How to write website copy

By Emma Moody, 8th September 2020

Writing website copy is something that few of us anticipate being difficult until we’re sat with a blank page trying to get started, and the truth is that it’s a challenging process. If you’re struggling with your website content or it’s taking much longer than you expected then please know that you’re not alone. From our experience, producing website content usually takes about 3-5 times longer than you ever thought it would.

Of course it’s hugely important to your business to get it right. It’s an opportunity to increase your lead generation, realign with your target audience, drive higher quality leads, and to increase visitor engagement. With such pressure to get your copy right, how can you write your digital content to give your website the best chance of success?

1. Consider your target customers

With tip number one, we’re going back to marketing school. In order to write successful copy you first need to understand who your customers are, what they want, and generally what makes them tick. Without this, your content won’t resonate with your customers because it isn’t specific to them. Imagine for a moment if The Times posted an article that would usually feature in The Daily Mail. The Times and The Daily Mail have completely different target audiences and the article would most likely miss its mark.

Some readers of this article will already have customer archetypes in place to define their key target customers. If this is you, this step will be much easier. If you’re not at this stage yet, don’t worry, you probably know much more than you realise and you can still produce quality content for your customers. To start defining your target audience, consider which factors, behaviours and traits commonly occur in your customers. This could be a particular job title, company size, industry, location, pain point, budget, or anything else that helps you to segment your customer base. Try and group common traits together to build out profiles for your typical customers. For example, a commercial interior design company might target business owners of small to medium sized businesses in London who are looking for an office refurb. Their key concerns are workplace disruption, as well as the speed and cost of work. They will likely also have a handful of other target customer profiles.

Once you’ve grouped your customers, writing website copy is much simpler because you can make your copy highly targeted, tapping into the factors and services that are important to your customers. Demonstrate previous success working with customers like them by communicating your experience working with similar businesses with similar goals and concerns. The more that you can speak to your target audience, the more likely these visitors are to convert on your website. The bonus here is that not only can you increase your conversion rate, your customers are also able to qualify themselves before getting in touch so the enquiries you receive will be higher quality.

2. Write empathetically

Empathetic copy helps your users to recognise themselves in your writing. As website owners and marketing managers, it’s very tempting to talk about ourselves which is why this is such a common website mistake. To produce high quality content that resonates with your audience, reframe your copy around your customers and their needs.

By focusing on your target customer profiles, you can use your copy to address the main drivers for seeking your products and services.

At Plug & Play we do this quite boldly on our About Us page where we outline the clients that we work best with – Marketing Managers from established businesses who have experienced some success and are ready to invest to achieve greater growth.

3. Use the Content Conversion Funnel to curate your content

Are you struggling to know what to say on your page and when to say it? That’s exactly why we created the Content Conversion Funnel. Some data wizards at Plug & Play have amalgamated the data from hundreds of successful websites to produce a simple guide to producing content and presenting your website visitors with the appropriate content at the most effective time. For maximum success, consider the purpose of each page and use this structure to guide customers through to a mutually beneficial conversion.

Content Conversion Funnel

A good site should take a visitor through the following stages:
Align “Have I arrived in the right place?”
Qualify “Is this offering right for me and the problem I’m trying to solve?”
Validate “Can they do what they’re saying they can and do I trust that?”
Reassure “What do my peers say? Is there proof?”
Convert “I need to find out more and talk to someone at the company.”

4. Use your headers and large text to signpost the user journey

Website visitors usually skim copy and use the large text and headers on the page to highlight key pieces of information and signpost their next step. You can support your Content Conversion Funnel by making the next action for the user clear. Ensure that a user can understand the purpose and key message of a page just from reading your headers, and feature bottom of page call to actions to prompt the next step in their user journey or to encourage a conversion.

5. How much copy should you write?

SEMRush found that the optimum word count for a page ranking in the top 10 Google positions is 1137, however if you’re familiar with SEO, you’re probably also familiar with the balancing act that regularly takes place between the user experience and your SEO optimisation. When writing website copy, ask yourself 2 things:
1. How much do you have to say?
2. Does that amount of copy justify a page of its own?

Although longer content does generally increase ranking potential in Google, stretching out content to meet a certain word count is counterproductive. Google is wise to these tactics and it can compromise the user journey of your customers. Determine one or two key messages per page and if you have enough to say to justify a page of its own then give it a page of its own. Remember that your customers will also be checking out competitor websites so the faster that you can take your customers through the Content Conversion Funnel, the easier it is for that customer to decide that you are the right company for them. As web designers, most of our work is focused on reducing effort for visitors and you should do the same with your website copy.

It’s worth noting that reputable design agencies will produce designs with enough space to fulfil optimal content length requirements and will liaise with you to find the right amount of content for your business. If you are unsure, check in with your agency and ask for some guidance.

The most successful content is always guided by your target customers so be as specific as possible in your copy. To help get the juices flowing, find a colleague to interview you and write down what you say. Although your copy will need some wordsmithing, this is a brilliant way to start separating “what we should say” from “how we should say it” in your content. Producing empathetic and targeted content will enable you to increase your conversion rate, drive higher quality leads, and increase engagement online.

We’d love to hear about your content journey. Contact us at [email protected] or by calling 0203 993 8236.