Tips for Writing Website Copy Like You Know What You're Doing
Need to write copy for your website? Afraid you’ll blow it big time? Here are the most important things to get right (and how).
Some people (like me) love to write. So much so that I do it for a job full time! But writing good website copy is something you must learn, no matter how good a writer you are.
This is because writing for the web is a completely different world to writing a novel, or a poem, or something epic like Shakespeare.
In fact, you don’t even have to be a good writer to be able to write good copy (true story). Anyone can do it if they are prepared to learn how and practice.
If you’ve landed here I’m guessing you need to write something. Maybe you’ve finally got a website for your side hustle, or your boss has asked you to write the About page on the company site.
There’s nothing quite like a blank screen to make you nervous. But never fear, I’ve created a list of the most important things to get right in your copy (and how to include them).
Even the most well written articles get boring when they have no images. Images help to break up the content and gives a visual that readers can tie to the point you’re making. Because our brains are wired to process visual information faster than written information, images will help your readers remember what you’re saying.
If you’re writing a page on a website, include images that help educate the reader (like a screenshot of a process), promote your product or add personality to your business.
Do not pepper your website or blog with random stock images. This does not add value to the reader. It might look nice to you, but if it doesn’t help the reader get more out of the content, it just takes up space.
If you’re writing a blog, include a cover (or feature) image and then an image to illustrate each new point. Also, include the title of the blog in the cover image, this will make it way more engaging when it gets shared on social media.
This is how myself and a lot of other bloggers present their blog feature images. See how having the title in the image makes it more engaging?
One of the biggest no-nos in UX (user experience) is to write in long, rambling blocks of text, like this:
It looks horrible and inspires exactly nobody to struggle their way through it.
Ask yourself, when you see something written out like in the image above, do you bother reading it or does it go instantly into the too hard basket while you look for something else?
Instead, keep paragraphs to under 4 lines long and include an image for every 250 words (some people like more, use your judgement). Again, images are a fantastic way to break up your content and create space, so use them.
Get to the point
People primarily use the internet to find information, so when they search for something in Google they almost never read through 1000 words to try and find the answer to their question.
It’s also the reason why they choose the meta description they think has the answer to the search query in it.
One thing that I always find clashes with my search needs is when I Google a recipe and end up clicking on and off 5 food blogs where the recipe and method are hidden in 2500 words about someones holiday to Tuscany and their late great-grandmothers vegetable garden.
WHY! I just want to know the ingredients and how to not destroy dinner tonight, please.
Make it clear at the top of the webpage exactly who you are, what you do and what’s in it for the reader.
It’s about your customers, not you!
This is a really difficult thing for newby writers to get their head around and it’s a mistake I see on websites all the time.
Business is all about finding and filling a need.
Let that sink in.
It is assumed that you are passionate about what you do, people do not want to read a whole page about how much you love what you do.
What they do want to know is what value you can add to what they do.
Even your About page isn’t really about you.
Go and check out every successful website’s About page and you will see that the copywriting on the page is not talking about the entrepreneur's personal life or even the story of the business. It’s talking about what they can do for you.
Include a CTA
CTA stands for call to action and is, basically, the thing you want people to do.
You can see how I’ve done this on my website.
My CTA is for people to contact me for a website health check. People can click on this button and send me an email. This is what I want people to do, so I’ve put it front and centre on my Home page and simply asked people to do it.
But a CTA can just be the last line of a social media post saying “call us today to find out more”. As long as you invite people to do a thing, it’s a call to action, and you should include one on in every piece of content you write.
If this all sounds like too much work, just call me
(Notice my CTA here).
Seriously though, writing good website copy takes time and practice. It might be worth investing your time into it if you’re not busy (yet), but if you don’t have time, it’s probably worth hiring a copywriter or content writer.
Flick me an email or call me if you’d like to spruce up your website, boost your SEO or talk about a project you’re not sure how to execute.
I also work with a team of other digital professionals, so whatever your needs are, I can source the people you need to get the job done.