Writing compelling website copy is all about telling a strong story that has your leads converting to dream clients with ease.
Now, suppose you’re feeling a bit resistant to rules. In that case, I understand – I’ve always been resistant to ‘rules’… but when it comes to writing captivating website copy, some essential best practices must be followed to write truly captivating website copy.
The most important thing is that before you write your website copy, you take the time to ask yourself some fundamental questions.
I know you may feel tempted to just jump into your website builder and start typing in copy, but this is not the way to do it because copywriting is not creative writing… it’s strategic writing! That doesn’t mean copy can’t be compelling and creative too! It’s just that it has to be crafted with intentional strategy first!
When you ask yourself these fundamental questions, you’re going to, in turn, be ensuring you’re covering the essentials in your copy by including these details!
These are, of course, just a few of the things you’re going to want to cover, but these are essential questions to ask yourself before writing!
Especially if you’re a personal brand, write how you speak! There’s no need to use confusing words and jargon to sound more ‘professional’ or ‘smarter.’ Your people don’t want to hear that. Your people want to listen to your voice.
So with that… write how you speak!
And please, please, PLEASE write in the first person.*
With the first person’s use, you immediately make the text sound warmer, more personal… more you.
*This will change if you are a large company with multiple employees. You can still write in first-person (‘we’) though you would not write how any one individual within that brand speaks. In this case, you’ll want to ensure you’ve developed a strong brand voice guide for your company to keep this consistent. When in doubt, consistency wins here.
Allow those potential dream clients looking at your website and contemplating working with you to get an idea of what they can expect about the experience. Consider…
The transformation needs to be really clear throughout your website, particularly on your Home + Services pages. You can highlight this really well in your copy, and support it with powerful testimonials or even a case study! The key here is that the transformation can’t be simple and surface level, like ‘helping them save time.’ Think about the deeper emotional impact that time saved has on your clients!
If you think you hate writing or are “not good at it,” odds are it’s because you’re putting wildly unjust expectations on yourself.
When you try to nail every single phrase perfectly from the beginning, it’s going to take you ages and ages to create that dream copy! Instead, sit down with a blank Google Doc and let yourself simply get the words out of your heart and onto “paper.”
Before you go to edit a single word, let the copy marinate and for your brain digest what you’ve written. Then, wait at least one day before editing.
The storytelling approach is so popular that there are entire books dedicated to writing copy with it.
But today, let’s keep it simple and go back to those English class school days… think of those core elements we learned about story…
… The cast of characters
… The hero’s journey
… The obstacles they overcome
… The guide that helps them overcome
These are all extremely important because they align with your ideal client’s story and journey.
By writing in this way, with your reader presented as the hero of the copy and you as the guide to empower them through it, you’ll be really also speaking to the more emotional and fundamental aspects of your people.
Tapping into a story is a tale as old as time. Think of early humanity, who even found ways to share their stories, whether in drawing or gathering around the fire… It’s how we connect as people… and how we relate to one another.
If there’s ever a question about it… go for direct over cutesy or clever copy.
This is not to say that copy cannot be delightfully cute, punny or clever – but it still has to be clear at the end of the day.
I suggest that if you use a cutesy or punny headline, that you make the Call to Action button itself VERY clear.
If you ever get stuck on CTA copy, tell them precisely what you want them to do.
” Buy Now”
“Book a Free Call”
Not the sexiest, I know. But at the end of the day – clarity wins the race whenever you’re in doubt.
If your conversion rate is lagging, take a look at if there are areas where you could be improving your copy for CLARITY.
In case you’re a bit confused about the difference between features and benefits, let me break it down simply here. Features are the nitty-gritty details about what is included in your offer, service or product. On the other hand, benefits are the more significant outcomes and value-adding principles that the user can expect from using the offer, service or product.
Let’s say that you are a transformational coach. The features of your coaching package include the number of calls per month, the level of support they receive, etc. The benefits are the expected transformations and types of transformations that the coachee could achieve through this program.
This is not to say that features aren’t important! But benefits will appeal to the reader on a deeper, emotional level when it comes to them making a decision.
We all want to feel seen and heard. We all want to know that the person we are considering working with has the experience to lead us through this journey.
Showing your empathy in your copy also touches on the know-like-trust factor: the three essential elements you must develop to really see a customer’s conversion.
I encourage you to get as vulnerable as you can in your copy to connect from a significant place. However, when it comes to sharing vulnerability, I recommend to my clients that they stick with the rule: “share your scars, not your wounds.” Meaning, it’s empowering and helpful for other people to learn from your vulnerabilities and struggles once you have experienced them and can pull something impactful and helpful from them to share and teach others. But when you’re in the thick of something, I encourage you to let yourself feel how you need to feel it, rather than necessarily jumping to share it. It’s not helpful for others at this stage, and the most important thing for you to do is heal through it.
I almost didn’t include this point because it’s not so much an element of writing ‘compelling copy,’ but I would be remiss in writing a post about website copywriting and not include a little bit on SEO!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of ensuring that your website is found and understood by Google. SEO involves researching and optimizing around selected keywords. When we do keyword research, we want to consider how our ideal client or customer would search.
While SEO is essential, and you want to be optimizing around select keywords that will allow search engines to find and crawl your site, you still want to be writing for the human first.
For a more extensive introduction to SEO, I recommend Moz’s One-Hour-SEO free resource.
Always, always, always read your copy aloud and run it through a grammar checker (Grammarly is my personal fave!) before hitting publish! Most people will actually take the time to do a spelling and grammar check (which is important because nothing will turn a reader away quicker than a webpage filled with spelling errors!)… but not many people actually read their copy out loud before publishing!
I know it can feel silly or weird, but I promise you it’s worthwhile. When you read the copy aloud, you’ll get a sense of how the copy sounds and truly flows for the reader. Are any sentences confusing or hard to get through? Does anything not make sense? This is your chance to read through and sit in the perspective of your reader! Of course, you’ll likely also find minor spelling and grammar mistakes in this process too!
Sometimes getting a second set of eyes and hands on your copy is exactly what you need… My pre-copy playbook is precisely what you need to see where you’re at with your copy, plan for how you want to elevate it, and even evaluate if it’s time to work with a copywriter.