Web copy is important. It’s how people evaluate your business and decide whether or not to engage with you. It’s your salesperson who never sleeps.
Once done correctly, your website and the evergreen content on it should last you a while. Chopping and changing copy does your organic search ranking no favours and may even confuse your customers. That’s why it’s important to treat your copy as an asset for your business and do it the right way from the start.
Many good businesses exist in every niche, so standing out from your competition will require some soul searching. But before you write a word, you must understand who your content is aimed at and what their current “state of awareness” is when it comes to your business category, the products and services you offer, and other businesses similar to yours.
In this article, we outline the website content best practices you should follow with the goal to provide you with a website copywriting template that you can use to write engaging and relevant copy.
How to write a website
First, you need to identify what’s different about your business. To really hone in on your point of difference—what’s new, unique and/or interesting about your business—ask yourself questions about:
You and your vision: Why did you get into this business? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Your current customers: Are most of your customers of a particular type or size? If you’re B2B, are they a one-man band, SMB or enterprise client?
Key messaging: Who is your ideal customer and what tone is most likely to resonate with them? What niches would you like your business to grow in?
The goal of these discovery questions is to provide insight on company brand positioning and aspirations—where you currently sit in the market and where you’d like to be tomorrow. Whenever possible, ask team members who really know your products to weigh in.
Know what makes your clients love you
Copy that’s purely feature-driven is not effective. It’s likely that many of your competitors, if not all of them, have the same product features or services you do. Business growth—and even survival— depends on acquiring new customers.
When you know what your existing customers love about you, you can position your brand as a choice worth making. To do this, you must first identify what would make a client pick you over the competition.
Are they choosing you based on price, service or expertise? Do you have something unique to sell? While not every business can be unique, don’t fall into the trap of simply describing your services and saying how fantastic you are with no evidence of why that’s true. Offer benefits, reasons and testimonials as proof. Your web copy should ultimately demonstrate what you can provide in a way that makes people go, “Yeah, I want that.”
Do some research on Google to find out what prospective customers are searching for when looking for businesses like yours. Your research will inform your keywords, which will eventually be sprinkled throughout your headings and copy.
● See who else Google recommends under “People also search for …”
● Note who is currently ranking in position 1 (and who else is on page 1): What does that business say or do that you don’t?
● Make a list of keywords, always keeping in mind search intent
Ask existing customers for feedback
Interview people whenever possible, as you’ll get much better-quality responses that way. With a live conversation, you’ll be able to clarify questions and guide deeper answers. The end goal is to demonstrate your credibility and show that clients are happy with your services. For a simple testimonial formula, ask:
● Why did you choose our business?
● What was your experience like?
● Describe the business in three words
Plan for what pages you’ll need
Once you’ve developed your understanding of brand voice and positioning, you can start mapping out your site.
● Every site should have: Home, About Us, Our Team, Why Choose Us, Our Services, Contact
● Additional pages may include: blog, case studies, articles and other unique content
● Quality imagery is a must: Have professional photos taken and use high quality stock photos when necessary
Write the homepage copy last
It may seem counterintuitive, but the first thing customers see should be the piece you write last. Why? Because your homepage speaks to the essence of who you are and what you offer.
Most of the time, this kind of high-level clarity only emerges after asking those deep questions of yourself and your customers, thinking carefully about the responses, identifying common trends and distilling those findings into your mission statement.
Adhere to a formula across pages
By writing to a consistent formula on all pages, you’ll train people visiting your site to quickly absorb and extract information. Once you have your structure down, replicate it across all pages as much as possible. Here’s a simple formula I like to use. Feel free to tweak it to suit your business.
Example 1: Our Services
1. Overview: a summary of what you do
2. Detailed description: specific services you offer, including anything unique or hard to find
3. Benefits: what problem(s) you solve for your customer
4. Testimonial: feedback from customers in their own words
5. Footer (recommended): practical details appearing on the bottom of every page—location, hours, contact information, social media icons
Example 2: About Us
1. Overview: a summary of who you are
2. Detailed description: your company history, what motivated you to start the business, aka your “origin story”
3. Benefits: what values matter to you and your team (and carry over to customers)
Example 3: Why Choose Us
1. Overview: a summary of why your customers love you
2. Detailed description: how you serve people, what’s different about you
3. Benefits: how people feel after working with you
As you can see, your primary focus will be on defining the first three items for each page. (The testimonial and footer are optional; just be sure that the footer appears on all pages if you decide to include one.) Make sure that each page is it’s own and that you’re not just repeating the same things in different words.
Establish a tone that resonates with existing and future customers and keep your content aligned with that. For example, professional services tend to take a more formal tone that inspires confidence in their expertise while trade occupations are very service-oriented, highlighting their efficiency, ethics and any qualifications.
All seem a bit daunting? Hire an experienced Web copy writer
Of course, writing effective web copy is challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. Whether you’re not much of a writer or just need a professional perspective, Creative Content can provide you with any level of service you require, from advice to hands-on help from our professional copywriters that frees you of the burden of creating content. We’ll eliminate the guesswork and do the hard work for you.
If you’re dead set on doing yourself, we commend you! Use our full list of discovery questions to gather detailed qualitative information. Remember to complete all of the outlined steps as thoroughly as possible and validate your findings with your team, your customers and even the content marketing experts at Creative Content. Good luck! We’re cheering you on.