Want to hear a surprising take from a website designer? The words on your website might be even more important than the overall design!
The visuals and flow of your site show off your professionalism and guide clients through a strategic customer journey. Meanwhile, the words on your site do a lot of the heavy lifting to connect you to your ideal client, build brand trust, and eventually convince people to buy your products or services!
Putting thoughtful work into your website copywriting is crucial to get your messaging and tone right. After all, great copy will mesh seamlessly with a strategic website design to bring in new leads, showcase your skills, and connect you with more dream clients.
That said, starting from scratch with your beautiful (but empty!) template can be super intimidating and give you a big case of the blinking-cursor scaries. 😨 That’s completely normal! Website copywriting is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
So, if you’re staring at your site template, wondering how to write website copy… welcome! You’re in the right place.
We’ll talk about:
- What is copywriting for a website?
- How to write website copy
- Website copy best practices
- Website copy prompts to help you get started
What is copywriting for a website?
Website copywriting encompasses every single word that appears on a website, from headlines to calls to action. It should tell potential clients who you are, what you do, and how they can work with you.
If you’re starting with a template, you’ll be replacing the sample text, and copy prompts with original written words (aka copy).
My Launch Week clients are always starting from one of my original templates.While I’ve taken care of designing each template around proven conversion-driven copy practices, my clients provide original copy that’s unique to their brand.
When I welcome clients to their Launch Week, I want to make the website copywriting process as painless as possible. Some clients outsource the work to a copywriter they’re already working with or add on a copy service with one of our preferred copywriting partners. Others decide to go the DIY route – and that can be an excellent choice (even if you’re not a copywriter!)
After all, who knows your brand and goals better than you? 😉
How to write website copy
My fellow 90s kids might remember a game called Mad Libs. It works like this: you begin with a complete story, except several words are left out. You fill in the blanks with your own words to make a full (and usually hilarious) story!
Launch Week’s copy framework is a bit like Mad Libs (but instead of a funny story, you’ll get copy that converts browsers into buyers and makes the sale for you.) It’s chock full of goal-setting exercises, website copy prompts, and fill-in-the-blank exercises to banish writer’s block.
Website copy best practices in 5 easy steps
My official copy framework workbook is only available to Launch Week members, but there are some website copy best practices and how-tos of writing website copy that I can share with you.
You can apply these tips to any website copywriting project to streamline the process and make your job a whole lot easier!
Step one: Know your audience
Even though your website will be seen by hundreds or thousands of people, you’ll write stronger copy if you write to one ideal client. If you know exactly who you’re talking to, you’ll have a much easier time showing people you understand their problem and that you’re the right person to help them solve it.
Questions that will help identify your ideal client:
- What do they do, and what phase of business or life are they in?
- What are their pain points?
- What do they want?
- What would make their life easier?
- What are their doubts, and what would reassure them?
Once you’ve pinpointed who your services are for, what they’re struggling with, and how you can help, you can write copy that builds connection, trust (and conversion) with that person.
If you’re stuck on getting into your ideal client’s head, check out your past client roster and market research.
You can find a goldmine of audience info in these places:
- Client surveys
- One-on-one market research
- Reading reviews and testimonials for your own business (or your competitors’ businesses!)
- Past lead info
- Scroll Instagram with a purpose and scope out your competitors’ content and comments sections
Know your brand voice and keywords
While these are two distinctly different pieces, they’re closely related – and you’ll want to lock them both down before tackling your copy.
Keywords will help more ideal clients find your website, while your brand voice will help build connection. Knowing where you stand and where you’re headed will get you way better ROI out of your new website!
Keywords and phrases are the words people use to search for information, and you definitely want to include them in your copy. Google’s SEO algorithms will index the words on your site, and in turn your site will show up whenever people search for those terms.
If you’re looking for more guidance on keyword research, check out my step-by-step blog post on the basics.
While you might offer a similar product or service as someone else, what sets you apart in a sea of competition is you and your branding. Brand voice is all about capturing your unique personality and bringing that into your copy. It’s also a big part of building brand know, like, and trust, because it makes you sound authentic and relatable.
Website copywriting brand voice tips:
- Don’t worry about sounding like someone else – let your personality shine!
- Sprinkle in sayings, catchphrases, and slang you’re already using every day
- Feeling stuck? Read through your email responses, Instagram captions, and Facebook posts to help find your tone and spot things you say on repeat
- Describe your ideal vibe in three words to hone in on a central tone for your copy
- Keep it consistent!
If you’re working from a template, look at the visuals as you write
I’m a huge advocate for copy before design. It’s an incredible way to build maximum conversion strategy into your site. That said, whenever you take the whole picture into account, not every business is best served by creating a website from the ground up. That’s why templates can be so helpful!
If you work with one of my templates, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Before I even designed one pixel, I started by developing a strategic marketing framework for copy. So, even though my clients fill out copy after the design, we’re still working from a starting point of proven design and copy strategy.
Most of my clients like to pull up a split screen with the template design on one side and their copy document on the other. Try this trick if you’re working with any template (even if it’s not with me)! It helps keep the complete picture at the front of your mind. When you can look right at the page as you’re brainstorming, you get a better sense of how each bit of copy works on the page.
Stick to the framework
If you’ve ever worked with a website template, you’re familiar with the default filler text supplied by the designer. For my clients, I also provide a copy workbook with target word counts and writing prompts for each section.
Whether you start with a template or my copy framework, the sample copy takes up a set amount of room. For example, a sample headline might take up one line of text and be nine words long. If you write a headline that’s way longer than that, it can have a big impact on the way that visual element looks on the page!
Do your best to stick to the copy framework provided with your template. Going too far off the beaten path affects the design flow and overall page strategy.
Use copywriting prompts
It’s common to feel a little lost when you start writing website copy. If you need an extra push, writing prompts can get your creative mind flowing while keeping strategy in mind.
Here are some copywriting prompts that can help. I’ve even included Mad Libs-style pieces of copy you can swipe (just fill in the blanks!)
- Use one or two sentences to write who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. Mad Libs-style example: “Hey, I’m ____! I help ______ make ______.”
- Write direct CTAs (link) that tell people exactly what you want them to do next. Mad-Libs Style Example: “Tell me more!”
- Position your ideal client’s problem and solution as a question. Mad Libs-style example: “Ready to (do this thing for your business) but need more ______?”
And just like that, you’re on your way to writing website copy!
Writing your website copy is a big job, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. This is absolutely something you can do for your business! Once you’ve figured out your ideal client and honed in on keywords and brand voice, you’ll be ready to write fantastic copy.
Keep your template visuals in front of you as you work and follow the strategic framework set out by your designer. The best website templates come with a built-in strategy, so follow the design’s lead for the best results. If you get stuck, copywriting prompts can help you figure out how to put your ideas into words. You’ve got this!
Ready to build a strategically designed website the stress-free way – in just one week? Sign up for your Launch Week now!
I'm the Founder & Creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a your SEO and techy biz bestie. My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is and launch a website that works for you - not the other way around.