Your website copy is a lot more important than you realize.
It can make or break whether a user reaches out for your services or purchases a product.
Changing around a few words or optimizing headlines can make drastic changes in business performance.
In fact, three quarters of online users pay close attention to spelling and grammar on a company’s website.
How do you think your website copy reflects your brand?
Is it generic and boring? Is it vague?
Or, does it bring out the customer’s emotions, suck them into a spiral, and get them excited to buy your product?
Don’t worry if your web copy is more dry than the Sahara desert. I’m going to help you fix that today.
Ahead are the exact steps I use myself to write copy for websites.
I’ve never shared this with anyone before, but I thought it’d be a nice resource for copywriters or business owners that wish to write their own website pages.
What is website copywriting?
Before anything, let’s define website copywriting.
It is the process of writing pages for a business website that helps achieve their goals and hit KPIs.
This includes organic traffic, sales, or leads in most cases, if not a combination of these things.
There are standard practices and pages that must be produced, such as the home page, contact page, and about page, for example.
Having SEO knowledge is also a mandatory skill in my opinion.
Remember that copywriting is used to generate results.
If you understand the fundamentals of SEO, you will be able to produce page copy that drives traffic to your site, and ultimately converts into cold hard cash.
How much should I pay for website copywriting? (Or charge)
The amount you pay for copywriting services will depend on the writer’s skill level, portfolio, your budget, and the scope of the project.
There isn’t necessarily a one-fits-all rate for copywriting, but I’d recommend referencing the Professional Writer’s of Canada Association’s rates as a benchmark.
According to their website, website copywriting is typically billed at $60-100/hour or $1-3/word.
Look at copywriting as an investment.
You’re going to pay a writer to produce copy that generates your business revenue, so it will have a direct ROI.
If you need copywriting services, feel free to reach out to me at any time.
With that being said, let’s talk about how you can begin writing website copy yourself.
How to write website copy
Step 1: Organize all of the available resources you have
The first step before writing anything is to organize yourself.
You will want to collect as many resources as possible about the client, such as:
- Blog posts: These give insight into how the brand speaks, their audience, and how they present themselves to the world.
- Reviews: Testimonials allow you to get inside the head of their ideal customer, understanding what they like and don’t like about the product/industry.
- Market reports: You need to become an expert on the industry your client is in. Market reports detail trends, opportunities, consumer behaviors, and other data that’s priceless as a copywriter.
- Forums: Use these communities as a way to learn about how customers in the industry speak, their demographics, interests, and other notable pieces of information.
- Competitors: Visit Google and find the client’s top competitors. Study their websites to get copy ideas, and to see if you can pick up on any strategies or patterns.
- Internal documents: Ask the client if they can provide you with any memos, emails, or other resources from inside the company to further study them.
Organizing and collecting resources is an overlooked step in the copywriting process.
I recommend spending a good amount of time here, as it will help speed up and smooth out the writing process later.
I also enjoy taking hand written notes, and pinning them up on the whiteboard in my office for easy reference.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time for the next step.
Step 2: Ask the important questions
There are some mandatory questions you need to ask yourself and the client to produce the absolutely best copy.
They include the following.
What are the features and benefits?
The features of a product include its size, color, or materials. They are factual pieces of information that need to be mentioned.
However, it’s not what helps sell it.
Benefits is what makes customers want to take out their credit cards.
These are the emotions and experiences that the consumer gets out of using the product.
For example, the features of a t-shirt may be:
- It’s made out of linen.
- It’s a light blue color.
- It has a stretch fit.
This is great and all, but here’s what the customer really wants to hear:
- They will still cool in the warm weather.
- It’s a versatile shirt they can wear with any outfit to feel confident.
- It will fit better over time.
Brainstorm the features and benefits of the product that your client sells before moving onto the next question, which is…
What’s the unique value proposition?
The unique value proposition, or UVP for short, is the feature that makes the product stand out from anything on the market.
Look at Dyson’s vacuum, for example.
The headline below the product name clearly states their product has “Twice the suction of any cord-free vacuum.”
Study the client’s business to determine what makes them stand out from competitors. Better yet, ask them these questions I’m outlining via email or a phone call to get it straight from the horses mouth.
What problem does the product solve?
I’m sure your client’s product has tons of nifty features and gizmos, but the reality is that only one thing matters: that it solves a customer’s problem.
In the Dyson example above, it’s safe to say that the vacuum solves problems like:
- Prevents allergies by collecting dust and other allergens.
- Keeps customer’s homes looking and feeling clean.
- Saves time versus using a less powerful vacuum.
- Cleans all floor types, so customer’s don’t need several tools to clean their home.
Look at the business you’re writing copy for, and brainstorm all of the ways that their product solves an issue.
How much does it cost?
Price is a huge reason why people buy things.
It needs to be within their budget, and they also have to be able to justify paying for it.
This is why you need to carefully break down why something costs the amount it’s sold for.
Can you justify it as an investment? Will it save them money in the long term? These are questions you need to ask yourself regarding price.
Step 3: Study the audience like the back of your hand
No audience is the same.
They all have different needs, values, desires, and beliefs.
Understanding all of these little details will allow you to craft copy that hyper-targets their questions, emotions, and situation.
It’s like the analogy of using a shotgun versus a sniper rifle.
One sprays in random directions in hopes it will hit something. The other is fine tuned to hit an exact target.
Be a sniper when you write copy.
Ask yourself the following questions every time you go write web pages:
- Who is the average user visiting this page?
- Why do they need the product?
- What purpose does it serve them?
- What questions would they have about the product or business?
- What objections might arise in their mind?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to move onto the final step before writing.
Step 4: Determine the objective
Every piece of copy has a different goal.
Some are written to generate revenue, increase the amount of leads a business acquires, or improve brand awareness.
This is why one of the first questions you should yourself or the client is what the main goal is.
The objective of the copy will change how it’s written, formatted, and everything in between.
For example, copy written to make sales would focus more on the product, how it will change the customer’s life, pricing, value propositions, and ultimately leads to a sales page.
However, if you wrote copy to generate leads, it would focus more on collecting information from the reader, and offering them something of value in exchange for it.
Once this step is completed, we can move onto the fun part: writing 🙂
Step 5: Start writing!
Here are the three main steps I take when producing copy. Feel free to add in your own strategies and steps to make it unique.
Write the first draft, head lines, and bullets
I learned a great lesson from Robert Bly, one of the best copywriters to live, that drastically sped up my writing process.
It is the idea that if you write copy as fast as possible, you use the creative and emotional side of your right brain.
This also saves time, as you knock out the first draft in a much shorter time span.
And that’s another point: don’t be a perfectionist.
The first draft is just that… a draft.
It isn’t supposed to be sexy, clean, and uniform.
It just needs to have the foundation and general idea of the copy before you move onto the second stage.
Similarly, I recommend spending a lot of time writing down tons of headline ideas.
Anything that comes to mind goes. Keep the main objective in mind when writing headlines, and they’ll always come out better.
A common practice for copywriters is to let ideas flow out via bullet points. Every bullet should have a separate idea or selling point.
Let the words flow out of fingers and onto the screen.
This brings me to my next point.
Edit for flow, logical sequence, and rewrite sections
Once you have written the first copy of the website’s pages, it’s time to edit them.
Go back to the very beginning, and ensure that all of your spelling and grammar is correct.
There are free tools available like Grammarly that will do most of the leg work for you.
Sign up for an account, create a new file, and paste in your copy.
It will let you know anything that can be improved.
Additionally, you need to rewrite the copy for flow.
Every idea and point should effortlessly lead into the next.
Avoid choppy jumps between sections that don’t completely relate.
You want copy to be like a slippery slope, allowing the reader to sail through the material without interruptions.
The sequence of your copy also needs to be logical.
For example, you wouldn’t talk about how the t-shirt you’re selling is made of a special cotton, then suddenly speak about where your company is from.
It’s seems obvious, but these little mistakes are seen often in the world of copywriting.
Ask for feedback from the client
Once you’re satisfied with the copy, you should send it to the client to get their opinion.
Remember, they know their business best.
But, tread lightly. You’re the authority as the copywriter, and know what works best in terms of writing.
That means you should fix anything they like that ensures an accurate representation of their product, but avoid changing strategies or sections that you know won’t work.
We’ve all been there: the client that tries telling you how to write copy, when you’re the one writing it!
Don’t be afraid to speak up if they make a suggestion that you know will hurt conversion rates. They will appreciate it in the long term when they make more money 🙂