For your website to rank well in search results, deliver a high-quality experience to users and ultimately turn leads into sales, it needs to be filled with great copy.
Key elements of website copywriting
Website copywriting is a broad term that encompasses a range of disciplines and content types. All of this needs to be up to scratch, with a standardised style and a tone that’s tailored towards your audience and the image you want to convey.
A fun B2C fashion brand, for instance, should have a very different style of copy than a B2B professional services firm, but whatever impression you’re looking to make on visitors or the type of content you’re creating, the information you provide has to be clear, relevant and consistent across every page of your website.
These are some of the key content types you need to think about for your website copy:
- Blog posts – Fresh, regularly-updated content helps drive traffic and improve your brand image.
- Long-form articles – Go in-depth to demonstrate your expertise and industry thought leadership.
- Subject guides – Place your brand as a leading authority and build trust among readers.
- Product pages and descriptions – Show off your unique selling points in a clear, concise way to create leads or turn browsers into buyers.
- Landing pages – Capture leads by getting visitors to enter contract details for gated content, drive conversions and more.
- ‘About us’ information – Tell your brand’s story and let your personality shine.
While it’s of course important to keep in mind SEO best practices throughout every type of your website copywriting, you should always be ensuring you’re writing first and foremost for a human audience, and asking what information they will be looking for. A good data analytics strategy can be hugely helpful in determining where to focus your efforts.
The importance of quality copy
Aiming for high standards in your web copywriting is crucial for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that the copy you produce is a reflection on your brand and business’ identity as a whole.
If you want the content on your site to be discoverable in search, it needs to be well written, easy to understand and properly optimised, so Google – and other search engines – can find it.
Furthermore, quality copy is an essential element of the experience you deliver to your web visitors. If people find your online content hard to read, difficult to understand or just boring, why would they choose to buy from you?
Your website is one of the most powerful weapons in your digital marketing arsenal, so it’s worth putting in the time and effort required to make it the best it can be.
If this is an area where you’re in need of some expert guidance and support, Axonn specialises in helping our clients improve and optimise their copy to get results.
Whether you’re looking to populate your blog with engaging posts, capture leads with downloadable guides or give your product pages an overhaul, we’ve got the experience and capabilities to help.
Website copywriting has a critical role to play in helping you achieve some of your most important marketing goals, such as:
- Improving your search engine rankings through SEO
- Delivering a positive user experience
- Engaging and informing your audience
- Establishing brand authority
By investing the time and effort required to achieve high standards in your written content – whatever form it takes – you will maximise your chances of getting the best results from your online marketing.
Why website copywriting is important
Good website copywriting helps your brand stand out from the crowd and enables you to make stronger connections with your target audience. This is crucial at a time when there are more demands on people’s time and attention than ever before.
You can get a clearer picture of exactly why this aspect of your content production is so important by considering the biggest benefits you can expect to gain from high-quality web copy.
More website visitors
If one of the key goals of your broader content marketing strategy is to improve your search engine rankings, you need high-quality, well-written content on your website. Google and other search engines want to direct users to sites that answer their questions and meet their needs. It’s vital, therefore, that your web copy and pages are tailored not only to be discoverable in search, but to provide a relevant, satisfying experience for the user.
A better user experience
It’s not enough just to attract people to your website. Once they’re there, you need to give them a positive experience if you’re to stand any chance of turning them into customers. That relies on well-written copy that captures people’s attention and provides something of value – such as a solution to one of their biggest problems.
A more trustworthy brand
Strong website copy will help you demonstrate your knowledge and expertise on a subject that matters to your target audience. By showing through your web copy that you’re aware of their pain points and can help to resolve them, you’ll not only increase the likelihood of them buying from you, but lay the foundations for long-term brand relationships based on trust.
A more comprehensive website
The more copy you have on your website, the more likely it is you’ll draw people in by supplying content that connects with them and nurtures them along the buyer’s journey. A deep, well-optimised site full of useful and interesting content is more likely to rank in search engine results and will also open up more channels for you to convert leads into customers.
Key elements of website copywriting
A structured, systematic approach will help you achieve a certain level of quality in your website copy and get the best results from it. So what are the most important steps you need to take to reach and maintain high standards in your copy?
Understanding your audience
It’s vital that your copy is relevant and engaging for prospective customers, but it’s impossible to achieve that goal if you don’t have a good understanding of your target audience, their priorities and why they might want to buy from you.
A crucial early step is to create buyer personas. These hypothetical representations of your ideal client give you an opportunity to pinpoint things like:
- Job title
- Business size (if you’re a B2B company)
Your buyer personas will provide vital structure and guidance for your web copy. Make sure every piece of written content you produce connects in some way to the characteristics outlined in your personas.
When you have a good idea of what defines your ideal buyer and what they want to achieve by purchasing from you, you’re in a better position to create relevant and impactful copy.
Understanding your product
Product pages and descriptions are among the most important types of website copy. The simple reason for this is that compelling copy about your product or service and its unique selling points increases the likelihood of your website visitors feeling confident enough to make a purchase.
Just like with your customers, you need to have a deep understanding of your product if you want to create high-quality copy that reflects its key features and biggest benefits. After all, you know what the greatest attractions for each of your products will be for your target market.
There’s a good chance that, before embarking on a website copywriting project, you already have a pretty solid understanding of your product offering and how it can help your customers. But it’s still a good idea to refresh your knowledge by asking some pertinent questions around your product offering that can make your copy really stand out, such as:
- What makes this product special or distinct from competitor offerings?
- How can this product be accurately described in just two or three sentences?
- What does your target audience stand to gain from buying this product?
Coming up with solid answers to these questions will give you a lot of the fuel you need to produce powerful, persuasive website copy.
Making an impact
Your customers’ time is precious, particularly in our modern digital age, when there are so many things people could be doing online other than browsing your website. This is why it’s essential to take full advantage of the short period for which you have your web visitors’ attention by making a lasting impact on them.
One of the most effective ways to make an instant impression on your audience and grab their attention is through your headlines. Regardless of the type of copy you’re creating – whether it’s a product page, a blog post or a landing page – you need a strong headline to quickly capture people’s interest and convey what the content is about.
Here are some key principles to bear in mind with every headline you write:
- Make it unique
- Be specific and get straight to the point
- Focus on why the copy is useful to your audience
- Create a sense of urgency
You can also look to make an impact on readers by employing a certain style in your copy. If you want to convey a compelling message as quickly as possible, think about how you can remove unnecessary words and streamline your prose.
The ability to write persuasive copy will help you achieve some of your most important marketing goals. This could be anything from encouraging people to share their contact details with you, to expressing why a certain product is the perfect option to meet a customer’s needs.
One good tactic is to identify a clear value proposition and put this at the heart of your copy. Don’t waste any time in telling your audience what you have to offer and how it can help them.
It’s always a good idea to look at every piece of website copy you produce from the customer’s perspective. When they read about your products or services, most potential customers will be thinking: “What’s in it for me?” Bear this in mind when creating your copy and make sure you give a quick and well-argued answer to this question.
Another important consideration is the tone you use in your copy, which can be crucial in determining how engaging and persuasive it is. If you’re a B2B service supplier targeting corporate buyers, for example, you won’t get very far with informal language and a lighthearted tone that doesn’t reflect your audience’s needs and concerns.
Grabbing people’s attention with features like strong headlines and persuasive language is important, but it’s of little benefit to your business if the reader doesn’t take action after reading the copy.
That’s why calls to action (CTAs) have a key part to play in your website content. They provide the final stimulus for the customer to take the next step in their journey with you.
Like other elements of web copy mentioned above, CTAs work best when they’re simple and specific. Get straight to the point and be clear about what you want the reader to do next, and what they will gain from taking this action.
Examples of CTAs that fit these criteria include:
- Download your free trial now
- Submit your details and we’ll be in touch
- Sign up to receive our newsletter
- Buy now
Using positive, active language in your CTAs and opening with a verb are good practices when you want to motivate your audience and inspire action.
Testing and adaptation
CTAs also serve as a good example of how important it is to regularly test aspects of your website copy and make adaptations where required.
You can use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of various elements of your CTAs, such as:
- Language used
- Position on the page
- Button style and colour
Methodically testing different styles, designs and copy choices will help you pinpoint which options work well for your target audience and give you the best results.
A/B testing can also be effective in evaluating other aspects of your website copywriting. If you’re creating landing pages or product descriptions to target a niche segment of your audience, for example, try out different headlines, tones and formats to determine which methods are most effective for this group.
This should be a slow and steady process that systematically tests and compares particular elements. With this approach, you can make well-informed conclusions about which variables have the biggest impact on results.
How to copyright your website copy
Under UK law, copyright protection occurs automatically when you create new intellectual property. This means every piece of web content you produce – as long as it’s the original work of the creator – is covered by copyright law and can’t be replicated elsewhere.
If you want to go further than this basic legal protection and minimise the risk of your web copy being used unlawfully, there are actions you can take.
Use a copyright notice
Firstly, it’s advisable to include a copyright notice on your website. This makes it clear that all of the web copy and other unique content on your site is your intellectual property and can’t be reproduced or used without your permission.
Adding a copyright notice is a simple process of including something similar to this in your website footer:
© [name of copyright owner] [year of creation of website – current year]
Add an IP clause to your T&Cs
To give yourself an extra layer of legal protection, you can add an intellectual property clause to the terms and conditions of your website. This allows you to state what website visitors can do with your content, and what they can’t do without express permission from you.
As well as making the copyright laws regarding your web copy entirely clear, including this clause will strengthen your case should you ever have to pursue legal action.
Disable copy and paste
If you’re concerned that someone could simply lift large portions of your website copy and pass it off as their own, you could consider disabling the copy and paste function on your website.
Content management systems like WordPress give you the option to add plugins that prevent users from right-clicking on your pages, making it more difficult to copy text and images. Just be aware that disabling this functionality could impact your site’s overall user experience.
Reasons to hire a website copywriter
Simplicity is often the best approach to take with website copywriting, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. If you want to be sure this aspect of your marketing is getting the time and attention it needs, outsourcing it to a specialist could be the best option.
Bringing in an outside agency to look after your website copywriting can give you more time to focus on running your core business. Hours that would have been spent planning and writing website copy can now be used to focus on the ‘big picture’ for your business. You could find yourself with more time to map out your broader brand strategy, for example, or plan your expansion into new markets.
To make the most of this benefit, you need to have full confidence that any supplier you choose to work with can do a good job and live up to your standards without supervision. It’s crucial, therefore, to follow a careful selection process and to examine the results potential partners have delivered for past clients before making any commitments.
Skills and experience
A skilled content writer will be able to turn their hand to writing about a range of subjects for various client types and audience segments. This is a valuable capability to have at your disposal if you target a range of demographics or you’re expanding into new markets that require different communication styles.
It’s also useful to have someone with a lot of experience on your content creation team. A seasoned web copywriter who has worked on a variety of projects for different businesses will have the diverse skills you need to produce value-generating content for your site.
Up-to-date SEO knowledge
One reason why SEO copywriting can be a challenge is because this area of digital marketing is always evolving.
Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking and updating their ranking algorithms to deliver the most relevant results and the best experience to their users. Marketers and content producers need to keep up with these developments to make sure they’re adhering to best practices.
A dedicated copywriting service will help you stay on the frontline of change in this space, so you can feel confident of getting the best results from your website content.