Mindset Coach + Copywriter for Soulful Creatives
Passionately empowering soul-centred creatives to share their powerful story & gifts through copywriting and mindset coaching.
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One of my best friends in online business is an incredible website designer, and every single time we collaborate, we’re asked about this relationship between copywriting and design. Because this is one of my most frequently asked questions, I decided to write this post for you where I break down how to write your website copy with design in mind!
Now, keep in mind, that this post doesn’t in any way replace the need for website design. This is simply some food for thought to help you keep the design in mind throughout your process.
When it comes to the relationship between copy and design, what people usually want to know above all else is this right here… which comes first?!
The short answer: BOTH! The longer answer: While both are important, it’s generally recommended that you have your copy written before doing your design. However, the two work dynamically together, which is what this post will make clear to you, so keep reading!
This is like the age-old “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” debate! Copy and design work dynamically and intimately with one another. In an ideal world, they’re treated complementary, and fluidly, allowing you to refine both to go together perfectly.
That said, when it’s time for you to write your website copy, you will need at least the layout portion of your design completed. It’s okay if at this phase all you have is an idea of the design (such as a wireframe or simple layout mock-up). This rough plan comes first, then the copy, then the complete design. As you can see, copy and design must be dynamically playing off of one another.
Design is what will make your copy come to life!
If you’re DIYing this entire process, the first step will be to consider if you’re going to actually design your own layout or if you’re going to use a website template.
Unless you know the principles of intentional website design, I do not recommend you DIYing your website design.
Plus, strategic website design isn’t limited to custom design anymore! There are so many incredible template designers out there who are selling already-optimized website templates, like my amazing friend and designer Brittany Hastings, who I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Through Showit or your website builder, you can also browse templates from other template creators.
Trust me: there’s a whole lot of intentional strategy that goes into determining how to layout your website copy and content, which is why it’s important not to do this ad-hoc.
A simple wireframe (or ‘outline’) will help ensure that you have a strategy to follow as your write your copy. Though copy must be creative and compelling to convert, copywriting is not creative writing. Having a clear strategy and plan is essential.
I tend to stick to pen + paper myself when I do this, as it allows me to really create and envision how all the information that I need to convey in the copy will be presented in a delicious, digestible format for the reader.
You can simply take a blank sheet of printer paper for each page of your website, and begin outlining what you’ll cover in each of the sections of your template or custom design.
Here are some helpful resources for you for this phase:
The 4 Must-Have Website Pages
Now that you have a plan to follow, it’s time to draft your website copy! I know this can feel intimidating, but this can be such a beautiful process if you allow yourself to have the mindset to do so!
Take a blank Google or Word document and begin crafting an outline for your copy that has the main pages and sections you had on your wireframe. Add in any areas where you plan to have Calls to Action, photos, etc. This way, as you’re drafting the copy you have your plan right in front of you to guide the process.
In the first draft of your copy, I really encourage you to let yourself have fun and just get the words out onto the page, rather than trying to perfectly formulate your sentences and paragraphs perfectly. That’s what the editing phase is for!
Some helpful resources for the writing phase:
Time to edit your copy down to ensure it’s concise and snappy and will be brought to life through design. Take the time to read over your copy several times to ensure you don’t miss any spelling or grammatical errors, and that you’ve really optimized the copy for Search Engine Optimization, the voice of your ideal reader and more (if you need a guide here, this is what my course is all about!)
Keep in mind, that your copy is the part that needs to genuinely shine and design will make this possible. So if you need to tweak elements of the design in order to let this copy shine, creating more impact on certain points and phrases, you can totally do this!
Some helpful resources for this phase:
Website Bootcamp is a guide of everything you need to get your website up and running! From branding to design to website copy and search engine optimization (SEO), we’ve got you covered in this bootcamp created in conjunction with 3 creative web designers.