Website copywriting is the process of using words to drive action for websites. Around these parts, we also call it conversion copywriting.
What is website copywriting?
Website copywriting includes the words on a home page, services page, product page, landing page, and sales page.
The words on your website are tasked with converting visitors by getting them to take the desired action.
Your website is your online sales machine, and your website copy is your online salesperson.
How is writing for websites different from other copywriting?
When most people think of copywriting, they think of traditional ad copy written in an advertising agency environment.
But website copywriting is not the same as traditional copywriting.
For starters, website copywriting is writing for the internet — not print or other media.
This means consideration has to be given to the format.
Content writing — commonly called blog writing or SEO writing — is not website copywriting.
The major difference between the two is that content writing aims to inform while website copywriting aims to drive action.
Website copywriting is also different from email copywriting, though some techniques and goals are similar.
You can read more about those differences here.
Website copywriting tips for beginners
Understanding what makes website copywriting different is just half the battle. You’re here to dig a little deeper and learn some tips you can start acting on today.
So let’s get to it.
Do your research
Before you write your first word of copy, it’s important to do your research.
At this stage, you want to learn everything you can about the target audience.
How do they speak? What are their pain points? What do they want? And how can your solution help them get it?
What’s your goal?
Whether it’s a home page, a services page, or some other web page, your copy should have a single goal. Decide what that goal is before you start writing.
Do you want your reader to click through to the next page, download something, make a purchase, start a free trial, or sign up?
Write for one reader
If your offer is for everybody, your offer is for nobody.
When it comes to website copywriting, it’s important to be specific and speak to one reader.
The more specific your messaging (you will uncover these insights from your research), the better your copy will connect with your reader.
Focus on benefits
Your reader cares about themself first. Your business is only relevant as far as it can solve your reader’s problems.
That’s why it’s important to spell out how you can help them.
Gifting brand BOXFOX makes it clear how they help their customers.
They declare, “No post office lines and no kitsch.” — two things people dread when thinking about buying gifts for others.
Be clear and concise
When some people think of copywriting, they tend to assume it’s all about creativity.
While creativity is not a bad thing, it can sometimes get in the way of conversions.
When writing website copy, your goal is to use clear, concise language — not to be clever.
Consumer research software company PickFu has clear language on their homepage that speaks directly to their target audience.
Provide social proof
Social proof can go a long way in convincing the reader to take the desired action.
That proof can be presented as testimonials, case studies, or actual client results.
Showing how the offer has made life better for others is a great way to improve your conversions.
Copyhackers places value on social proof on their homepage with 15 logos from major brands their target audience likely knows, values, and trusts.
This is followed by testimonials from industry leaders under the heading, “The trusted go-to source for copywriters, marketers, and entrepreneurs.”
Talk about solid proof.
A quick note on social proof:
Not all testimonials will be appropriate for all use cases.
During the research phase, it’s important to review testimonials and case studies to find the ones that will be the best fit for your target audience and copy goals.
Notice in the example above that the page’s goal is to promote the Copyhackers’ training, not their agency services.
So the testimonials talk about the value of the training, not Jo and her team’s ability to deliver compelling copy.
Don’t forget your CTAs
Call to Action (CTAs) are a critical part of website copywriting.
Once you engage your reader, it’s important to remind them of the specific action you want them to take.
You do this with a compelling CTA.
SemRush does this throughout their home page by providing varying CTAs that are relevant to each page section. The page starts and ends with an invitation to sign up for a free trial.
This simple 3-part conversion copywriting method will help keep you on track as you take on your next website copywriting project.
Never skip any of these stages — even if your client tries to insist that all 3 aren’t necessary. They are.
1. Research and discovery
The research phase will help you identify your messaging and inform your messaging hierarchy.
One of the biggest advantages of the research phase is validation for whatever copywriting ideas you come up with.
If you write for B2B, it can be difficult to get the buy-in of your clients for your approach. But having solid research and data to support your decision can be helpful.
2. Writing, wireframing, and editing
Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to write and wireframe your copy.
Wireframing is critical because it demonstrates how the words should be arranged on the page.
This is useful for both your client and the design team responsible for bringing the project to life.
3. Validation and experimentation
While A/B testing is not always possible, the goal of this stage is to make sure the best version of the copy goes live.
Don’t be afraid to use resources like click maps and other user testing solutions like fivesecondtest.com to understand how your copy impacts your target audience.
Joanna Wiebe talks more about this 3-step process in the Tutorial Tuesday video below.
There’s a Q&A section at the end that’s also helpful.
Ready to get started with website copywriting?
The Copyhackers Conversion Copywriting 101 course is a good place to start.
Here’s a sneak peek at the course curriculum.
The course covers everything you need to get start with website copywriting. Enroll now for free.