How Do I Write Great Website Copy?
When writing copy, there are a few key things to remember:
- be relevant. speak to your target audience, speak to their needs.
- personalize it. let your personality shine through. tell your story.
- prove your expertise through giving some of it away.
Hold in your mind your ideal client while you write.
Before writing, get a good sense in your mind of who you are writing to – who you want to target.
Identifying your ideal customer is a whole process in itself, but the short version is to make a list of all the clients that you really like and then see what they have in common.
Once you have that person in your head, write to them.
It isn’t as hard as it sounds. Just doing some work identifying who your best customers are will automatically influence your writing.
Once you know who you are writing to, get into their (imaginary) head about what their problem is, why they are coming to you, what they are looking for, and what their pain, hopes, and fears are. These are the things you want to address.
The best writing is relevant to the reader. If you are speaking to people’s hearts, they will keep reading.
Be authentic; it creates trust in you personally and creates a connection.
For all the anonymity of the net, reading a website is a personal experience: when your customer is reading your site, they will probably be alone and sitting about 10 inches from their screen. This is personal space.
Keep their attention by being real—and not just on the “About” page. As a small business you have an advantage over gigantic retailers—you can actually care personally about your customers. It’s likely you have put a lot of passion and drive into your business. Make that show: it’s magnetic.
Write website copy that is light and engaging. Stay positive—talk about your products great qualities, rather than your competition’s bad qualities. Keep it energetic, upbeat, and easy to read.
Web users tend to scan and jump around a lot, so make sure you have headings and bullet lists. Your copy should be easy to digest and should allow the reader to pick out what is most important to them and find out more about that particular subject.
Be generous with your knowledge; it builds trust in your expertise.
Quality content can be a powerful aid in selling your products. Providing useful informational content demonstrates knowledge and quality in concrete ways, and it also helps build trust through your website. Trust is important to any business relationship—and freely offering good content is one of the best ways I’ve found to create trust online.
Have a copywriting plan, and test before launch.
Before you start writing, outline the mood and style you are going for, and where you want to direct your visitors. Keep these in mind as you write, and periodically review your content as you go to be sure it is focused and consistent in style. Be sure to highlight your product’s strengths in clear language.
When you have finished, show it to three people—at least one in your target audience. If your readers can’t easily describe what your product is and why they should buy it (or if they are so bored that they don’t finish reading)—rewrite your copy. Never try to explain to your test readers why they should have gotten it. You won’t get that chance with actual viewers. If the copy isn’t great, suck it up and rewrite it.
Need more help planning your website?
My printer-friendly Website Planning Worksheet asks all the major questions you need to be organized and prepared for your website design or redesign.