Compelling website copy stays hyper-focused on its objective and audience to move visitors to the next step of the customer pipeline.
Website copy feels effortless when you’re reading it, but not so much when you try to write it. If you’re currently looking at a blank page with a blinking cursor, don’t feel bad—copywriting can take work.
Compelling website copy stays hyper-focused on its objective and audience to move visitors to the next step of the customer pipeline. To achieve that goal, you’ll need to build a comprehensive strategy before writing, including establishing your target audience and copy objectives.
In this article, you’ll learn how to create a website copywriting plan that’ll set you up for success. These 8 steps will prepare you for writing copy that gets results.
1. Understand what makes website copy unique from print and blog content
When you understand what differentiates web copy from print copy and blogs, its unique goals will become clearer. On a broad level, website copy encourages readers to convert—take an action that moves them through the sales process. Every element of a web page’s copy should contribute to that overall goal.
Some elements of website copy overlap with print copy and blogs. Like print copy, web copy convinces the reader to take an action that moves them down the sales pipeline. It also has to follow best practices for SEO and web-like blog posts.
But, website copy is much more objective-driven than print content and blogs. It’s often easier to create multiple web pages than print materials, so you can target narrower audiences with website copy than with print. Website pages often have more urgent CTAs than blogs.
For example, a blog post tends to be part of a broader content marketing strategy with long-term goals—nearly half of all customers look at three to five pieces of content before talking to a sales rep. Meanwhile, web copy often encourages an action for the user to take on-page at that moment.
Web copy also has many more demands to perform in SEO. While print has no obligation to follow SEO best practices, blog posts have a better chance at meeting SEO demands because of their longer lengths. Website copy is usually shorter than a blog, meaning you’ll have to make each word count for SEO.
While both blog posts and web copy have metrics to measure, web copy metrics are much more focused on direct action from the reader. Web copywriters test hyper-specific metrics such as time on page and evaluate specific sections of copy on their performance. Many of them also test specific phrases against each other to prioritize versions that convert.
2. Know how to write for different types of web pages
Different web page formats require different copy objectives and structures. You need to understand these differences to create the appropriate experience for your readers.
Examples of web page formats include home pages, contact pages, and product description pages. The copy requirements for each could fill up a blog post on their own, so it’s best to look up page-specific resources as you plan. No matter what type of page you plan to create, consider using Copy.ai to guide you through the copywriting process.
For example, landing pages need a unique copy structure to engage readers after they click the link to your site. They often have a hero shot that appears at the start of the page and sets the tone for the rest of the copy. Copy.ai can help you craft landing page hero text you can edit according to your copy strategy.
For example, imagine you need to write landing page hero text for a bowling pin brand. First, input the bowling pin brand name and describe the product.
Hit “create,” and within seconds, Copy.ai outputs examples of taglines and product descriptions you could use for landing page hero text. Pick and choose ones that work for you, or use them as a jumping point for more brainstorming.
3. Establish a clear objective for each webpage
According to David Hoos at The Good, “Every page on your ecommerce website should have one job and one job only: it should help the reader advance further along the path to purchase.” This principle also applies to web pages in other industries—but what specific goal will your page follow to advance your visitor to the next step? To answer this, you should also set page goals specific to your sales pipeline.
In the above article, Hoos lays out three elements of a meaningful page objective: the page’s purpose, the importance of that purpose, and where the page will direct the visitor to next. To create these elements, ask yourself the following questions about your page:
- What goal do I want my page to achieve? The answer to this question will establish your primary objective.
- Where does that goal fit into the sales process I want to create for my customers? By asking this question, you’ll ground your objective in your website’s sales pipeline.
- What do I want my visitor to do after they read my copy? Your answer will become your call-to-action—the directions you give your reader to convert at the end of your website copy.
4. Know your audience inside and out
Before you write a single word of website copy, thoroughly research the people who you want to read your site so your copy can target their preferences and needs. It’s important to match your copy to your audience so you can make a compelling argument for your product.
You can use demographic data or in-house customer data to pinpoint smaller details about your customer base. Original data on your customers will give you more specific information, but you can work with general data if you don’t have it yet. Consider conducting surveys or talking to customers one-on-one to get personalized information in the future.
Many marketers use audience data to create buyer personas for framing their copy. A buyer persona is a representation of the most important traits to know about your typical customer. HubSpot has a detailed guide on creating a buyer persona that represents the people who want your product.
Some copywriters write separate pages for different buyer personas, then use methods like SEO to target accordingly. If you’re new to creating a website, you can start with a more general page and create more specific versions as you get more experienced.
5. Develop a clear structure for your page
Just like any other piece of good writing, high-quality website copy has a logical structure. When you set up an in-depth structure for your copy, you’ll be more organized and have a clearer grasp of your content when you write.
Many copywriters use formulas like AIDA and PAS to structure their work. These formulas often aim to guide the reader through a specific thought process or emotional journey that encourages them to convert.
But, you can also simplify the copywriting process by writing out the general ideas you want to share and presenting them in a logical order. Then, flesh them out.
Copy.ai has a tool for this. Arrange your ideas into a bulleted list, then plug each bullet into Copy.ai’s bullet point to paragraph tool. Let’s try this with our fictional bowling pin brand from earlier:
Copy.ai’s AI-generated paragraphs cover points that might come up when you’re writing about bowling pins and other bowling products:
Essentially, our copy outputs will save you countless hours in brainstorming or staring at a blank screen. Use these draft paragraphs as a jumping-off point to mix and match concepts, find phrases you like, and create a paragraph that’s uniquely yours!
6. Pay close attention to your headers and subheaders
Eight out of 10 website readers read headline copy, while only two out of 10 read the rest. Since they function as mini-headlines for your website copy sections, your headers and subheaders are key to convincing visitors to engage with your copy.
Effective headers and subheaders should convince visitors to read the content below them while being clear and concise. These guidelines from The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) explain how to write easy-to-understand headers. Keep in mind that sales-focused pages can take creative liberties with headers for more convincing content.
Another way to approach headers is to use the Associated Press Stylebook style to present key info upfront. You might associate AP style with spelling and grammar, but it also includes guidelines for structuring information. The AP values writing that delivers details efficiently—a practice that will help you keep readers’ attention.
Copy.ai’s subhead text generator can also help you create subheaders that are informative yet concise. For example:
With the simple input above, Copy.ai generates an array of subheaders of different lengths covering topics related to your original text.
7. Use active voice and actionable words
When you use active voice and actionable verbs in your copy, you’ll more effectively encourage your visitors to do what you want them to. These techniques put readers in the mindset to take action and lead to more succinct copy.
StrategyBeam includes multiple practices in their definition of the active voice that go beyond avoiding the passive voice. For example, they suggest avoiding jargon—words that don’t make sense to someone outside of an industry. They also recommend avoiding adverbs when possible.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that headers in this blog post all begin with a verb to encourage action. They summarize what you need to do for each step so you can understand the process at a glance.
8. Follow SEO best practices (and keep it human)
To give your website copy the best chance of getting seen by organic visitors, you need to follow SEO best practices. Don’t worry; SEO won’t make your copy feel robotic if you know how to keep it human.
Two of the most common SEO-related tips for content marketing and copy involve using keywords and creating a good meta description. Search engines use these elements to direct users to your content. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to perform basic keyword research and insert them into your copy and meta description naturally.
How can you make your SEO keywords look natural? Try writing your copy without thinking about keywords, then look for places in your sentences where your keywords would read normally. Make sure to space out your mentions of each keyword to help them look less “spammy.”
Easy-to-read copy is also SEO-friendly, so keep readability factors in mind as you write. The active voice I mentioned earlier can help make your text more readable. Shorter sentences (25 words or fewer) and brief paragraphs (three or fewer sentences) also promote readability.
Craft engaging copy with Copy.ai
Now that you know how to plan and structure successful website copy, it’s time to get writing. Our AI-powered copywriting tools can help you quickly generate ideas for winning headlines, product descriptions, page copy, and much more. Get started with a free trial today!