Writing website copy from scratch? This thought is enough to send business owners in a tizzy. Staring at a blank document can feel anxiety-inducing, especially when you have an entire website that needs content. But exactly how do you write website copy, let alone make it outstanding?
If this question is on your mind, you’re in luck. The power to write website copy that wows is right at your fingertips! Consider this actionable advice and get ready to captivate customers.
Start with a Sitemap
Wait a minute, a sitemap? That’s boring! A sitemap might not bring you excitement, but it’s a building block to writing outstanding website copy.
Sitemaps are the first step in planning how you want to structure sections of content on your site. If you start without a sitemap, you can’t be completely sure what type of information you want to include on your website. Did you know that you can also use a sitemap for your blog? It’s a great way to plan out your blog posts before you write them.
Think of the sitemap serves as a guide in terms of how to structure your content. Before you start writing website copy, the process becomes faster when you know the pages that need writing from you.
What pages typically need content writing? Most clients request website copy for:
- Home page
- Service pages
- Product pages
- About us
- Contact us
- Downloadable guides
- Landing pages
- Geo pages
Some of these pages are a bit beyond the content needs of a basic brochure-style website. At the very least, plan to write copy for your homepage, service/product pages, and contact us page.
Get Clear on Your Messaging
When it comes to writing outstanding website copy, listing the features of your products or service isn’t enough. You’ll need to create messaging that resonates with your audience, inspiring them to hire you or inquire for more information. But how do you determine the right messaging for your website?
Consider the Pain Points of Your Customer
What keeps your customer up at night? What can your business do to make their life better? Clearly communicating a solution to pain points show that you are the right fit for their needs.
Don’t hesitate to make a list of potential pain points for your customers. This will give you a reference in terms of what to write for your website copy.
Benefits, Not Features
If you truly want to wow your customers, you need to put the spotlight on them and away from yourself. In the eyes of your customers, it’s all about them. This is why you must clearly communicate the benefits of what you provide and not the features. Customers care about results, not bells and whistles.
Instead of: “We sell running shoes with color-changing shoelaces and materials that sparkle in the sun.”
Write this instead: “These running shoes are engineered as the epitome of comfort, improving your stride while complementing your running wardrobe.”
You can see that the second example will provide a positive experience. Snazzy-looking sneakers are cool, but it doesn’t help much if they are uncomfortable for running and result in blisters. See the difference?
Find the Right Tone
As you craft your copy, you’ll want to keep your tone in mind. This is the style of your writing throughout your website. The tone depends on what resonates with your customers. When you’re trying to find the tone (voice) for your copy, keep some of these key considerations in mind:
- The age of your audience
- Their education level
- Their knowledge about your service or product
- What your audience wants and needs from your product or service
- Consider creating customer avatars to help you fine-tune your audience
You can also find inspiration by browsing around similar websites. However, you don’t want to directly copy the writing style from another business. Your tone can set you apart from the competition!
Concise is Key
Whether you do or do not have a way with words, don’t get carried away when writing your website copy. You can save the long and extra informative content for your blog posts. I always tell my clients that 400-500 words can work for a website page. This is about 1 page in Microsoft Word, single space.
The truth is that your customers are not going to read your copy line-by-line, and that’s OK. But this is why you must be concise with your website copy, otherwise, your customers are likely going to lose interest.
If you have a tough time writing in a concise manner, there are several avenues that can help:
- Write in a style that’s easy to scan (more on this later)
- Use simple language. Creative flair has its place, but there’s usually not a reason to write ‘utilize’ when you can simply say ‘use’
- Take advantage of tools that will provide you with feedback if the website copy is too complex. If you paste your website copy into Hemmingway Editor, it will tell you the grade level that’s suitable for the content
Don’t Deflate Copy with Passive Voice
Now that you know about the importance of concise website copy, you’ll need to consciously put an end to passive voice (for the most part).
Passive voice isn’t always wrong (I even use it in this section!). But writing in an active style makes your copy shine with a stronger impression on your audience. Truthfully, switching from passive to active voice is one of the most important lessons I learned in college.
If you can’t catch passive copy while you write, Yoast SEO for WordPress will flag you if there is too much passive text. This is one of the grading elements that it uses for readability. Consider using this plug-in if you need to know when there is too much passive voice in your text.
You can learn more about active vs passive voice from Perdue Online Writing Lab. Fun fact: this is the exact source that we used in my professional writing classes.
Make it Easy to Scan
The ability to scan your website copy is incredibly important. People like to scan and skim content because it saves them time. You can help the process by making content easy to scan in the first place, but how do you accomplish this?
- Break up your text with header copy. Not only does this make your website copy easy to scan, but it’s also beneficial for SEO
- Use bullet points that contain short sentences
- Thoughtfully space your paragraphs
- Incorporate white space throughout your copy
- Break up your copy with images
These steps will allow your customers to scan your copy while finding the information that they need.
Carefully Consider Titles
You can see that there is a lot that goes into writing website copy, even before your first stroke on the keyboard. One important element that you can’t overlook is the title of each web page.
What goes into a good web page title? Consider creating a title with a subtitle.
The title will give an overview of what customers can expect to find on a page. The subhead will pull them in with an emotional connection or a benefit to improve their lives.
Example title: Floral Stencils for Budding Artists
Example subtitle: Stencils in various floral patterns to add pop and personality to your artwork
If you are using keywords for your website copy, you can implement those keywords here as well. But think of the webpage title as your first chance to grab attention, especially if the customer is doing a quick skim.
Include a Call-to-Action
Yes, every page needs a call-to-action! Skipping this part can result in lost customers. You can add a call-to-action in different areas of each web page. Some put a CTA in the middle of the page while others wait until the end. You can also switch up the placement of the CTAs and tweak the copy over time to test performance.
One important note is to try to humanize your CTAs whenever possible. Instead of writing ‘get a free quote for new windows’ try something along the lines of ‘book a quote to save more energy’. Language tweaks can go a long way with your CTA.
Get Outstanding Website Copy, Done for You
Are you in need of website copy? You’re in luck. With 10+ years of experience in writing website copy for numerous industries, we can develop wow-factor website copy that’s the perfect fit for your business. Get in touch with us now to discuss your project. We write new website content and re-write old content as well!