If you asked an online business owner about the most intimidating things about running a business, they might say balancing the books to prepare for tax time or making edits to contract agreements.
Still, others would admit that staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page tops the list.
If this feels true for you, you’re not alone, but writing effective words for your business is an incredibly valuable skill to have in your toolbelt. Not only does learning the secrets of writing well make you a better communicator, it can also lead to more sales & greater connections with your customers.
One of the best places to focus your efforts is your website. Throughout this article, I’m going to give you several website copywriting tips to help you strengthen your messaging and create a stronger connection with your audience.
Are you ready to dive in? Let’s do it!
Know who you’re writing to
It’s really difficult to write effective sales copy if you don’t know who you’re writing it to. The same goes for blog articles, emails, social media captions, or any other piece of content. This is why so many entrepreneurs talk about how important it is to define your niche.
I know, I know. Niche has become quite the buzzword, but you hear it all the time because it’s a significant part of your business. Your niche refers to the specialized area in your industry that you work in. It often includes a specific group of people you feel equipped to serve.
Without a niche, I would simply be seen as a website designer. It’s true, but there are tens of thousands of website designers on the internet. I wouldn’t be able to stand out if I didn’t have a well-defined niche.
Since I’m known as a Showit website designer for creative entrepreneurs, my niche allows me to focus on a specific website platform while also serving a specific audience. You can do the same thing with your business based on what you’re best at.
Say “you” more than “I”
When it comes to communicating on your website, the best way to connect with your audience is to talk directly to them rather than making it all about your brand. Otherwise, you’ll feel like that one person at a networking event that can’t stop talking about themselves.
When you turn your copywriting into an engaging conversation with your reader, it will invite them to explore more of the messaging on your website. Your goal is to hook them by clearly explaining how you can help them before you explain what your mission and brand story is.
As you audit your current website, count how many times you say “I” and “you” on your Home or About page. Ideally, you’d like to say “you” more often because it indicates you’re addressing your audience more than talking about your own business.
You might choose to say “we” when communicating a partnership between you and your potential client. It can also be used if you are referring to the larger team behind your company which can often be the case for non-personal brands.
Raise your hand if you feel like you can be a little long-winded when you talk about what you do. My hand is raised with you! It’s so much easier for me to write a longer blog post than short blurbs on a website. It’s because there is an art to creating concise website copy.
I usually recommend sticking to three short sentences in each paragraph and being mindful of your formatting. You might notice I like to use frequent line breaks in blog posts and emails, but I use regular paragraph formatting for most of my website pages. This is all done intentionally with my user’s reading habits in mind.
The next time you find yourself writing a long, drawn-out sentence, think about how you could cut it down to the bare essentials. Here’s an example to show how it can be done:
LONG: As a florist who loves soft aesthetics, I’m passionate about helping high-energy, completely in love couples by creating timeless floral arrangements, centerpieces, and bridal bouquets that will be remembered long after the flowers wither.
CONCISE: As a florist, I want to help upbeat couples by creating timeless floral arrangements worth remembering.
Did you notice how both sentences are essentially saying the same thing, but one is much more concise than the other? This is a great practice to do when you start to see your copy getting longer by the second. If you need additional help, you can also use a free tool like Grammarly to help you identify how you can cut down on length.
This may seem like the most obvious tip in this post, but clarity is incredibly important when you write website copy. You can bring more clarity into your writing by leaning into your niche and refocusing your attention on the most important details.
Instead of trying to communicate every message you want your visitor to know upfront, think about what messages are something they need to know. This is often what you’ll communicate through your headlines and introductory copy.
Here are a few things that need to be clarified in your website:
- Who you are (brand identity)
- What you do (brand mission)
- Who you help (audience)
- What problems you help them solve (offers)
- How you help them (brand experience)
If you need an extra pair of eyes to determine how clear your writing is, you could ask a friend or family member who may not fully understand what you do to read through your website. After they scroll through your content, do they have a clear understanding of what you do and who you serve? That’s the hope!
Use the StoryBrand framework
Who said you had to start from scratch? I recommend beginning to write your website content with the StoryBrand framework in mind. I follow this framework with my clients as a Certified StoryBrand Guide and keep it in mind when I write my own content.
One of the best places to start is by reading Donald Miller’s book Building a StoryBrand. It will walk you through the basics of writing your website copy with your customer as the hero rather than your brand. Instead, you can position yourself as the helpful guide that assists your customer in getting to where they want to go.
This goes back to the “you” vs. “I” recommendation I mentioned earlier. Is your copy all about pumping you up or is it encouraging and equipping your ideal customer instead? The latter is far more effective than the former.
Focus on benefits before features
When you begin writing about your services or products, do you feel tempted to tell your audience about everything that’s included in your offer? Most entrepreneurs would say yes, but it’s best to lead with the benefits of your offer instead.
Benefits give someone insight into the “why” behind your offer. It conveys why a client should work with you and how you can positively impact their lives and businesses in tangible or intangible ways. It deals with the reward and results of your work, enticing them to want to hire you instead of your competitors.
Features are focused more on the “how” of your offer. They get more into the nitty gritty details of what’s included in your product or service. This can include things like virtual meeting, office hour sessions, worksheet packets, questionnaires, or any other deliverables.
If you were a business coach who works with stay-at-home parent entrepreneurs, a benefit of your work would be helping your clients spend more time with their families. A feature could be 10 hour-long coaching sessions over the next three months. Do you see the difference?
As you write a sales page or Services page for your website, keep this website copywriting tip in mind so you don’t communicate the features before you’ve told potential customers why they should care.
Consider SEO before writing
Of course you were going to hear this recommendation from the creator behind the Simple Showit SEO course! I’m passionate about SEO because I’ve seen how it has positively influenced my own business.
Since I’m on the first page of google when you type in “showit website designer” or “website designer for creatives,” I frequently receive leads on autopilot from people who are directly searching for someone to hire on Google. I don’t have to pay for any of this organic traffic to my site, so it’s free lead generation for me that doesn’t take extra work. I love it!
Although this sounds dreamy, it didn’t happen in a single day. It took months of experimentation and education to utilize the right SEO strategies that have improved my site performance. However, it’s absolutely possible and I want the same for you, which is why I recommend starting to write after you’ve selected targeted keywords.
Edit and proofread your copy
This seems like it should go without saying, but it’s crucial for you to proofread your copy before you publish it on your website. While we are all humans and can make mistakes, it looks better if you proofread to ensure you don’t miss any typos or inconsistencies in your writing.
You can edit your own copy, or you can hire a professional editor or virtual assistant to help you with this. If you decide to hire someone, ask your business friends for referral recommendations and do your research to ensure they’re the right fit for your business.
It can be helpful to get someone else’s eyes on your content in case you accidentally miss something. They can also add valuable suggestions and offer a different perspective that will help you improve your writing over time.