So, you’ve started a business and are about to launch your company’s shiny new website.

You no doubt optimized your site for usability and search engine ranking. Hopefully you’ve already conducted a “soft launch,” in which you asked a few trusted, unbiased reviewers to try their hardest to break the website’s functionality, identify bugs and typos, and provide an otherwise unvarnished critique of your soon-to-be-online storefront’s overall look and feel.

Assuming you’ve completed such a pre-launch checklist, your site’s ready for takeoff, right?

Not so fast.

What about the copy, i.e., the specific wording that greets potential customers as soon as they land on your website’s homepage?

It’s critical to remember that online shoppers are presented with almost countless choices when they search the Internet for a product or service. To be sure, optimizing your website for search engine indexing and getting those fingers to click your link once it’s served are paramount. But if the key message, or takeaway, that greets visitors misses the mark, they’re likely to click the ‘back’ arrow and peruse your competitors.

Which is why it’s absolutely critical to the success of your business that you avoid devoting your website’s prime real estate to wording that tells potential customers how great you are. That’s what the ‘About Us’ section of a business’ website is for. But if your key message comes across as arrogant, elitist or otherwise self-serving, it’s likely you’ll turn potential customers into lost opportunities well before they spend time to learn more about your business.

Simply put, people don’t care why you think your business is great; at least not at first. What they want—need—and what is incumbent upon you to deliver, is a message that convinces shoppers you’re in business to help make them great.

It’s true whether you’re selling t-shirts or weed killer: Your business is there to help their lives become better in some important way. And if your value proposition, i.e., key message, convinces them of that, they’re much more likely to drill-down deeper into your website, where they might choose to learn more about you, either by clicking the ‘About You’ link, by reading customer reviews or, hopefully, both.

If visitors invest the time to learn more about your business, it means your landing page convinced them it’s in their best interest to do so, which also means they’re that much closer to clicking ‘Buy Now’.

For more excellent advice regarding what I believe is a basic, yet all-too-often-overlooked rule when developing website copy (marketing copy in general, really), check out this great article, courtesy of copyblogger.

You’ll be glad you did.