in terms of value. The benefits that you offer create value for your customers.
As Peep Laja says,
“A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you.”
When I talk to business owners, I counsel them to answer four questions.
- Who am I? (most simple title)
- What do I do? (benefit)
- Who do I do it for? (target audience)
- How we do this? (how do we do it differently?)
If you can answer these four questions, you are on your way to determining your value proposition (UVP).
Once you have the pieces of the puzzle, there are several UVP formulas you can use to articulate this.
In fact, in this article last year, I layout a couple for you plus a few resources to find more.
Condense the message
A tagline is usually a few words or a short sentence.
You want to distill your UVP to a handful of words that can be easily remembered.
Now, here is some straight forward practical advice: Write as many phrases as you can in different variations.
This is the same way we typically come up with a good headline. Writers have long learned that variations are helpful.
David Hartshorne gives three reasons for writing multiple variations of headlines (I know we are talking value props, but stay with me here). One of those reasons stands out to me
He says that you get better as your practice.
There’s scientific evidence that proves we get more creative the more we write. It’s true: your brain is wired to continue creating when you stimulate it.
So by forcing yourself to write ten headlines, you’ll soon have another five without even thinking about it.
Keep them short and easy to say. Write several and see what comes up.
Wrapping it up
A tagline can be very powerful, but it isn’t just to fill in that field in your WordPress dashboard. It is part of your entire business core message.
Your tagline can be used on your website, but it can also be used on your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your LinkedIn business page, in your email signature, and on your About Page.
How do you use your tagline? Do you fill in the tagline field in your WordPress dashboard? Let us know in the comments in the MainWP Facebook group.