Writing content for your website can be a tricky business. You would think it would be easy, that you can do it in half of a day—but it can quickly become the bane of your life for weeks.
This is a short guide on how to write amazing copy for your website. In this guide, we are going to show 10 tips that you can use to make it a little easier.
1. Write to Your Audience
Write for your audience. It may sounds obvious, and you might think you’re already doing it, but really think about whether you are truly writing for your audience, or for yourself.
Think about the realities of someone reading your website. They’re either at work, at home, or somewhere in between. There will be distractions going on around them, and they don’t have the time to figure out whether the website they’re on is for them or not. And if they’re unsure, they’ll hit the close button and you may never see them again.
The goal of your website isn’t to toot your own horn. It’s to solve some kind of problem or need for someone else. So write as if you’re talking to them, not pitching yourself at a networking event.
2. Make it Scannable
People don’t read websites, they scan them. So when you write your content, try to keep paragraphs very short (between 2-3 sentences) and make good use of visual markers like sub-headings and bullet points to break the content up a bit.
Ideally you should be able to skim down the page quickly and get the gist of what you’re trying to say. Then people can decide whether they want to go back and read in more detail.
Essentially what you’re trying to do is move away from having a block of text on your website and turn it into something more engaging. Structure your content so it is easy to skim
3. Change "We" to "Your"
The most useful trick you can use to make sure you’re writing for your audience is making sure you use "you" in your text more than "I" or "we".
Every time you hear yourself saying something like “We’ve been established in the industry for 5 years” try to change it around to something like “You will be working with someone you can trust, we’ve been around for 5 years so we’ll be there for you when you need us”.
There will still be a time and a place for saying "we", but make sure the focus of the sentence is around "you". Remember, us humans like talking about ourselves, if you can be one of the few who really talks to your customers and not at them, you’ll stand out a mile.
4. Write Before the Design Starts
Most people think that they need to see their website designed before they can add content to it. After all, how do you know what to write unless you can see where it’s going?
The problem with writing your content after the design has been completed is that you’re not going to write what’s best for your website, or worse, what you write won’t fit into the template and you’ll need to get the whole page redesigned.
You’ll get a far better result by supplying your designer with content before they get to work. They’ll be able to design for your content rather than creating generic templates.
5. Don't Try Too Hard to Please Google
Google is pretty smart these days. And it’s only going to get smarter. It knows when you’re writing for SEO and may actually penalize you for stuffing your content with keywords—even if they’re relevant. Just write what you want your visitors to read and you can’t go wrong.
There are many other things you can do if you want to help people find you through search engines and I go into them here But for now, just write for your audience, not Google.
6. Don't Be Too Clever
Try to write in the most basic way possible. Don’t try to be clever. People read pretty quickly on the web, so if they have to decode what you’re trying to say.
Everybody likes to sound smart but don’t make the mistake of alienating your customers.
Organizing Your Content
Now hopefully we’ve convinced you to write your content before the design starts. That’s great! Let’s now go into how you can begin organizing your content for your website.
7. List Your Pages
The first thing you need to do is write a list of all the pages you need to write content for. Don’t forget any sub pages or less obvious content.
8. Set One Goal Per Page
For each page write out the main goal you want this page to achieve. Ask yourself, what is the most important thing you want visitors to do or know after visiting the page?
Examples could be:
Home page: Spark interest and encourage visitors to keep browsing.
About us: Build trust with visitors by showing our human side.
Services: Persuade to hire us.
This is a great way to ensure that as you’re writing your content you know what you’re aiming towards and stop you going off track.
9. Bullet Point Your Content
Now just write out a list of bullet points that you’d like to cover on each page. This doesn’t have to only be text related, you could list out images you’d like to see too.
For example, "About" could be:
Summary of who we are and who we work with
Photo of us and our office
Collage of images of our offices/things we like
Call to action to hire us
If you struggle with this, feel free to use other websites (including your competitors) as inspiration. Don’t copy and paste their content into yours, but try to add your own unique personality.
10. Flesh It Out
Now you’ve got your list, all you need to do is flesh out the content for each section. Doing it this way helps keep it organized, breaks it down into manageable chunks, and stops you from rambling too much.
Writing your content is going to be tough. But don’t worry about making it perfect first time, you can always go back and tweak when your website is live.
So go find somewhere without distractions, make yourself a cup of strong coffee and get writing that content! We hope you’ve found this guide useful.