Website copywriting has been a part of my job since my very first role as a copywriter. As a career writer and marketer, I’ve written hundreds of articles, landing pages and website copy sections, as well as ideated, planned and managed multiple websites for businesses of all sizes.
All of that to say: I’ve learned a few things along the way and I want to share some of those secrets with you. If you’re ready to level up your website copywriting, incorporate these ten tips into your writing.
1. Start With a Clear Page Objective
You need to start with one clear objective, not two or three—just one. This is as simple as taking a few extra minutes to thoughtfully and clearly answering one simple question: What’s the main goal for this page?
Let’s take, for example, your homepage. Belinda Weaver, founder of Copywritematters, gives the perfect explanation: “A website homepage should service visitors much like an excellent concierge. It’s there to let people know they’re at the right place, set the tone, and guide people to where they want to go.”
Your homepage will have many elements, but it needs just one main objective. Is that:
- Sell a product?
- Introduce your unique brand?
- Draw in a niche audience?
- Prove your personal brand authority?
2. Plan Your SEO Before Writing Anything
In addition to identifying a target message, you need to plan your SEO, which serves as a foundation, even before your content outline. Here are three important SEO factors to consider when drafting website content:
Keywords or phrases focus your page and help your target audience find you through organic search. If you need a refresher, download our keyword research guide.
Schema is code that tells search engines what your content is about so they can effectively index your webpage. Schema also allows you to include more information in your SERP entry, such as event dates, locations, or customer reviews.
Headers not only help readers scan your page, but H1, H2 and H3 tags let search engines know what type of information and content is on that page and how important it is. As such, your main keyword should be in your main header tag, with supporting keywords in your H2 tags.
Planning these elements before you start any copywriting will ensure that your page is properly optimized for search engines.
Don’t forget to read and download the free SEO checklist PDF to use as a guide.
3. Write an Outline of the Page
When I write anything, I start with an outline to ensure I understand the overall purpose of the content—what you plan to prove and how you’ll get there. For articles, it can be as simple as planning your headers, and gathering the sources and basic content ideas you plan to use in each section.
For a web page outline, try using the 4 Ps copywriting technique, as explained by Neil Patel: “Problem, promise, proof, and proposal.” Look at the example from his site:
4. Use Psychology to Your Advantage
The goal of website copywriting is to appeal to and connect with your audience while compelling them to take action. You can do this by tapping into psychology with persuasive language. Here are some tried-and-true pointers for making your website copywriting persuasive:
- Write for real people (not search engines)
- Choose active voice rather than passive voice (I.E. Passive: I am hoping you will take this action vs. Active: Take this action.)
- Use positive language
- Use pros and cons
- Use rhetorical questions to hook the reader
Ultimately, you need to intimately know who your reader is to be persuasive. This means doing your research before writing anything.
Don’t forget to create a content strategy: How to Create a Content Strategy that Drives Sales
5. Be Benefits-Focused—Not Feature-Focused
This is one of the most important tips for great website copywriting and I love this explanation from CrazyEgg:
“The first thing businesses need to know is that customers and prospects don’t care that much about you or your business. They care about their number one—themselves. What they do care about is how your business can help them get something they want and accomplish their goals. They don’t care that much about you, but they are interested in how you can help them.”
Every product or service has features, and the internet is crowded space. Explain what’s in it for the reader quickly by creating benefit-focused copy. Ask yourself, does this copy:
- Explain what’s in it for them?
- Make it clear how their life will benefit?
- Talk more about them than me/us?
6. Incorporate Interactive Page Elements
Humans are visual beings. According to recent research, 65 percent of people identify as visual learners. Scientific studies also show that visual elements improve learning capabilities. This concept can be applied to helping site visitors understand the purpose of your website. Interactive elements like images, videos, moving graphics make your website more engaging and memorable, not to mention supports the points you want to make.
If you’re not sure where to start, start with video. Even more so than static visuals, video engages site visitors. As such, 72 percent of B2B marketers and 76 percent of B2C marketers report using videos in their content marketing.
Need more convincing on the power of video? Check out these stats from Wowzyl:
- 96 percent of people watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
- 79 percent of people say a brand’s video convinced them to buy a piece of software or app.
- 68 percent of people say they’d prefer to learn about a new product or service by watching a short video.
7. Be intentional With Word Choice
When writing 1000-word papers in college, you looked for every possible way to hit that mark with flowery language, extra adjectives, and repetition. Website copywriting should be the exact opposite of that. Every word should serve a purpose and add value to the page.
A famous study by Jakob Neilsen found that people read only 20 percent of the text of a website on average. Ashley Ward explains to Search Engine Journal: “Since there’s really no telling which words they’ll read, you can’t just have a few sentences designed to act as winners. They all need to be winners.”
Remember, less is more. Look at our About Page for an example. Our goal was to ensure every single word on the page served a purpose, with a clear mission and to-the-point, value-driven copy.
8. Link to Internal Content
When applicable, link to other relevant pages or articles within your site. Yoast explains the SEO value in this practice: “Internal links connect your content and give Google an idea of the structure of your website. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, allowing you to give the most important pages and posts more link value than other, less valuable, pages. So using the right internal linking strategy can boost your SEO.”
Think of internal linking as providing additional resources for the reader, whether you’re linking to blog posts, product pages or other landing pages.
Remember that internal links and their anchor text should be relevant and logical. For example, I wouldn’t say “Check out my blog post on internal linking for a deeper dive,” and link to my services page. The link text needs to be relevant to the page you’re taking the reader to.
Check out one of my favorite posts from SEMrush to get this right: Internal Linking Mistakes: An SEMrush Study.
9. Test Your Headlines for Emotional Impact
Hubspot defines emotional marketing as “efforts that primarily use emotion to make your audience notice, remember, share, and buy. Emotional marketing typically taps into a singular [feeling], like happiness, sadness, anger, or fear, to elicit a consumer response.”
Since your headers introduce each section of your page, and carry more SEO value, they should provide emotional value—whether it makes the reader excited, nostalgic, angry or sad. Test your headers for emotional impact using this tool from Advanced Marketing Institute. It’s one of my favorite tools and free to use.
Get more inspiration: 30 Blog Post Headline Ideas
10. Write multiple versions
You can plan, edit, and work hard on your web copy, but until you hit publish and monitor traffic, you won’t know how it’s going to perform. This is why A/B testing is important. Even slightly tweaking a headline can have a significant impact on site visitors’ understanding.
In a case study, Optimizely explains how they changed the headline on a client’s form from “Contact us today” to “Request a quote” and saw a 140 percent improvement in lead quality.
Be willing to experiment and test different versions of your copy, that’s the best way to understand what connects with your audience.
Website Copywriting is an Art You Can Perfect
Use these tips to level up your copywriting and start seeing action on your website and landing pages. With a single goal, strong copy, SEO-backed content and continual A/B testing, you may see an increase in leads, purchases and more.