Engaging Website Copywriting: A Best Practices Guide
So, you’ve done your best to attract potential customers to your website. They love your engaging social media posts, your valuable videos and your inspiring thought leadership articles.
But your work is only just beginning. Will you make the sale or will your visitors drift off into the night, never to return? Your website will decide…
Website copywriting matters, more so than ever before. That’s because those visitors expect to receive the same experience there that they got from your email or social media post. You may also get visitors to your website who only found you through a search engine query, so your website needs to create a compelling first impression.
Let’s take a look at what makes website copywriting different from other content creation. We’ll also explore a list of best practices that keep website visitors on your website.
Before looking at best practices, it’s important to understand what makes website copywriting different from other types of online content. Whilst online audiences on social media leisurely spend time scrolling through posts, those that visit websites tend to be on a mission to find answers.
Rather than reading all the website content offered, most visitors scan the materials looking for phrases that help answer questions. They don’t want to spend extra time searching or reading content for entertainment. If they want to spend more time reading, visitors will go to your blog and articles library, if you have them.
Website Copywriting Best Practices
Addressing this website behaviour means changing your approach to website content generation.
- Be generous with headings and subheadings.
Headlines and subheadings serve as sign-posts for visitors, guiding them directly to the content that can answer their questions. Keep them short and to the point so visitors know if that’s what they want or not.
- Format for scannability.
To help visitors scan website content, break the information down into sections that are either numbered or bulleted. This is a much better choice than website copy comprised of large text blocks.
Adjusting the format for readability doesn’t mean foregoing with paragraphs altogether. When you need to use paragraphs, keep them short. Two to three sentences at most should suffice. In these paragraphs, consider using a bold or highlighting to draw the visitor’s eye to their desired key phrases.
- Start with the most important information.
Skip the introduction that leads to the point of your content. That works with a blog post or an article, not for website copywriting. Start with the main point. In fact, make that conclusion the first sentence. This technique should keep the visitor on your website because they got an immediate answer.
- Maintain simple content.
Save the technical words and jargon for white papers or thought leadership articles. Website content should speak your visitor’s language. Using familiar words will keep visitors engaged and at ease with the information you’ve provided.
Website copywriting should also be sparse with its word count. Omit unnecessary words and focus only on those that add value.
What Website Copywriting Shares with Other Marketing Content
That’s not to say that website copywriting doesn’t need to leverage any of the techniques used in other marketing content.
- Know your audience.
Whenever you reach out to your intended targets, your content — written and visual — resonates with your audience. It’s about what they want and directed solely at helping them solve a unique problem or issue.
- Differentiate your brand and offering.
Spell out what makes you different and capable of doing what no other company or brand can do for them. Weave in your values and purpose for existing.
A good way to do this on any channel is to tell a story with your content, humanizing who you are and creating emotional connections with the audience. Today’s audiences need answers, but they also could use encouragement, support, and empathy.
- Create a positive experience.
No matter what channel an audience connects through, they want to have a good experience. This includes when they click a link to visit your website from their mobile devices or from their computers. Even if they cast a website video to their television, your audience wants it to work well.
Whilst you might think this is purely up to your IT team, surprisingly enough, website copywriting and marketing content do play a role in creating a superior user experience.
- Use internal linking in your website content to connect pages, pages to blog posts, and blog posts to pages. This helps your visitors navigate to more answers that could be of value.
- Invest time into understanding the search engine optimisation process to ensure you are optimizing content for mobile and mobile speed. You’ll need to keep content sparse, yet targeted. Keywords and phrases should remain relevant to the content value proposition.
- Keep visitors engaged.
All content channels seek to hold their visitors captive for as long as possible. The longer they remain on a profile or website page, the more likely they can convert to a customer.
To do so requires providing more content that furthers the value beyond just the initial answer they sought.
- Tell more stories about how you helped other customers.
- Link to additional sections of your website or to another channel.
- Provide additional resources like reports, statistics, and guides.
- Deliver a call to action.
Finally, your website is like other marketing content in that it must move visitors to a specific action. After getting the information they need, many prospects or visitors aren’t sure what they should do next. Your content should influence them by providing a reason to do something else that engages with your brand.
Known as a Call to Action (CTA), this “roadmap” or “journey” content typically starts with a verb that defines what action to take. For example, the verb might be “download,” “fill out,” “sign-up,” “contact us,” or “order today.” As you can see, the CTA doesn’t necessarily have to be about buying something. You have envisioned where you want them to go and delivered the written instructions on how to get there.
The better approach is to focus the action on something that will be of benefit to the prospect rather than a sales pitch. The content shows the prospect that you are more interested in helping them and encouraging them to return than sell them something.
Work with a Website Copywriting Professional
With this list of best practices, you may be able to strike out on your own and create your own engaging website content. However, there may be other reasons that point you toward the benefits of partnering with a website copywriting professional.
- You are a business owner already stretched thin, trying to launch your startup or manage the day-to-day operations. A website copywriter has the time to deliver that content whilst you focus on what you do best as a business owner.
- You are too close to your business and struggle to write about it. As an outsider looking in, a website copywriter can see different ways to describe the business and define the value it offers a target audience.
- You can write, but you struggle with the style of content that engages website visitors. A website copywriter has the expertise to write to that virtual audience on your behalf while maintaining your brand voice.
- You find search engine optimisation confusing and fear that your content may do more harm than good. A website copywriter follows the ever-changing guidelines established by search engines, enacting best practices that adhere to these rules while maintaining value-based content for audiences.
If these reasons resonate with you, book a free 30 minute Discovery Call with me to discuss your copywriting needs, website or otherwise.