What is Website Copy? And How to Write it

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Website copy is the text that appears in the main body of your website. It normally includes your homepage, landing pages, about us page, services and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) pages. These are referred to as your top-level pages where the text is meant to sell your products or services and guide visitors through the rest of your site.

What is Good Website Copy?

Your website copy should be targeted towards the terms and topics your potential customers use in their searches in order to help them solve a problem. The goal is to get them to take action which could be to buy your product, request a quote or sign up for your email newsletter.

What’s the Difference Between Web Copy and Website Content?

Although website content can also be text, there is a difference between web copy and your other text.

Web copy is written to convince readers to take some sort of action. It is specific to your business and is normally shorter in length than other text content. The main purpose of web copy is to sell your products or services.

Web content is any other text on your website. It focuses more on your industry and your reader’s interests and is used to inform, educate and engage your visitors.

Why is it Important to Have Good Website Copy?

It doesn’t matter how your visitors reach your website. It could be through referral links on social media or the result of a search on Google. Either way, they will click your link because they’re interested in your content. But if your website is badly written, confusing and long-winded, they’re very likely to leave without looking at any other parts of your site.

Good website copy can help keep visitors on your site for longer and hopefully get them to buy from you or use your services.

Things to do Before You Start Writing?

You should lay the foundation for your website before you start writing. Here are a few points to help you get started:-

1. Define Your Purpose

It’s important to know what the objective of your website is before you start writing. This will help you write the perfect copy and call-to-action statements. The following are a few questions you should answer to help define your purpose:-

  • Is your website intended to sell a product or service?
  • Do you want to attract visitors to increase advertising revenue?
  • Is your site aimed at attracting new clients and generating leads?
  • Do you want to attract subscribers or build a community?

2. Understand Your Target Audience

If you’re selling a product or service, you’ll only know how to sell to your target audience by getting to know them better. To write copy that appeals to your potential customers, you need to understand their mindset:-

  • Who are the people that visit your website?
  • What kind of problems do they need you to solve?
  • What search terms do they use?

By understanding your audience, you can write in the same way they speak or search the internet. This is can help you build a relationship of trust. If you can answer their specific questions, you increase the chance of them becoming a client.

3. Know Your Competition

It’s more than likely that your visitors will also consider your competitors, so you’ll need to do some research on them.

You’ll need to decide if you want to offer similar content or offer something different. Researching your competition can help you identify trends and get ahead of them. The easiest way to do this is to do a search for your main product or service and look at sites that rank in the results pages. Find out what they’re doing.

  • What is the primary product or service they offer?
  • What type of content do they use on their top-level pages?
  • What audience do they target?

Tips for Writing Your Website Copy

Here’s a list of suggestions to help you write better website copy.

1. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

Just like any other content on your website, the main website copy shouldn’t have spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. They make you seem slapdash and unprofessional.

2. Make Your Text Scannable

Most website users tend to skim read, so it’s important to make sure that your text is scannable. Using headers, bulleted and numbered lists, subheadings and white space between paragraphs will help.

3. Help Visitors to Navigate Your Site

Not all of your visitors will land on your front page when they visit your site for the first time. There are a lot of other routes they could follow to reach you your wesbite. These include posts shared on social media, links on other websites, marketing emails and search engine results pages. Because of this, it’s important to make it clear what you do and include links in your copy to other parts of your website.

It’s also a good idea to include links to your social media accounts. This way you can create a connection with your visitors. Social media links can help if a visitor leaves your site but remains a social media subscriber. Being a social media subscriber, they will hopefully return to your site in the future.

4. Talk to Your Visitors as You Would a Friend

To help build a relationship between your brand and client you can use the following methods:-

  • Try to use active rather than passive voice in your writing. Active voice is more personal, while passive voice should only be used when you want to sound more formal. If you’re using WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin has a great tool for identifying passive voice in your text.
The Yoast readability analysis panel
The Yoast readability panel in WordPress
  • Address your readers directly. Use “you” to address the visitor and “we” when you speak from your company’s point of view. Use “I” for and individual voice.

5. Keep it Simple

Try to keep your copy simple. Using simple language will help your readers understand the text and remember more.

  • Use short sentences to help communicate your message clearly
  • Use adverbs and adjectives sparingly to keep your sentences short and snappy
  • Try not to use too much industry specific jargon. Bear in mind that not all your readers will be experts. Use simpler words and alternatives instead of professional terminology. You can use hyperlinks to other articles with more information.

6. Encourage Visitors to Act

Remember that the purpose of your web copy is to get your visitors to take some kind of action. By including a clear call-to-action with words like “Request a Quote”, “Subscribe” and Read More” you can help to start the process.

Getting Down to Writing Your Website Copy

Big companies usually have a marketing department and the budget to to employ the services of professional copywriters. As a small business owner, you probably won’t have these resources and you’ll have to write your website copy yourself. This can seem a little daunting if you have doubts about your writing skills. Don’t worry though, stick to the basics we’ve outlined in this article and you’ll be off to a good start. You should also ask your friends, family or colleagues to proofread your copy to point out errors and offer suggestions for improvement. It’s amazing what a second pair off eyes can do.

If you are outsourcing your web copy, you will still need to give the copywriter or agency enough information about your business to have material to work with. Remember, nobody else knows your business like you do.

Need Help with Your Website?

Please feel free to contact us if you need help with your website or writing copy. Visit our home and services pages for more about us and what we do.

Cimeron Collins

Cimeron Collins

Cimeron is an artist and designer with more than 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industries.

He is an avid WordPress enthusiast and passionate about learning and experimenting with new developments and technology in website design and development.

He lives in Edenvale, South Africa with his wife Tamay.

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