Six Steps to Writing Great Website Copy

Ginny Grimsley, Aug 25, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Your website copy should show how you interact authentically with your customers, first and foremost. Great website copy communicates your brand, connects you to your customer base, and is the primary tool for sharing your brand narrative with the world. It should delight and educate your audience without overwhelming them with too much information.

Below, you’ll find some web copywriting best practices to show you how to plan a copy deck, utilize keyword research, and stick to the word count guides of your website wireframes or templates. We’ll also drop some tips about writing web copy and gathering feedback from your team.

Blackboard image of the words content, website, design with arrows indicating which one comes first

Step 1: Prepare Your Copy Deck

Effective website copy is drafted, edited, and approved by all stakeholders in a copy deck that is well-organized and accessible. We like Google Docs because it’s easy to collaborate there. You can easily write your first draft, share it with your team, and edit as you gather their critiques as comments in the document. Create a page for each web page of copy that you intend to write.

Pro Tip: Create a separate table of contents so everyone can reference each page of the copy deck you create.

Step 2: Stick to the Wireframe or Template Word Count

Once your copy deck is ready, pay careful attention to the word count recommended for each web page. This should be clearly noted on the wireframe or template you’re using to build the website. 

Pro Tip: Most web designers and UX strategists use placement copy during the wireframing stage. This is called “lorem ipsum,” “greeking,” or “FPO (for placement only) text.” This shows how the copy will look on the page, and it shows the copywriter how much copy to write. It’s important to abide by the word count that is dictated in your wireframes or template. Too much (or too little) copy can interfere with the designer’s intent for the page.

Step 3: Keywords, Keywords, Keywords!

Inform your copywriting with keyword research, always. 

Here are three steps to using keywords more effectively:

  • Don’t force keywords. Identified keywords should naturally work into your copy. Just keep the keywords in mind as you write.
  • Integrate your primary keyword into page headers. The keyword should align with the content on the page, so this should happen on its own. You can also supplement with subheadings if need be. 
  • Use the “find” tool to search for each keyword. Do this once you’ve finished writing a page. This way, you can see if you used keywords too much or too little. A goal is to use each keyword no more than 2-3 times. 

But, remember: Keywords should happen naturally.

A smiling woman writing in a notebook

Pro Tip: Include keywords as part of creating your copy deck. For example, if some keywords fit a page theme, add a comment as a placeholder so you don’t forget to use it. 

Step 4: Follow Copywriting Best Practices

Substance over Style in Drafts

Put in facts first, then figure out how you want to jazz it up. Stating facts first also helps you to organize your thoughts and write tight, focused copy.

Important Information First

Lead with your value proposition, differentiator, and/or key benefit you provide your customers on your homepage hero. Begin with the idea: why should someone choose your business over your competition?

All Pages are Equal

Remember that users may find your interior pages first and miss your homepage completely. Write copy for all your pages with that in mind. 

Concise Language is King

Attention spans are only getting shorter. You may have a lot to say, but you have very little time to say it. Edit copy down to make it as impactful (and skimmable) as possible.

Break It Up

With all the skimming that users are doing, it's important to format text to make it easy for users to find the information they need. Break up big blocks of copy with subheads, bullet points, pull quotes, infographics, or other ways of displaying information to make it more visually compelling.

English Course?! What English Course?

Web copy is its own thing. Definitely check spelling and grammar, but you can forget about a lot of the traditional rules. A sentence can be a paragraph (and often should - see the bullet above). Sentence fragments are fine. And you can start a sentence with “and” or “but.”

Use 2nd Person “You”

Talk directly to your potential customers. Tell them why they should care. This means using the second-person “you” a lot more than the first-person “I” or “we.”

Indicate a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Use verbs that express exactly what you want a user to do. If clicking the button download an ebook? Write “Download eBook.”

Use Active Voice

The subject conducts the action = Active Voice = You created a website! :D

The subject receives the action = Passive Voice = A website was created by you. D:

Readers respond to active voice because it is impactful and creates a clear image in the reader’s mind.

Write Positively

Positive phrasing creates a stronger message and is easier to understand. It’s also, well...positive! Instead of “We never disappoint,” write “We wow you every time.”

Make it Simple

Use words your audience knows. Maintain substance, and avoid any unnecessary filler words. Your audience is human and can see straight through the jargon.

Use Your Own Voice

Is your brand professional? Witty? Straightforward? Creating your website is the perfect time to make sure the copy fits your brand.

Read It Out Loud

Reading your copy out loud helps you hear any awkward spots (as well as spots where keywords feel forced). Revise to smooth out those spots.

Step 5: Share Your Copy Deck with Your Team 

Once you’ve finished your initial draft and worked through all these steps, share your copy deck with the people you want feedback from. 

Step 6: Final Touches

Once you’ve revised your copy deck based on feedback you received, finalize the copy deck. To do that, perform the following steps:

  • Review the copy deck
  • Edit for further changes
  • Run a spelling and grammar check
  • Update the Table of Contents

Now would be a good time to have a trained editor complete a thorough edit of your final copy deck. 

Lines of code on a sparkle background

If you follow these six web copywriting steps, you should have some whizbang copy that engages and delights your target audience.

Growth has a lot of experience writing all kinds of copy, and if you need help writing copy for your websites, blogs, email campaigns, or ebooks, we’ve got you covered. Contact us for a quote. 

:Inbound ContentBest PracticesWebsite Development

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