Whether you’re a seasoned copywriter or a copywriting novice charged with creating web content for your company site, certain website copywriting tips benefit everyone.
Trying your hand at writing web content is something I’d encourage everyone to do. But, I would urge you to take expert advice to avoid some common mistakes before you give it a whirl.
Why do I need website copywriting tips?
Getting the right content on your website could be the difference between your customers converting and deserting. If they’re on your website, they’re interested in what you’re selling. So don’t lose them to bad web copy.
Even if your web design and graphics look spot on, expert website copywriting tips will avoid users switching off and your bounce rate shooting up.
You’ve invested time, money, and effort to get someone onto your website. Maybe you ran Google Ads, posted on social media, set up paid social campaigns, worked on getting good backlinks or paid someone for lead generation.
After all that hard work, it’s a waste to lose them once they’ve finally landed on your website. But words are powerful, and their power means they can instantly turn someone off your brand or business before they go any further along your funnel.
Good website copywriting tips make your content simple, powerful and effective.
1. Write simply
One of my major website copywriting tips is to keep it simple, no matter how much you know about your own industry.
Steer clear from jargon, don’t use business buzzwords and avoid anything too technical.
Even if you’re writing for a technical audience, most businesses want to keep web content straightforward.
Your website is an introduction to your business, and while certain pages can go into detail, many web pages are an overview of your product or service.
2. Optimise your web content
Optimising your website copywriting for search engines used to be a case of typing your keywords a few times and hoping for the best. Now, it’s much more complex than that, but SEO doesn’t have to be stressful.
If you’re putting your content directly onto the back end of your website, install or use an SEO plugin, like Yoast or SEOmatic. Use this to adapt your web copy to meet its requirements. This will make your website copywriting more readable and enable more web users to find your site.
However, if you’re not techy enough to add content to the website yourself, you can still optimise it before it gets to this stage. There are plenty of free SEO tools, like Content SEO Checker. These can prime your website copywriting for success, so make the most of them!
3. Write in the active, not passive
Anyone who uses SEO software when writing web copy will know how much the passive voice is despised (and yes, I wrote that in the passive voice, because I’m a rebel).
Here’s the difference between a sentence in the active voice and passive voice:
- Example of writing in the active voice: Ali writes awesome website copy
- Example of writing in the passive voice: Awesome website copy is written by Ali
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with writing in the passive voice, it’s generally considered better writing practice to use the active voice wherever possible.
Plus, as your goal is always to keep your writing simple and accessible, the active voice makes your sentences shorter.
However, don’t get too tied up with this, as it’s natural for the passive voice to occur in writing, so don’t feel like it’s totally banned. The best idea is to keep it in mind, swap it for the active voice where possible and minimise the passive if you can.
4. Avoid being a Blank Screen Betty
If you’re new to writing web copy, nothing can be more daunting than a blank page and an entire website to write. So, if you need website copywriting tips to banish Blank Screen Betty for good, read on.
First, forget spelling, grammar, word counts, H1s, site maps, and anything else stressing you out.
Set yourself a timer for 10 minutes, then write whatever comes to mind on your required topic. This may be an intro, an about us page, a random product or service page or even a blog post.
At this stage, all that matters is kick-starting your creativity and developing your confidence and momentum as a writer.
As soon as you’ve got something down, it’s much easier to keep going, as you have a tone, structure and style to maintain and build upon.
Hopefully, after ten minutes you’ll have a firm foundation for one of your web pages, or possibly even a completed page of website content (if your 10-minute blast was uber productive).
You can repeat this process as many times as you need to if you’re struggling with writers’ block. However, once may be enough for you to get off to a flying start.
5. Don’t use words you don’t understand
The lure of the Thesaurus is tempting for every in-house, agency, or freelance copywriter, but it’s smart to use restraint.
Nobody wants to wind up with the web copy equivalent of Joey Tribbiani’s adoption reference, signed Baby Kangaroo Tribbiani and written from the bottom of his full-sized aortic pumps.
Using a Thesaurus for website copywriting inspiration is fine, as long as you don’t plump for a synonym you don’t actually understand. When you do this, you’re risking your web content losing all meaning or becoming far too flowery (I’ve documented my thoughts on purple prose already).
By all means, find an alternative for the word you’ve overused throughout your web content. This will make it more enjoyable to read – as long as it makes sense.
But always exercise caution in using the Thesaurus, as it’s every website copywriter’s number one frenemy.
Simplicity is key, so if you can swap a long word for a shorter one, always do.
6. Don’t make it all about you
One major mistake many businesses make in doing their own website copywriting is to make it all about them.
I encourage anyone to try writing their own web copy. However, always focus on your target customer and check back in with yourself to make sure everything you write applies to them.
Your company’s long and prestigious history is great, but unfortunately, all your customers really care about is what your product or service can do for them. And that’s what’s important in writing good web content.
Focus each of your web pages on benefits, rather than features. Shout about how you can solve your customers’ problems and offer solutions to make their lives easier.
This doesn’t mean you can’t say anything about your business, because your customer needs to know who you are, what you do and why you’re the best company to do it for them. However, make sure you find a make it interesting or important to them, rather than leaving them asking “so what?”
7. Write in the right tone
Finding or maintaining the right tone for your business’s web content is an important step in your journey towards exceptional website copywriting.
If your business has a well-established style and tone of voice, use it throughout your web copy. This will make your entire website flow, and appeal to your target audience.
If your business doesn’t have an established tone of voice, it’s time to establish one!
To find the right tone of voice for your business, consider your target customer. Who are they? How do they speak? Which words would this person use regularly? And which words are they unlikely to say or understand?
With your target customer in mind, craft your website copywriting to fit the person you want to read it. Maybe that’s corporate, friendly, casual, humorous, or strictly professional. However, once you’ve found a tone that suits your brand, writing web copy will be an easier and much more seamless process.
8. Be honest and direct
This sounds simple, but many businesses produce web copy that skirts around a subject, leaving the visitor more confused than conversion-ready.
Speaking honestly about what you can offer customers is the best way to reach your target customer successfully.
Being direct doesn’t come naturally to everyone when taking on website copywriting, as it’s tempting to waffle to fill the space. However, your customers will thank you for getting straight to the point – nobody wants to read pages and pages of vague corporate speak.
Be upfront about what you do, how you do it, how much you charge, and what your customers can expect from your products or services. Because if they don’t glean all of that from your landing page, they’ll bounce off to your competitor’s site.
9. Write with authority
When we’re browsing the internet for a certain product or service, we’re looking for an expert to provide it to us. So, your website should reassure visitors you’re the specialist in your chosen subject.
Write with authority about the products or services you offer, and back up your claims with facts, stats, and evidence to earn web visitors’ trust and respect.
Use those valuable seconds when a visitor first lands on your website to show why yours is the right business to help them, using strong, simple language and fact-based proof.
10. Get your web copy checked
As a firm pedant, checking your work will always be one of my top website copywriting tips. However, I would always advise leaving this until last. Otherwise, this can disturb your flow and batter your confidence as a copywriter.
Once you’ve completed your website copywriting, run it through a spelling and grammar check and give it a good old read yourself for any errors. Then read it aloud to avoid skimming over errors without spotting them.
Mistakes are notoriously hard to spot when you’ve written your own web content. Ask a friend, colleague or freelance copywriter to cast an eye over your work – it’s always an excellent move.
After all your hard work writing your own web content, the last thing you want is for an easily avoidable error to crop up and make your business look unprofessional.
I hope these website copywriting tips prove useful for you when producing your own web content. If you’re considering it, just go for it. With a little research and consideration, you can produce powerful content to enlighten, educate and convert visitors to your website.