Design and website copy go hand in hand. Both contribute to the feelings of trust, connection, and expertise your audience should experience when landing on your site.
You may have a clear vision for how you want your website to look and who you want to hire to bring that vision to life.
But what about the copy?
Of course hiring a copywriter can take away the confusion, stress, and time of doing it yourself, but it simply isn’t in everyone’s budget. If you do decide to hire, be sure to ask your designer for a referral — you’ll be much more likely to find the perfect fit!
If DIYing is a path you’re considering, let’s talk about where to start.
From market research, to brand voice, and layout, here’s how to write your own website copy in seven easy steps.
Now if you’ve been in business for a while you’ve likely thought a lot about your target market. Before starting your copy it’s best to get re-centered on this!
If you’re just starting out this is an area you want to make crystal clear before diving into the copy itself.
The first step to defining your target market is to analyze your current customers/ clients. Which projects or experiences have you had with them that went so smoothly and just felt right? Which ones didn’t feel like a great fit?
This is a great place to start thinking about the kinds of people you want to target and work with more.
Look at your competitors in your industry next. Look through their social media and website – who is interacting with them, what do their testimonials say? While their target market might be slightly different from yours, it’s likely similar!
Lastly, create an ideal client persona
Imagine one ideal person (a fictitious one) you would love to work with and define the following traits about them:
The best website copy “isn’t written, it’s assembled,”- Eugene Schwartz
In other words, the best copy doesn’t come from your head, you don’t have to be incredibly clever, witty, or wordy to write powerful copy.
The material for your copy will come directly from your ideal clients!
Understanding Voice of Customer data (VOC) helps you better understand the needs, frustration, desires, and interests of your target market. Even more so, it’s helps you understand their voice, their language and *how* they talk about these topics.
Using quotes from your own clients feedback is the best place to start! There is so much power in collecting great testimonials, not only for social proof, but for learning the language of your clients and replicating it in your marketing.
Other places to look for voice of customer data:
Once you have a good collection of quotes you’ll want to organize them in a way that is usable. Separate the quotes into the following categories:
Now this is a big one! You’ll have to be able to clearly and simply explain what it is you sell if you want people to buy, right?
After all, that’s the main reason you’re interested in a new website – to have a better and more professional space to sell your products or services.
For business owners, actually *talking* about *what you do* can be a challenge. Your mind just sort of goes blank.
To fix that we have to go deeper into understanding our offer.
ONE – Start by describing in one sentence what it is you sell.
TWO – Then describe the features of your offer (the technical and descriptive aspects)
THREE – What is the process from start to finish (onboarding and off boarding or creation and delivery)?
FOUR – What is your price point?
FIVE – What are the deliverables?
SIX – Lastly describe the benefits (long-lasting transformation, emotional impact for your client)
It’s important to note here that there should be a much heavier focus on the benefits of your product or service rather than the features.
Good copy makes your audience feel something and relate to a desire or frustration.
Features appeal to the logical side, benefits appeal to the emotional side.
Brand voice is part of your brand personality. It’s what your brand sounds like in writing and it’s how your audience separates you from others.
Your brand voice is what makes you unique!
If you have a personal brand (meaning you’re the face of your brand), then your brand voice is likely very similar to how you speak and write outside of your business.
But sometimes business owners want their brand to have its own unique identity (as if it were a person itself). In these cases the brand voice will be distinctly different from your own.
A lot of times we think that when we’re writing copy we have to sound incredibly professional and formal. But that’s not always the case.
If “very formal and professional” suits your brand (and your personal style) then by all means, embrace it!
But if you’re normally bubly, excited, quiet, reserved, or anywhere in between, that should come through in your writing.
ONE – Begin to analyze your writing style. Look at captions you’ve written, emails, and even your text messages to get a more natural look at your tone!
TWO – Note important features of your voice such as the length of your sentences and your punctuation habits
THREE – Ask friends to describe your voice! Sometimes it’s best to get an outside perspective
FOUR – Create a list of adjectives that describe your voice and use this as a reference when you start writing your copy. Ask yourself: “does this fall in line with these adjectives?”
Developing your brand voice takes practice. If you’re stuck looking through your own writing then look to other business owners and describe their voice.
Some ways to describe brand voice are:
Next, you’ll want to dig into your brand messaging to define a couple key statements.
Brand messaging encompasses a lot of different elements but for simplicity sake you’ll want to focus on the following:
All of these will help set the tone for your website copy and ensure you’re focusing on what your audience needs to know.
Your mission statement is your goal as a brand, what you do and why you do.
An easy formula to follow:
Your vision statement describes what you hope to achieve in the future for your clients or in your industry
A unique value proposition can be written for each of your offers. It helps your audience understand why it is your selling and why they should care
And finally, you’ll need to define 3-6 core values or beliefs. This is what you stand for as a brand and an easy way to attract your ideal clients/customers who share in your values.
Your brand messaging may not be written verbatim across your website but it is a *great* starting place for crafting headlines and the rest of your copy!
After all the preliminary work it’s finally time to start writing your website copy!
Now, when you pull up that blank Google Doc, don’t just start typing away (or soon you’ll be staring at a blinking cursor with major writer’s block).
The easiest way to write your copy is to break up each page with an outline.
Start with a goal for your page. For example, the goal of your about page will be to help reassure your audience that they have found a great brand that understands their needs, that they can connect to you, your values, and what you have to offer.
Then choose a copywriting formula to follow as you move down the page. One of the most common formulas is:
“PAS” which stands for “Problem, Agitation, Solution.
The copy near the top of your page will highlight your target market’s problem.
Around the middle of the page you’ll dig deeper into why that problem should really matter to them.
And the end of the page will offer up a solution (aka: your offer!)
Now when it comes to formatting your copy, remember that you’re not writing an essay. The content on each page should be broken into small paragraphs of 1- 4 lines maximum and divided by headings, subheadings, and body copy.
Recent studies show that users only skim about 20% of the copy on a web page.
Meaning you’ll want to make those heading and subheadings really grab their attention!
Here are a few other notes to keep in mind as your write and format your copy:
“Make it simple, make it memorable, make it inviting to look at, make it fun to read”- Leo Burnett
Writing effective website copy certainly isn’t an easy undertaking, but it is absolutely possible when you have the time and mindset to go through each of the steps!
DIY copywriting is right for you if:
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