Building a business website but no idea how to write great website copy? Think your existing words could be working harder? You’ve come to the right place!
Writing great copy for your website isn’t rocket science, but it does involve adopting some copywriting best practices to make sure you get it right. If you have a flair for writing – that also helps. But what exactly is great website copy?
Well, to be great, website copy needs to do a few things.
Firstly, it should engage potential customers or clients, communicate your brand and educate your audience about who you are and what you offer. It should also show why you’re better than your competitors and get people to take desired actions. Easy, right?
To get you started, here are my top copywriting tips for writing great website copy for your business.
1. Know your target audience
Great website copy begins with knowing who you’re writing for, aka your target audience or ideal customers or clients. If you’ve already got a marketing strategy, you should be all over this. If you haven’t, it’s time to figure it out.
Saying ‘females in Sydney’ or ‘men who like sport’ just won’t cut it. Knowing your target audience means knowing everything about them – well, almost everything!
As well as pinpointing demographic information, such as age, gender, family, where they live and what they do for a job, you should look at psychographic factors, such as their behaviours, lifestyle and attitudes.
On top of this, think about things like where they hang out online, how they prefer to communicate and what pain points your product or service solves for them.
When you understand them at this deeper level, you can get inside their head, figure out what makes them tick, and write copy that grabs them.
2. Make it about them, not you
But how do you write copy that grabs them is probably your next question? Well, the secret to this lies in your approach.
So many people who write their own website copy make the same mistake. And that mistake is talking predominately about themselves and what they can do.
While it’s great that you have X years’ experience, offer X services and love to innovate, this is not ultimately what’s going to win over customers. The reality is that customers are online looking for a solution to a problem or need. So write with this in mind.
Talk about your business in terms of its benefits to your customer, not just using informational facts and features.
- Don’t just write ‘We sell large fridges’ say ‘Fit everything in your fridge’.
- Don’t just write, ‘1GB of storage’ say ‘Store all of your photos’
By hitting them at a more emotional level, you have a much better chance of winning them over as you’re showing you understand them.
Even on your About page, which is where you can talk more about yourself and your business, you should still frame it in terms of benefits.
TIP: Do the ‘So what’ test – Every time you write a sentence, ask yourself’, So what?’ For example, ‘We’re a family-run business’. So what? What does that mean for the reader? It means you care about what you do; you offer quality.
3. Define your tone of voice (TOV)
What is your tone of voice or TOV? TOV essentially means ‘what you say and how you say it.
If you know what your business TOV is, great, apply it when writing your website copy – and on all your other marketing touchpoints. If you don’t, it’s time to define it.
When I ask clients how they would describe their TOV, a lot say ‘Professional’ and ‘Friendly’. But this is way too generic and doesn’t go deep enough.
The whole point of TOV is to help your business stand out in the market – as well as to create consistency in your brand to build trust.
The best way to think about it is to imagine your business as a person – how would they sound? What would they talk about?
A good question I often ask is, ‘If your business was a famous personality, who would you be? This can bring up some interesting answers! But most importantly, it helps you come up with a more descriptive and unique voice.
You might be:
- Fun and witty
- Serious with subtle humour
- Empathetic and engaging
- Intelligent and curious
Think of 4-8 adjectives to describe your business personality – and then inject this into your writing, including what you say.
If you’re intelligent, make sure your copy is well-informed. If you’re empathetic, share stories and insights through your words. If you’re witty, add a few puns.
A little (copy) personality – over dry business talk – goes a long way to engaging online visitors.
4. Create a good user experience (UX)
This is a biggie, but one most people don’t even know about, let alone consider, when writing their website copy.
It sounds pretty technical, but it isn’t really. Creating a good user experience means improving your website’s usability, accessibility, and efficiency for the reader. This includes things like:
- Making it easy for people to find the information they need
- Ensuring your website and pages load quickly
- Making it simple to navigate from one page to another
- Creating a mobile-friendly design
Your website developer will deal with things like page speed and mobile accessibility. They may even have helped you figure out your navigation – though us UX copywriters can do that too!
When it comes to writing great website copy, focus on making it easy for people to find the information they need. This means clear navigation headings, for example, Home, About, Services, Blog, and ensuring your copy works for the reader.
Studies have shown that most people on websites don’t read the copy from top to bottom. Instead, they tend to scan – usually in an F-shaped pattern – to decide if they like what they see and to find what they’re looking for.
Because of this, pages filled with long paragraphs won’t keep anyone on your site for long. You need to break up your copy into smaller bite-sized chunks that make it easy for readers to dip in and out of. You can do this by:
- Using clear and engaging headings and subheadings
- Front-loading information so they get the most important message first
- Adding bullet points to break up text
- Bolding text to highlight key points
Think of a single website page as being made up of several sections and use a different subhead for each. Once you’ve written your copy, you can make it even more engaging with images, videos, graphics and quotes.
Also, consider how your pages work together. Where do you want someone to go after reading the Home page or About page? Think about it logically and create hyperlinks to take them there – give options.
Essentially, your words should be guiding them through your website. They’re discovering more about your business until they finally end up on your Contact page and decide to get in touch.
5. Write clearly, concisely and with purpose
So you’ve got a 10-page website to populate with copy; how will you fill it?
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to embellish every sentence with adjectives or repeat yourself multiple times – or both – in an attempt to fill the blank pages. Good website copy is clear and concise, and each page has its own purpose.
- Write clearly by:
Using jargon-free Plain English and active voice
- Write concisely by:
Keeping your sentences and paragraphs short
- Write with purpose by:
Defining what each page is trying to achieve and how
- Home page – Tap into your customers’ main pain points and how you address them. Think of this page as a summary of you, your site and what you offer. You can then link to different pages from each section.
- About page – Use this page to talk about your business, credentials, experience, mission and values – but show how this benefits your customer. Try and build credibility and trust.
- Products/services – Talk about the services you offer, your process, materials and the unique benefits your products/services offer. You can add them all on one page or create an overview page that links to individual products or services.
- Contact – Suggest why they might contact you, how and when. Make it easy with options including phone, email and an online form.
6. Identify page-by-page keywords
You can’t write great website copy today without making sure it’s SEO optimised. Part of this is identifying the right keywords to target.
If you don’t know what keywords are, at a basic level, they’re ideas and topics that define what your copy or content is about.
In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases people type into Google that makes it possible for people to find you. If you don’t have keywords in your copy, Google won’t know what you offer, so it won’t put you in the search engine results.
If you’re writing good-quality website copy, keywords should come in naturally. For example, if you own a ‘shop’ selling ‘homewares’ and ‘lifestyle products’, these words and related phrases will appear in the copy.
However, to give your copy a boost and a better chance of appearing in a visible position when people search, you should choose a target keyword phrase and related synonyms for each page on your site.
For this, you need to do some keyword research. Here’s how:
- Brainstorm all of the topics and phrases related to your website
- Type your phrases into Google to see if people are searching for these phrases
- Use a keyword tool such as Mangools, Ubersuggest or SEMRush to identify the best keywords. You want to find keywords with good search volume but low competition. The longer and more specific the phrases, the better. For example, you have a better chance of ranking for ‘female accountant in newcastle’ than just ‘accountant’.
Once you’ve identified different long-tail keywords for each page, you then should look to include them in specific areas of copy, including:
- Title tag and meta description – these sit off the page in your content management system and are what appear in the Google search results:
- Heading and subhead (H1 and H2)
- First 100 words of your copy
- Several times throughout your text, but not too many times or your content will be considered spammy, use similar words and phrases instead
- Image titles and alt tags
Importantly, don’t force them in if they don’t feel natural. Always put the reader first.
7. Get customers to write copy for you
Even if you do an awesome job at selling your business on your website by following these tips, one of the best things you can do for your website is getting your customers to contribute by asking for written testimonials.
Not only does it create some words to help fill out the page, but, most importantly, adding positive testimonials and reviews to your website can build reader trust and help win them over.
In fact, according to stats from Big Commerce, 72% of customers say positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more. In addition, 97 percent of B2B customers cited testimonials and peer recommendations as the most reliable type of content. (Demand Gen Report)
The reality is that people are much more likely to believe you’re good when it comes from other people rather than from you!
8. Add a call to action on each page
Call to actions or CTAs are one of the most important elements on any website. You can include one or multiple on each page.
What are CTAs? They’re the links or buttons that act as signposts telling readers what to do next. They encourage people to take a desired action down the sales funnel and are part of creating a great user experience.
- Examples of common website CTAs include:
- Book a free 30-minute consultation
- Click to read more articles
- Sign up for our newsletter
- Share now on social media
To write click-worthy CTAs, make sure they are:
- Clear – As with all of your website copy, be clear in what you’re saying and highlight the benefit the reader will get by clicking – give them a reason to act
- Actionable – Action-driven text that starts with a strong verb, such as ‘Start my free trial’, increases conversions
- Short – The copy you write for your website CTAs must be short enough to fit a button, so stick to around five words or less. You can add clarifying text above or below.
From a design perspective, make sure they stand out on the page by using bright colours so that even when people skim, they notice them.
Avoid common CTA mistakes, such as ‘Click here’. Click here doesn’t tell your website anything about the end result. It can even be viewed negatively by Google, as they use anchor text (links) to judge the relevancy of the linked page.
9. Edit, proofread and repeat
After reading my tips on how to write great website copy, and drafting your pages, your work doesn’t stop there. Now it’s time to get the red pen or Track Changes out.
Even the best copywriters need to go back through to check and edit their work.
My best recommendation for this is to start fresh. This means leaving your copy for a few days before editing it. When you do go back to it, consider all of the tips above.
If a sentence is overly wordy or you’re repeating yourself, cut it. If you’re looking at big chunky paragraphs, break them up. If there are lots of ‘we’s’ compared to ‘yous’, make it more customer-focused. If you don’t have CTAs, add them.
Once you’re happy with what you’ve got, get a fresh pair of eyes to look over it. They might see something you’re missing. And give every page a good proofread to ensure there are no errors, which can make your business look sloppy.
Free online tools such as the Hemmingway app or Grammarly are great for picking up typos, improving sentence structure, removing repetition and using the active voice. But don’t listen to all their recommendations – they’re only AI after all!
Ready to write your site?
So, now you know how to write great website copy, it’s time to get cracking. If you want some feedback on a draft, I offer professional copy editing and proofreading services. And if you get stuck or it all seems a bit overwhelming, give me a call.