Tips for Successfully Doing Your Own Website Copywriting
How to effectively tell your story
You are probably a pretty decent writer. You text your friends, share emails with clients and colleagues, and leave notes at home for your family. If necessary, you can probably even write a classified ad or draft a little bit of text for a flyer, school event program, or sign. You’d think website copywriting would come easy for you… but it doesn’t, does it?
Website copywriting is a form of specialized communication. The best website copy is brief, clear, and uses storytelling and emotion to persuade people and prompt action of some kind. It’s not your normal note to a babysitter or text to a friend.
Normally, I recommend that business owners and leaders hire a professional copywriter to draft website copy. Why? The messaging on your website is a key element in generating sales. (If your website isn’t generating leads for your business, the copywriting is probably in need of some revision – and maybe even an intervention.)
I’m pretty practical, though. Sometimes hiring a copywriter just isn’t in the budget. Other times a site only needs a few small changes – like an additional page or a new section of text – and hiring a copywriter seems like an extra step you can avoid.
So, here are my tips for writing or revising your own website copy… and some things you can (and should) consider as you tweak the words on your site.
Tip One :: Make it about them.
There’s a common misconception I see all the time in website copy – from big corporate sites and start-ups to new entrepreneurs and nonprofits. It is the mistaken belief that the purpose of a website is to share information about a business or organization – a type of commercial wikipedia, if you will. This is just wrong… and is a key contributor to low conversion rates and abysmal lead generation.
Your website is not about you. It’s not about your business. It’s not a type of commercial resume used to share all your achievements, accolades, and awards. Your website is a marketing tool – no more, no less. This means the primary purpose of your website text is to connect with your potential customers and give them a reason to take action – either to contact you or buy your products and services, depending on your business model.
As a marketing tool, your site isn’t actually about YOU at all. It’s about them – your ideal customers – and what they need to know, think, or feel in order to take action. Write your text with this in mind… in other words, make it all about them.
Ask yourself these questions…
- What questions are my people asking?
- What problems are my people trying to solve?
- What do my people really need and how does my work provide these things?
Fill your website with text that answers questions, connects around problems, and demonstrates how your work meets the needs of people. Resist the temptation to brag about yourself or your company, create a lot of noise, or do a bunch of naval-gazing. Remember – it’s not really about you.
Tip Two :: Stop overthinking and just keep it simple.
Nearly everyone who hires my firm for website copywriting expresses frustration. They talk to me about feeling “frozen” due to overthinking and a concern about what to write in order to generate more sales and more leads. They are looking for a magic formula that will finally solve a revenue problem – and get them the results they need.
Here’s a little secret – – > You already know what to write. You just need to get out of your own way and tell your story as clearly and simply as possible.
Why should people work with you? What makes your products effective? Why did you decide to start this business or add this product or service? Write messages that answer these questions directly and with simple, easy to understand language.
Here are some examples:
- [Product name] makes it easy to [do something].
- We believe in helping people [do something, get something, solve some problems].
- Our services are perfect for people in [situation] who need [solution].
Clever copy is interesting and it wins awards sometimes, but it doesn’t convert as well as a short, direct message of value. Think of the tag line for your favorite brand. Not very complex is it? Keep your text just as simple.
Tip Three :: Less really is more.
Remember your days in school? There’s nothing more boring than spending hours skimming pages and pages of written material while searching for key points you need in order to complete your assignment or get a good grade on an upcoming test. All those paragraphs start to swim on the page… and before long you’re looking for some sugar or caffeine to keep you motivated. Common experience…or was this just me?
In website copy – as in textbooks, letters from the government, and legal contracts – less is more. Remember… you are building a marketing tool, not a doctoral thesis. Carefully select a few key points and share them in a concise, compelling way. Make it easy for the reader to understand your meaning, skim for information, and figure out what to do next.
Look – I understand the issue. You’re proud of your work and the history of your business. You want to share what you know and demonstrate your expertise. I get it… but a ton of text is actually not the best way to accomplish that goal.
Here’s what I recommend – – > think of your draft copy as a type of word puzzle and challenge yourself to reduce the word count by 25% without changing the meaning. Then – after you achieve this reduction – challenge yourself to play again, removing another 25% from the same text. You’ll be amazed at what this exercise will do for your copy.
Tip Four :: Focus each page on a single goal.
Confused people don’t buy. Conflicted people don’t take action. Want to increase your conversion rates? Focus each page of your website on a single goal. Give the reader a single option for their next step. You’ll be surprised how often people will take that next step simply because there is no other choice.
Not sure what to focus on? Look at each page one at a time and think of your potential client. What action do you want someone to take when visiting this page? Narrow the choices to just one action.
Think about your homepage, for example. What do you most want someone to do after visiting this page? Maybe you want the reader to visit your services page to check out how to work with you. Or, perhaps you really want people to go to your online store to look at products. Another option might be downloading a free resource and subscribing to your list so you can send marketing emails.
You might read the above example and think all of the above. I understand, but that’s a recipe for getting none of the above. When faced with too many choices, people freeze or move away. Present a single, clear option and your conversions will increase.
Struggling with website copywriting? Hire an expert.
While this might sound like a shameless sales pitch, it isn’t. Honestly, it isn’t easy to hire my firm to do your website copywriting. We only work with people who have been referred to us by our strategic partners or who have hired us for marketing strategy. We do great work… but only for select people. Think you might be one? Click here.
My point here is to recommend professional copywriting as an investment for your business. Not sure you can afford high-quality copywriting services? Think about this… what is the value of a single new customer to your business? $100? $1,000? $5,000 or more? Once you have an amount in mind, I want you to think about your current website and the new clients you get from it. What would it mean to you financially if you could increase conversions by 25%? 50%? More than that?
This is the value of professional copywriting. Honestly, can you really afford to wait? Get expert help… you’ll be glad you did.
Great copy begins with marketing strategy. I work 1:1 with creative entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and experienced professionals to build marketing momentum. Sound interesting to you? Let’s talk.
While client work and operational tasks feel incredibly valuable, they are actually less important than the work we do strategically inside our businesses.