So, you want to write your own website copy but don’t want to spend a fortune doing it? You’re in the right place! Welcome to your guide to crafting quality content without breaking the bank.
Let’s get real. Writing your own website copy sounds like a no-brainer, right? Just throw some words on a page, add a splash of personality, et voila – instant web copy!
Well, hold your horses. It’s not quite that simple, but it’s definitely doable.
And I’m here to guide you through it. (Yay!)
The lowdown on DIY copywriting: It's not just about saving money
First up, why write your own website copy? Money, obviously. But there’s more to it than cost savings. Writing your own website content can be incredibly rewarding. You know your brand inside and out, and who better to tell your story than you?
That’s what DIY web copy is all about. It’s personal, it’s authentic, and it’s a direct line from your heart to your audience’s. It’s about taking control of your online content and telling your story, your way – all while keeping a tight hold on the purse strings.
6 things to do before you start writing your own website copy
SO, there are a few things I’d highly recommend you get straightened out before you start tapping the keys like there’s no tomorrow Keyboard Cat-style.
- Know your target audience: Before you type a single word, stop. Who are you writing your web pages for? Your audience isn’t just “everyone”. Nail down who they are, what they want, and what problems they need to solve. This understanding is the foundation of great content.
- Discover your brand’s voice: Think about how your brand would speak if it were a person. Is it formal? Quirky? Friendly? Authoritative? Your brand voice should match your brand’s personality, ensuring you end up with web copy that feels totally “you”.
- Understand your value proposition: Clearly define what makes your product or service unique. Why should website visitors choose you over competitors?
- Craft a strong brand message: Your brand message should be a clear, concise statement that reflects your brand’s identity and values.
- Identify key messages: Pinpoint the core messages you want your audience to remember. These should be consistent across all your web copy.
- Gather inspiration: Look at websites you admire. Note what you like about their copy and how it makes you feel. And don’t just check out websites in your own industry – branch out a little. That way, you’ll avoid writing website copy that sounds like everyone else in your field.
Structure your website content like a pro
When structuring your website content and deciding what will appear on each web page, think of it as curating an art exhibition. Each web page is a different gallery, showcasing a unique aspect of your brand.
Your job is to guide visitors through these galleries, ensuring they get the full experience without feeling overwhelmed. It’s about creating a journey that’s intuitive, informative, and enjoyable – a journey that paints a complete picture of who you are and what you offer.
Let’s take a little walk-through together, shall we?
Homepage: Your digital foyer
Your homepage is pretty much a jumping-off point for every other page on your website. It should provide an overview of your entire business, the hallway through which users travel into different rooms in your digital exhibit.
Your homepage is often the main landing page where users first land on your website, so it needs to grab attention, give a taste of what’s inside, and make visitors want to read more. It’s the make-or-break moment for first impressions.
- Headline: Your headline is your first impression. Make it snappy, make it engaging. Think of the ultimate goal that you can help your audience achieve. This should be the focus of your hero section. (Pick up more tips on writing scroll-stopping headlines later.)
- Offerings: Here, clarity is key. List your services or products like you’re explaining them to a friend who’s never heard of them. “We’ve got the cosiest eco-friendly socks this side of the internet!” Keep it light, keep it clear.
- Testimonials: Testimonials are a major credibility booster and immediately help users trust you. Make sure they’re in a prominent position on the homepage, and write a little bit of text to introduce them.
- CTA: Your CTA is your “next step”. Make it as inviting as the gallery’s refreshment table. Whether it’s “Shop Now”, “Learn More”, or “Get in Touch”, make it clear and irresistible.
What to include: A captivating headline, a section addressing audience pain points and explaining how you can help, a brief introduction to your offerings, and an inviting call-to-action (CTA).
What to avoid: Overwhelming visitors with too much information or using bland, generic language that doesn’t differentiate you from the crowd.
About page: Your storybook
Your About page is where you get personal. It’s where you tell your story, connect emotionally, and build trust. It’s the heart and soul of your brand.
- Your story: This is your chance to pull back the curtain a little. Share your journey, the highs, the lows, the turning points. “Back in 2010, in a tiny apartment kitchen, our sock saga began…”
- Team intro: People connect with people. Introduce your team with fun facts. “Meet Jess, our sock designer and resident karaoke queen.”
- Your achievements: Humble-brag about what you’ve accomplished. Awards, milestones, or even community impact.
What to include: Your journey, your team, your mission, your vision, who you help, and what drives you. This is your opportunity to share your brand’s personality and values.
What to avoid: Turning it into a resume or a list of achievements that doesn’t relate to your audience.
Services/products page: Your showcase
This page is your virtual storefront. It’s where visitors see what you have to offer and decide whether it’s right for them.
- Service/product descriptions: Each service or product is your star. Describe them as if you’re showing off a prized work of fine art. “Our socks aren’t just soft; they’re like wearing a hug for your feet”.
- Why they’re amazing (Benefits): Here’s where you answer “What’s in it for me?” for your customers. “Say goodbye to cold toes and eco-guilt!”.
- The price tag: If you’re putting prices up, be upfront and clear. No one likes to hunt for the cost or get surprised at checkout.
What to include: Clear, concise descriptions of your services or products. Highlight benefits and make it easy for visitors to understand why they need what you’re offering.
What to avoid: Jargon, overly technical language, or long-winded descriptions that don’t get to the point.
Contact page: Your open door
Your Contact page is the direct line to you. It’s where visitors go when they’re ready to talk, so make it welcoming and easy to use.
- Contact info: Make your contact info as clear as finding your front door. “Need to chat? Here’s how you can reach us!”
- Inviting message: A friendly line or two inviting inquiries can set a warm tone. “Got questions? We love to chat!”
- Contact form: If you’re using a form, make it as painless as filling out a postcard. Just the basics – name, email, and message.
What to include: Clear contact information, a friendly invitation to get in touch, and a simple, user-friendly contact form.
What to avoid: Making it hard to find contact information or using a complex form that might discourage people from reaching out.
Headlines: Your magnetic first impression
Headlines are the marquis above the gallery door. They’re what catch the eye of passersby and invite them in for a closer look.
A great headline doesn’t just grab attention; it holds it. It piques curiosity, and makes a promise about what the reader can expect. It’s a delicate balance of informing, enticing, and reflecting your brand’s personality.
How to craft a killer headline
Incorporate emotional appeal: Use words that evoke emotion or curiosity. But, avoid clickbait-y headlines. They can damage your credibility.
Be benefit-focused: Clearly state the benefit of reading further.
Use numbers or questions: These can increase engagement and interest.
Keep it short and sweet: Long headlines lose impact. Aim for brevity.
Reflect your brand’s personality: Your headline should match your brand’s style and tone.
Include target keywords: Use SEO keywords in your headlines to boost search engine visibility.
Don’t just write, engage: 6 tips for engaging website text
To engage is to connect, and that means writing content that resonates on a personal level. It’s about understanding what your audience cares about and speaking to those needs and interests in a way that feels genuine and thoughtful.
Your goal is to make visitors feel involved and part of the conversation, encouraging them to stay, explore, and ultimately, take action.
Here are my tips for writing website text that’s not just good, but chef’s-kiss fantastic. It’s time to transform your website into a narrative wonderland where every word counts and every sentence packs a punch.
1. Start with a bang!
- Headlines that hook: As we’ve discussed already, you’ve gotta think of your headline as the flashy billboard that makes drivers do a double-take. It should be bold, benefit-focused, and full of promise. Imagine it saying, “Hey, I’m what you’ve been searching for all along!”
- Opening lines that zing: These are your opening chords, the first notes of a hit song. They should resonate with your audience and set the tone for the whole symphony of your site. Start with a question, a surprising fact, or a bold claim that makes your reader lean in and think, “Tell me more.”
- Create curiosity: Just like a good film trailer leaves you yearning for more, your opening should tease the reader into scrolling down. Drop hints, ask intriguing questions, and dangle the carrot of information just out of reach.
Pro tip: Play around with different headline styles – questions, commands, or teasers. And always keep your audience in mind – what would make them click?
2. Keep it conversational
- Chat, don’t lecture: Your website isn’t a textbook; it’s a conversation. Use a friendly, approachable tone that invites your readers in. Think of it as chatting with them at your favourite café, not lecturing them in a stuffy classroom.
- Tell stories: Everyone loves a good story – it’s the oldest form of human connection. Weave narratives throughout your content. Share customer successes, your brand journey, or even day-to-day anecdotes that your readers can relate to.
- Use everyday language: Skip the industry jargon and opt for simple, everyday language. It’s about building a bridge of understanding, not showcasing your vocabulary.
Pro tip: Ask yourself, “Would I say this in a real conversation?” If the answer is no, then it’s time for a rewrite.
3. Benefits over features
- Sell dreams, not products: Your audience wants to know how your product or service fits into their lives. Paint a picture of the better, easier, or more joyful life they can have with what you offer.
- Solve problems: Identify the common challenges your audience faces and position your product or service as the solution. Be empathetic and show that you truly understand their needs.
- Emotional connection: Tap into the emotions associated with the benefits – the relief, the joy, or the peace of mind your product brings. Emotion drives action.
Pro tip: Use customer testimonials to highlight benefits. Real stories add credibility to your claims.
4. Keep it snappy and scannable
- Bite-size beauties: In the digital world, attention is the most coveted currency. Break your content into short, digestible sections that respect your reader’s time and attention span.
- The power of the white space: Embrace white space. It’s not emptiness; it’s the breathing room your content needs. It makes your website feel open, clean, and easy to navigate.
- Subheadings are your friends: Use compelling subheadings to guide readers through your content and highlight key points. Think of them as signposts along the journey of your page.
Pro tip: Mix up your content format. A well-placed image, infographic, or video can break the monotony and keep your audience engaged.
5. End with a bang!
- CTAs that compel: Your CTA is the climax of your page. It should be clear, concise, and compelling. Use action words that inspire enthusiasm and eagerness to respond.
- Create a sense of urgency: Phrases like “limited time offer” or “exclusive access” can create a sense of scarcity and urgency. But remember, authenticity is key – don’t overdo it.
- Personalise your CTAs: Tailor your CTAs to fit the content of each page. A generic “Click here” is less effective than a specific “Start your free trial today”.
- Placement is power: Put your CTAs where they’re most likely to be clicked. At the end of a compelling section, at the peak of curiosity, or right when your reader is nodding along with your points.
Pro tip: Test different CTAs to see which ones resonate with your audience. A/B testing can reveal surprising insights into what triggers a response.
6. Be yourself, unapologetically
- Unique voice: Your brand voice should be as unique as your fingerprint. Whether it’s witty, professional, or downright quirky, make sure it shines through in every word.
- Authenticity is key: People can sniff out insincerity from a mile away. Be genuine in your writing. If you’re excited, let that excitement bubble through. If something’s important to you, let it show.
- Connect on a human level: Remember, behind every screen is a human being. Write in a way that connects human to human. Share your values, your vision, and what makes you, well, you.
Pro tip: Keep a diary of phrases, idioms, and expressions that are unique to you and your brand. Sprinkle these throughout your content to maintain a consistent and authentic voice.
Search Engine Optimisation: The free traffic generator
SEO sounds technical, but at its core, it’s about ensuring your website is found by those who are looking for it online. It’s not just about pleasing search engines with technical tricks; it’s about creating content that offers genuine value to your readers.
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is essentially the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results.
It’s about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they’re seeking, the words they’re using, and the type of content they want to read. Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to connect to the people who are searching online for the solutions you offer.
Step 1: Choose your target keywords
The first step is to conduct some keyword research and discover what your audience is actively searching for. Then, seamlessly integrate these terms into your text, from your headlines to your body copy.
- Think like your audience: Begin by stepping into your audience’s shoes. What would they type into Google when looking for your services? Terms like “Comfy eco-friendly socks” or “durable hiking socks” are examples.
- Use keyword tools: Use free keyword research tools like Moz or Wordstream to discover what your audience is actively searching for and seamlessly integrate these terms into your text.
- Consider long-tail keywords: These are lengthier, more specific phrases with potentially less competition. For instance, “hand-knit merino wool hiking socks” rather than just “socks”. It’s about specificity and standing out. You can try a free tool like Answer the public to see what kind of topics people are searching for.
Pro tip: Aim for a mix of high-search-volume keywords and niche, specific ones, casting a wide net while targeting specific spots.
Step 2: Sprinkle keywords in naturally
- Natural is key: Once you have your keywords, integrate them naturally as you write web copy. Avoid stuffing them in haphazardly.
- Strategic placement: Place your primary keyword in your headline, the opening paragraph, and throughout your body copy, but prioritise readability. If it sounds like a robot wrote it, start again.
- Don’t forget the meta: Meta titles and descriptions give a preview of your page when users are searching on Google. They tell Google what your page is about and encourage the user to convert.
Step 3: Write a meta title and description for each page
A compelling meta title should be under 65 characters, while meta descriptions should stay within 155-160 characters. They should include your main keyword and clearly explain the page’s content.
Here’s an example to illustrate how you can effectively implement this in your SEO strategy:
Meta Title: “Eco-Friendly Winter Socks | Warm & Sustainable | CozyToes”
This title is concise (under 65 characters) and incorporates the primary keyword “Eco-Friendly Winter Socks”. It also includes secondary keywords and the brand name, “CozyToes”, which enhances brand recognition.
Meta Description: “Discover CozyToes’ range of eco-friendly winter socks. Keep your feet warm with our sustainable, soft, and durable socks. Perfect for chilly days!”
This description, within the 155-160 character limit, provides a clear and compelling overview of the page content. It incorporates key phrases like “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, and “winter socks”, aligning with potential search queries. It also includes a call to action, inviting the reader to explore the product range.
Pro tip: Stay updated with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes. SEO is an ever-evolving field, and staying informed is crucial.
Be your own editor: How to trim the fat
Copy editing isn’t just about catching typos or grammatical errors; it’s about ensuring your brand’s message is delivered clearly and professionally. It’s the final sweep that picks up the small bits you might have missed, ensuring your content is polished and perfect.
Check for consistency: Ensure consistent use of tenses, names, and terminologies throughout your content.
Look for common errors: Pay special attention to commonly confused words (like there/their/they’re) and punctuation errors.
Check for clarity and flow: Ensure your sentences are clear and logically flow from one to the next.
Cut the fat: Focus only on relevant information. Website copywriting is all about saying what needs to be said in as few words as possible. So, be ruthless. If a sentence doesn’t add value on a particular page, cut it. Clear, concise content respects your reader’s time and attention.
Get fresh eyes: If possible, get someone else to proofread your content. A fresh pair of eyes on the same page can often catch mistakes you’ve overlooked.
Tools and strategies to help you edit and proofread
- Read backwards: Start from the end and work your way back. This technique helps you focus on individual words and sentences, catching more errors.
- Change the format: Print your content or read it on a different device. Changing the format can help you see your content with fresh eyes.
- Use read-aloud software: Hearing your text spoken can highlight errors and awkward phrasing that you might miss while reading.
- Use proofreading software: Tools like Grammarly and Hemingway are awesome at cutting down proofreading time, as they pick up errors for you. But, take them with a pinch of salt – you should always give your work a final proofread before posting!
Pro tip: Keep a checklist of common errors you make. Refer to this list every time you proofread to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Writer’s block: Your creative pause
Writer’s block isn’t a roadblock; it’s a detour, guiding you towards new sources of inspiration. It’s a sign to take a step back, recharge, and let creativity flow back in.
Embracing this pause can lead to better, more authentic writing. It’s an opportunity to explore new ideas, perspectives, and approaches to your content.
Overcoming writer’s block
- Seek new experiences: Step outside your comfort zone and try something new. New experiences can spark fresh ideas.
- Mind mapping: Start with a central idea and branch out with related thoughts and concepts.
- Freewrite: Set a timer and write without stopping or editing. This can help bypass mental blocks.
- Switch projects: Sometimes working on something different can free up your creativity.
- Take a physical break: Go for a walk, do some exercise, or engage in a hobby to clear your mind.
- Practice mindfulness: Activities like meditation or yoga can help reset your focus and clarity.
- Look at inspo websites: Remember that list of websites I told you to take a look at before writing? Have another internet surf to find website copy that inspires you. Check out Great Landing Page copy for some awesome inspo!
- Start small: Set small, manageable writing goals to overcome the overwhelm of a big project. Maybe today you only aim to come up with the copy for the introduction on your homepage, and that’s totally fine!
Pro tip: Remember that perfection is the enemy of progress. Allow yourself to write imperfectly in your first draft.
Phew! There you have it – your complete guide to writing your own website text!
Remember, it’s about making each page feel like a beautifully-laid out room in your art gallery. Warm, welcoming, and unmistakably you.
And if you’re still thinking, “Ciara, the thought of writing my own website copy from scratch makes me want to lie down in a dark room” – I got you!
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