How do I write copy for my website?

As Web Designers, we know the most challenging part of a web design project for many, is web copywriting. Our clients have varied in how much copy they have wanted to write, from zilch, nada, zero, to War and Peace. We have supported many of our clients by creating content for them… but we know the very best content comes through a collaborative effort – between client, Web Designer and in an ideal world – a copywriter too.

Whether you are a one-man-band, or have a host of marketing and copywriting staff at your beck and call, the best place to start is with your customer and the problem they have that your business can solve.

We have collated 16 tips for writing copy for your website below. Of course, it would be awesome if you have the budget to hire a copywriter to assist with this but we appreciate this isn’t always possible.

You can also download our web page content planner to help you write compelling web copy.

So how do I write copy for my website?

1. Think content first

Your website is not just a business card. Your website needs to tell people what problem(s) you can solve. That means that your website design should follow some initial content planning so your Web Designer knows how elements and pages should be designed. Once you have an idea of the problem, we can begin to think about the types of pages and content that can provide a solution.

2. Include a ‘Call to Action’

What is it you want your ideal customer to do when visiting your website? Is it to make an enquiry? Pick up the phone? Buy something? Leave you a review? A call to action is essentially just a prompt for your users to take action, and should be prominent, and easy to do and your customer should have a good reason to take that next step.

Regular buttons throughout the content, and focusing on the highest priority Call to Action makes for an easier customer journey through your website; and hopefully on board your client list.

3. Write for a 10-year-old

Business owners are usually experts in their fields but their customers are unlikely to be.

If someone needs their computer fixed, they don’t need to know the technical details (usually).

Write for a 10-year-old and you will cater for a broader range of your market.

In terms of SEO, it is good practice to follow the Flesch Reading Ease formula to adapt the text to be more readable by your audience. In general, this just means that your copy should contain more short sentences and a limited amount of difficult words.

Of course, if your audience are academics and you are providing research papers this might not be the best solution, but as a general rule the simpler the better!

You can read more about the Flesch Reading Ease formula on Yoast’s website.

4. Write in small chunks

People don’t read websites like reports. They skim. They scan your beautifully designed webpage for information that is relevant to them and if they don’t find it, they leave. In marketing terms, this is your ‘bounce rate’. They bounce away and back to search for another go at finding the words they want to find on a web page.

Make that information easy to find. Leave space between topics or highlight important points so it’s not an effort for customers to find the information they need. Paragraphs can be 1 or 2 lines if it covers what they are looking for.

Making use of headings to highlight important points, breaking down large chunks of text into smaller ones, using bulleted or numbered lists, and lots of anchor links can really help those scanning eyes spot the information they need.

That doesn’t mean your webpage should be short. Search engines love content and ideally, you should aim for at least 300 words. But make sure this content is relevant and that it is easy to find exactly what they need.

If you really enjoy writing long-form content you should definitely consider blogging. More on that below

5. Save the detail for the blog posts

A blog post is your opportunity to really delve into the detail and show your expertise.

Write blog posts about specific problems. ‘My washing machine is making a weird tinkling noise’ or ‘Things to keep your kids entertained in Cheltenham in Winter’… so long as this is relevant to what you offer. Ideally, a blog post would be around 2000-2500 words, but every post and topic will vary. It’s far more important for your content to be good quality and relevant than hitting a certain number of words.

6. Incorporate keywords

Now, this is the tricky bit.

You’ve heard of SEO, but you don’t really understand what it is or how to do it?

Search Engine Optimisation essentially involves incorporating keywords or phrases into your content that customers would be searching for. Understanding your customers’ problems can help you come up with a good list of ideas that could work as keywords within your website.

If you are working with us to build your website, we will have asked you what keywords you would like to appear for during our briefing process. However, these keywords may be highly competitive or unlikely to drive any suitable customers to your website. We can perform some initial keyword research as an additional service and advise whether other keywords may be more effective for your strategy.

SEO is also a long-term project and is unlikely to provide any quick wins. If you want to compete and succeed in your SEO strategy, you need to be in it for the long haul with an SEO plan and good communication with your SEO team and Web Designer.

What even is a keyword anyway?

When we say keyword, really we mean a search term – whatever it is your customer has typed in to search to find your website. This is likely to be 3 or more words. Anything less is likely to be too competitive and likely not relevant to your market.

This could be something like: ‘how many glasses of wine can I drink whilst writing a blog post’ (no idea why that one popped into my head) or ‘who rides a tricycle in Cheltenham’ (btw our friend Thomas Trilby). If these queries are related to what you offer and you can answer the question better than anyone else, you are on to a winner…. BUT you need to include that query, and other related information in your content in order to stand a chance of competing with the thousands of other websites answering that question.

Sound impossible? Sometimes it is. But if you focus on your customers, their problems, in your area of expertise, you may well come out on top.

There are lots of technical, wordy, descriptions of SEO, and lots of technical aspects of your site that can impact your position, but at its most basic level, good SEO is all about providing the information that your target customer is interested in. Understanding their problems, answering their questions and providing the solutions in the most successful way.

SEO is a long game. If you write that article today, keep it fresh and relevant, in future, you will see the returns.

The best way to create SEO-worthy content is to write for humans first. Then when search engines bring in updates to their algorithms to improve their search engine listings (btw they want to show the content that best answers the questions too), you won’t be impacted by massive changes in traffic.

7. Expect it to change

You may have sent us really thorough, detailed and complex information to create your webpage, but we’ve changed it. You thought it was fine the way it was!

Sorry about that. It may be that we’ve used our knowledge of Web Design and Digital Marketing to make your content more SEO and user-friendly, using our experience as a guide to what works and what doesn’t. We don’t understand your market as well as you do though and this is why a collaborative approach makes for the best content.

It’s best to send us very rough draft ideas or text that you don’t mind us tweaking or making suggestions to adapt. And then feedback to us if we have misinterpreted your meaning. We respect the fact that you are the expert in your field.

8. Don’t say ‘welcome to my website’

Well, you just don’t need to. Unless your website was built when the internet was first invented you don’t need to start your website with a welcome. Save your headlines for keyword-rich content that will really engage your visitors and tell them what you are all about.

how do i write copy for my website

9. Include some FAQs

These are great for getting those keywords in. Just make sure they are the questions your customers are asking. This can draw in new customers, shorten the onboarding process or even get rid of time wasters by answering some of the most common queries that people ask you about your service or product.

10. Create separate pages for each of your services

If you have all your services listed on one page, Google won’t know how to index it.

Make separate pages for all of your services or products, and then anyone looking for a particular service will be able to find it. Your page could focus on a particular keyword phrase or a small number of phrases that can be grouped together in buckets that match your users’ intent.

11. Include location pages if you cover lots of areas

When your customers come from a range of places it’s worthwhile considering creating location pages that can appear when people run a local search such as ‘web designers in Cheltenham’.

It’s important though not to create hundreds of these with more or less identical text aside from the location as search engines don’t take kindly to duplicate content. The last thing you would want is your pages not to appear in search.

Making them unique with good quality content will help you reach different localities. It is much much harder to compete with ALL of the businesses countrywide or globally who can respond to the same customers’ problems that you can.

12. Launch your website in phases

You don’t need to have an all-singing all-dancing website from the get-go. Focus on the core parts of your business first, and then build upon them over time. Search engines love fresh content, so adding new sections and updating blog posts and pages to keep them relevant will remind the search engines to revisit your website, and analyse and index accordingly.

13. Include social proof

Social proof is a fancy term for giving your client a reason to trust you. You can do this by providing testimonials, certifications or any other evidence that other people know, like and trust you. For more information see this post from OptinMonster.

14. Be authentic

You don’t need to be a comedian to have the best content going, but writing as if you are speaking to another human helps you connect with your audience. A good trick we’ve found is saying your thoughts out loud and recording them. Then you can turn that information into words on paper. This will create a conversational style that has more personality than report-style content that can be dry or boring. You will sound more human by doing so. People prefer to buy from people especially if you are a small local business.

15. Avoid plagiarism

You may provide some of the same services or products as other businesses but Google could penalise if it appears to be exactly the same content as another web page. This can be particularly difficult for shopping sites that resell products that many other companies do as they could all have the same content, and Google may decide to only show 1 of those websites or even block the website entirely.

Find out more about duplicate content via Google’s guidelines, or from SEO expert Neil Patel.

16. Reuse content, but not too much

When people visit your site it is incredibly unlikely they will view every page so reusing small blocks of content can help them find what they are looking for. It’s worth using some caution with this however for the reason listed above. If you are working with us, we can assist you with working out the balance of content.

Summary: How do I write copy for my website?

We hope these 16 tips on how to write compelling web copy for your website help you get started. We know it can feel like a huge job.

If you are working with us on a Web project please do send us your ideas in draft format so we can help you integrate useful keywords into the content before it is in its final stage.

Your content needs to be written for humans above all else. Search engines want to rank the pages that best meet their users’ needs so stuffing keywords into pages or writing poor-quality content won’t benefit your visitors, or your position in search. Google’s recent ‘helpful content update‘ aims to support visitors to find more original, helpful content written both by people and for people, so now is the time to really focus on your audiences needs.

You can also read some great tips from SEM Rush, and take advantage of some fantastic tools such as Grammarly.

If you create my website, will you write the copy for me?

Our website prices don’t include copywriting as standard, however, we are always happy to assist in improving content already written. This could be to incorporate keywords, a call to action, improve navigation or page structure, or simplify messages and meaning.

If you do require copywriting, this is something we can arrange for you, but we would need some initial information on your business and products or services in order to generate some awesome content for your website. Please do reach out to us if you’d like our help.

If you want to see real improvement in the performance of your website in search over time, we highly recommend our SEO plans which include ongoing keyword research, and optimisation every month.

Download our free web page content planner

If you are looking for a website copy checklist, we have created a file to help.