Website copywriting is a very particular skill, so if you’re hiring a writer to draft content for your company or client’s site, it’s crucial that you find someone who knows what they’re doing.
In this post, I outline seven things website copywriters should prioritise in every website copywriting project they undertake.
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- Understand SEO
- Get to grips with CRO
- Think about user experience
- Work with designers and developers
- Keep brand ID in mind
- Be purposeful
- Don’t leave visitors hanging
1. Understand SEO
OK, so this is a pretty well covered topic but there are still so many copywriters not getting this right.
Search engine optimisation – SEO – is such a crucial part of your website; after all, it doesn’t matter how fabulous the site is if no one’s going to find it.
SEO conventions and best practices are changing constantly as our online behaviours change.
We’re searching in different ways, we’re using different devices, and Google (and other search engines) have to keep pace to make sure they keep their customers happy.
Regular research and training on SEO is a must.
Your website copywriter should be a regular reader of a few quality newsletters (or just one – I really recommend The Moz Top 10 if you fancy taking a look) and should be prepared to discuss with you what’s new in SEO before undertaking your website copywriting project.
2. Get to grips with CRO
Just when you’d had enough with the acronyms, CRO comes along to spoil it all.
CRO stands for ‘conversion rate optimisation’ – put simply, maximising the chances of turning visitors to your website into customers and champions of your brand.
Conversion rate optimisation is similar to search engine optimisation in that both of these processes are half art, half science.
Like SEO, there are a number of tried and tested CRO factors your copywriter should know how to work with, adapt and implement for your site, including:
- Header and sub-header formulas
- Paragraph and list formatting
- Button and subscription text
- Buyer personas / non-buyer personas
- Buyer journey stages / the sales funnel
- Tone of voice and brand identity
- Sales and lead conversion techniques
- CRM integration
- Website navigation and calls to action
- Landing page best practices
- A/B testing and lead monitoring
Learn more about conversion copywriting here.
3. Think about user experience
The moment you lose site of your audience is the moment your website copywriting project goes horribly wrong.
User experience – often abbreviated to UX – is a vital component of any successful website.
And while it’s certainly not limited to the content on the site, content definitely needs to be kept in mind.
A common mistake I see website copywriters making is treating words as space-fillers.
When I take on a website copywriting job, I insist on being involved right from the start – before the website’s been designed or built.
That way, I can talk with the other project team members and discuss how visitors to the site are going to navigate it, which pages we want them to visit, what actions we want them to undertake.
Content can be used to inform a website build – deciding which pages are needed, how they should be grouped, what content should be featured on each page (and in what format), what your visitors are likely to want at every step of their journey around the site.
4. Work with designers and developers
Following on from that last point, a good website copywriter should know how to work with designers and developers.
Understanding the processes the other creatives on a website project undertake can:
- Speed up the project
- Boost ideas and creativity
- Make life easier for everyone involved
- Protect the client’s brand identity by aligning content and design
- Improve the finished results
Undertaking a website copywriting project shouldn’t be a case of sticking a bunch of words in a file and sending them off into the ether.
5. Keep brand ID in mind
Brand identity is a vital part of any website copywriting project – too often, SEO and CRO are prioritised over brand, when there’s no reason these factors can’t co-exist perfectly well.
An experienced website copywriter will understand brand identity, and how to write compelling website content while adhering to the client’s brand tone of voice and guidelines.
S/he will also be aware of how to work with the other creatives on the project to achieve a sensible, harmonious connection between the design, functionality and content of a website.
6. Be purposeful
Visitors to your website are there for a reason.
They want something from you and they want to find it quickly and easily, with as few clicks as possible. If they can’t find it, they’ll go elsewhere – probably to a competitor with a better website.
Website copywriting should be clear, concise and purposeful.
Your homepage should be a visually appealing and briefly informative hub from which your visitors can be redirected to content (i.e. web pages) that match their interests.
And no, it shouldn’t start with “WELCOME TO X COMPANY’S WEBSITE – THANKS FOR VISITING”. Why? Because 1) it’s a waste of prime website real estate and 2) it makes people want to die of boredom.
When your visitors get to the page that best suits their needs, your content should inform, engage and persuade them to engage with you, whether that’s placing an order, signing up to a mailing list, or sending you an enquiry.
7. Don’t leave your visitors hanging
OK, so your website copywriting is a beautiful thing to behold – you’ve got your homepage sorted, your user experience down to a tee, and your brand identity couldn’t get more branded.
Your visitors are clicking where you want them to, taking the actions you need them to, and turning into happy customers.
What’s left to think about?
Well, in terms of website copywriting, not enough of us are talking about the delight stage of the content marketing process.
It’s not enough to keep your customers happy until the point of sale and then cut them loose – your content needs to let them know you value them.
Website copywriting projects should include loading copy on slower pages, sincerely written thank you pages for when a customer has fulfilled a particular action (downloading a guide, sending you their details – whatever it might be), and clearly marked calls to action and links to further useful content.
You should be thinking about the content outside the website too – email courses, newsletters, customer service email templates, e-books – you name it.
The last thing you want is for your customer to trust your brand with their details, fill out a form, and find themselves stranded on an ugly, empty page, with nothing left to do but close the tab.
Use your website copywriting as an opportunity to take a little more care of your customers – that way, they’re far more likely to come back to you.
Better website copywriting gets you better results
How much more simple can it get?
If visitors to your site find useful, valuable content on there that builds trust in your brand and tells them what they want to know, when they want to know it, they’re far more likely to stick with you and do what you want them to.
They win, you win.
(And your copywriter wins, ‘cos quality doesn’t come cheap 😘 How much does website copywriting cost? Find out!)