Beginners Guide to Copywriting for Websites

Beginners Guide to Copywriting for Websites

Writing about yourself and your business sounds like it would be a easy as pie, right?

Even if it were… Are you truly getting your message across? Is anyone reading the juicy bits?

Does your audience feel seen and heard through what you’re sharing or is your copy just screaming “me me me” into the void of the internet?

Having worked on dozens of website designs + redesigns over the years, we’ve seen people struggle quite a bit with this topic. Even when there’s a clear outline of the pages and sections to include on the site, there’s still a feeling of anxiety about how to write and communicate effectively.

Well, here are our top 3 tips for website copywriting:

1. Write for YOUR audience

Have the copy speak directly to your customer, in a conversational tone. In writing copy entirely for them and their needs/problems/desires/results, they’ll feel seen and heard and willing to read more and hire you. Plus, you won’t get lost explaining things that don’t really matter to them – your thoughtful copy should be to-the-point in offering them real benefits and immense value through your goods and services.

2. Include headers, subheaders and actionable phrases in all your page sections.

More on this in the tips featured below — The majority of people will not read everything you wrote (sorry to burst that bubble) – So, first write the body of your text (say, for your services), and then come back to it to pull a header/title, subheader/subtitle (phrase or short sentence that describes a bit more of what the header presents) and conclude the section with a call-to-action (Schedule a consultation, Sign Up, Add to Cart, etc)

3. Write first, edit later.

We get it – this is a LOT of information to take in and process. It is most definitely overwhelming at first. That’s why we suggest to first just write with full abandon – Don’t worry about your website or headings or buttons – that will come later. Take time to fully express yourself and then take a break. Once you return to what you’ve written you can put your “editor” hat on and begin the crafting process of your copywriting journey. It’s always easier to start with more than you need and widdle it down to “enough” – This is entirely true for copywriting, too! During the editing phase you can keep your focus on your audience, in how clearly you are speaking to them, and pull out phrases for your headers, subheaders and buttons/calls-to-action.

In addition to our personal tips above, we’ve put together a list of our Top 5 Recommended Copywriting Articles and highlighted some of our favorite tips from them below. Have a look:

 

DID's Top 5 Recommended Copywriting Articles

 

1. 20 Killer Web Copywriting Tips

Our favorite tips from this article:

4. Make It Skimmable.
Readers online don’t read word for word. Instead, they scan to find what they’re looking for faster. Making your copy and content easy to skim gives them what they want, keeps their attention longer, and is easier for everyone to read.

Use a variety of formatting techniques that break up the text and draw the reader’s eye down the page. Some of the best ways to make web copy skimmable are:

  • Use several headings and subheadings
  • Create bulleted and numbered lists
  • Format text with bold, italic, underlining, or color
  • Include images, video, and other media and captions for each
  • Write single-line paragraphs
  • Vary sentence and paragraph length

14. Make it Feel like a Conversation.
People don’t want to be sold to. Tone down the hype and write your web copy like you’re talking with your ideal customer face-to-face. Your audience can tell the difference, and will be more likely to participate.

16. Tell a Story
All the epic content in the world is useless if it doesn’t help visitors become leads and customers. Learn to write powerful calls to action that guide prospects through the sales funnel.

Storytelling is powerful. It draws readers in and engages them. And the honesty and transparency involved in storytelling is one of the top ways you can build your
credibility and authority even in your web copywriting.

 

2. Writing Copy For The Web: The 80/20 Guide to Copywriting For Entrepreneurs

Our favorite tip from this article:

Sketch Sheet Boxes

1. Action — What action do you want your reader to take?
2. Target Reader — Who is this piece for? Who is your “target reader”? Can you think of one or two people already in your audience who you know?
3. Transformation — What’s the transformation you’re helping your target reader achieve? If they take the action you want them to, in what ways will they or their life be different?
4. Fears — What fears does your target reader have about the transformation, action, topic or idea in this piece? Where does he/she feel embarrassed or vulnerable about this topic, transformation, idea or action?
5. Common Traps — What are the common traps for people taking this action or exploring this transformation? For what reasons would someone say, “yea, I tried taking that action; it didn’t work for me”?
6. Existing Need or Desire — What does your target reader already know he/she needs or desires about this action, topic or transformation?
7. Objections — What other OBJECTIONS do they have about this action, idea or topic? What objections do they have to the specific action you’re asking them to take?
8. Differentiators — What is unique about your offering as it compares to other comparable or competing offerings? What makes this particular action or offering different?
9. Common Words & Phrases — Spend some time researching your target reader, their need or desire online. What are some common words or phrases people use to talk about this action, idea or transformation? How do people in the real world talk about this? What language do they use? What stories do they tell? What things do they believe about it?

 

3. Essential Copywriting Tips for the 3 Most Important Pages on Your Website

Our favorite tip from this article:

The About Page

Remember who the page is really about.
If you’re stuck for getting started with your “about” page, there’s no harm in tackling the five W’s to get the facts down, but remind yourself — a “who, what, when, where, why” is likely to be a press release-like snore. Pepper it up by really focusing on the “why.” The salesy and overly self-congratulatory page won’t establish the credibility and trust you seek. Put the reader first, use plain language, and communicate what customers really want to know (and what you need them to leave with) — a reason to believe you put them first.

 

4. 41 killer copywriting tips that’ll improve any business fast.

Our favorite tips from this article:

Tip 10: Use sub-headings to make your key points get noticed.

Understanding how people read digital copy comes in very handy.
Unfortunately, we typically don’t tend to read much website copy. Instead, research shows that 79% of people scan web pages before they do anything.
It’s natural: they’re subconsciously looking for words, phrases or images that interest them or catch their eye.
But there’s more.
Only 16% of people read every word on a web page even in the best circumstances.
Follow these steps to give your words some TLC.
Break any long pieces of copy up into manageable chunks.
Insert a sub-heading to introduce each section. They need to be very benefit-driven. Don’t talk conceptually – be blunt and include the appropriate keywords.

Tip 20: Define your best customer so that you can create content that they’ll like.

All the copywriting tips in the world won’t increase your conversions if you don’t know who you’re selling to.
Website traffic isn’t an exercise in vanity. Don’t aim to attract the most visitors; instead, follow these 4 steps to focus on getting the right visitors:

Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
Think about the characteristics of your most valuable customer. Are they male or female? Young or old? The more detail the better.
Give that person a name, job and location. Visualise them.
Work out what sort of content they like and how they prefer to consume it.

Tip 34: Have a clear call-to-action.

Ah, the classic schoolboy error.
If you’re adept at creating amazing copy, but you’re not giving your audience clear direction at the end, then at best you’re wasting an opportunity.
At worst, you’re leaving money on the table.
Having an influential call-to-action [CTA] is one of the most important aspects of web copywriting, so spending some time mastering this skill.
If your CTA is in the form of a button, then be sure to test different words, colours and shapes.
Depending on the market and the audience, you’ll usually find that there’s always one clear winner.

 

5. 11 Copywriting Tips: How to Turn Marketing Drivel into Serious Sales Copy

Our favorite tip from this article:

Subtleties and politeness are great (of course!).
But a subtle call-to-action gives people an excuse not to do as you ask. Starting a call-to-action with if, is the best way to give people an excuse. Be bossy and tell people exactly what you expect them to do.

Overly polite:

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Visual Branding Website Strategy Services by Dream Inspired Design

 

So, are you inspired yet? Ready to tackle your own website copy?

Get to it and let us know if we can be of service to help you take it above and beyond with our Website Design services.

And if after reviewing this list you have become more clear that you don’t want to do your own copywriting, there are plenty of amazing copywriters out there who would love to work with you. Consider options both online and local, if you’d rather work with someone face to face. Some copywriters even work by conducting an in-depth interview to gather your story and brand message and then craft your website copy from that conversation – All you have to do is show up and be yourself!

Shine On,
Ana + Shelby