4 Ways To Avoid Giving Your Readers The Ick Before They Inquire

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There are two things my loyal readers know about me:

#1: My best web copy tip is to treat your website like a first date.

#2: I don’t fuck with fish boys

But, recently, I changed my mind about one of those things…

And it’s not the web copy tip. 👀

Now, I feel like I have to defend myself, so let’s back up a little bit here.

I didn’t know he was a fish boy at first. 

If you’ve been subscribed to my newsletter for a while, or if you’re an avid reader of the BTL blog, you’re aware that I simply cannot with the fish boys on Hinge.

You know the ones. 

And if you don’t, read this post—it gives you a vivid picture of exactly who they are (and what they can teach us about marketing).

So, of course, I typically avoid any man with a fish in his profile at all costs. 

But what I never even considered is that some boys are actually undercover fish boys, that reel you in, say cute things, and then share the fact that they’re fish boys. 

(I didn’t even mean to put that pun in there. Is this fish boy rubbing off on me already?! Ugh.)

A couple months ago, I was on the app, ya know, scrollin’, checkin’ out my (unfortunately mostly underwhelming) options, and I matched with this dude who seemed pretty good on the surface. 

Appropriate age. ☑️

Not a short king. ☑️

Seemingly normal job. ☑️

Lives in a good area. ☑️

And, most importantly, no fish pictures. ☑️

So, we get to talking, and the topic of work comes up, and I begin to explain what I do over here at BTL.

Naturally, the Tuesday Table of Contents—aka my favorite part of my job, my weekly newsletter—gets brought into the conversation, so I send him everyone’s favorite newsletter: the one that details all the reasons why I hate fish boys on Hinge

He read the whole thing. He said he thought it was funny. 

(Duh. 💁🏻‍♀️)

…a few days later, though, I find out the truth.



(That’s not an actual term, I don’t think. But I’m sure you can imagine what it is: an Instagram dedicated to fish.)

Obviously, as soon as I noticed this, I called him out on it. 

“You read an entire newsletter about how much I hated fish boys,” I said. “AND YOU ARE A FISH BOY?!??!!!”

He tried to defend himself, telling me that his particular brand of fish boy was somehow superior, and that because it’s fly fishing he’s somehow different. He continued on to talk about conservation efforts, and how he’s never killed a fish, yadda yadda yadda…

And, well… the boy was convincing. I started to believe him. 

Maybe he’s not a regular fish boy. Maybe he IS a different brand of fish boy.

Then he proceeded to tell me he has not one, not two, but THREE fish tattoos. 

Fish. Boy. Central. 

Now, you’re probably thinking “okay Sara, but there’s no way you’re actually going out with this dude… right? I mean, I know how you feel about fish boys…”

And, um, that’s where this story takes a turn.

Because I did go out this dude.

I’ve reluctantly decided that it might be time for me to look past a man’s fish boy exterior and see who he is on the inside. 

(Plus, I do like tattoos…)

Our first date was months ago, but I still shudder when I think about how nervous I was before it: what if he gives me the ick?

Whenever I go out with someone new, I am always SO scared of the ick, because it happens to me so intensely. 

It’s not just some “eh” feeling in the back of my mind. It is a visceral, full-body reaction that sends my whole being into fight or flight.

can’t do the ick.

(I’ve already endured it once last year, when a man showed up to a date in what dangerously resembled Sketchers Shape Ups and then forced me to sit through three and a half hours of dinner while nervous energy radiated through his body and into my soul.)

I’m so afraid of the ick that I’ve even warned fish boy about the potential of it happening, and prior to the first date, we discussed it at length. He knew he might not make it past that one lunch with me if he did anything ick-inducing—and we were both praying he made it past the ick test, because (much to my surprise) I was really hoping to end up with Fish Boy.

How To Make Sure You Don’t Give Your Readers The Ick

He knew he might not make it past that one lunch with me if he did anything ick-inducing—and we were both praying he made it past the ick test, because (much to my surprise) I was really hoping to end up with Fish Boy.

Of course, he’d still have to remain true to himself—just like YOU need to do when you’re writing your website copy, if you want your readers to be interested in you. 

You see, when a new person lands on your site, it’s a whole lot like a first date.

  • You want them to like you. (And they’re hoping they like you, too.)
  • No one wants to hear about the boring details of your resume, or it would kill the vibe. (Plus, we have LinkedIn for that.)
  • The impression you make really matters, because it dictates what happens next. (Is there a second date, or do you get ghosted? As in: do they inquire, or do they X out before taking action?)

& that last point is especially important, because the connection is happening online, through a screen, where they can’t hear the emotion in your voice, see the authenticity in your eyes, or the eagerness in your smile.

Your words have to do all the work for you. So… what the frick do you say?! 

#1 – Make them feel welcome.

Make them feel comfortable on your site by welcoming them in with a statement that lets them know they’re in the right place. 

Think about being on a first date and having no idea where to park, which door to go in, or which bald man in a blue sweater you’re looking for… how nerve-wracking is that?!

When someone lands on your website, you want them to know who you are, what you do, and who you do it for, right away. Do your best to immediately make your readers feel like you understand exactly why they’re there.

#2 –  Speak their language.

Use the words and phrases they’re used to hearing (and saying!) so you can show them just how meant to be you are. You want them to feel like they’re having a conversation with a friend who gets them. 

On my site, I chose to do this by cutting straight to the chase and asking a question that proves to my readers I know how they feel—and which frustration they’re trying to solve—when they visit my site.

#3 – Find the common ground.

When you introduce yourself to them, share details that they’ll appreciate learning about you, and be able to relate to. 

You’ll also want to do your best to convince them that you are the right choice for them, by illustrating your understanding of what they’re going through, why they need you, and how you can help. (Learn how to do that right here.) 

My whole About page is an example of this—but here’s a snippet that shows just how many “irrelevant” details you can add that actually do a great job of converting. Read how it works right here!

#4 – Show off, just a little bit.

I mean, after all… this is you making a first impression, so, put your best foot forward by showing off: share your best testimonials, showcase your bomb portfolio work—pull out all the stops to prove that you are the shit, so they fall in love. More on that right here!

Here are a few ways I’m “showing off” on my site:

(aka how I’m communicating to my ideal client that I’m definitely the right choice for them)

Telling them how I’ll solve their problems
Very kind testimonial from a respected & well-known industry professional as an element of social proof, communicating that I do my job well and even really impressive people trust me
Listing all of the awesome benefits they’ll get if they choose to work with a website copywriter
Giving them the inside scoop on what working with me is REALLY like by illustrating my client experience

Want your website to help you make the best first impression?

If you need help writing the best website copy to make the best first impression to attract the best clients clients ever, but 1:1 website copywriting services aren’t in your budget—I have the perfect solution. 😏

My website copy template, aptly named the Wicked Easy Website Copy Guide, has quite literally everything you need to write your site on your own, without overwhelm (or ick). 

In addition to all the resources you need to write your site—and, of course, the surefire website copy template itself—this guide even has 70+ minutes of training videos explaining all of the ins & outs of writing your own website, inspired by my copywriting course, where students have shared with me how much they love the teach-by-example method I use to showcase the formulas I teach—aka the same formulas my template is outlining for you.

Long story short? It makes writing your website copy wicked easy. And if you’re a DIYer, you’re gonna want it.


Did you like this story? Do you want more like this?

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Hi, I'm Sara—Website Copywriter & Marketing Mentor.

If you're an entrepreneur, business owner, or course creator with big dreams of success and growth—and a big, scary blank document standing in your way every time you sit down to write your own copy—nice to meet you, I'm your new solution. 

Through what I like to call sales-focused storytelling, I'll help you find your brand's voice, perfectly position your offerings, develop your target market, and write copy that resonates with your ideal audience. And I'll do it all while keeping your personality at the forefront of every draft, to ensure that each word aligns with your true self. 

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