10 Steps to Effective Website Copywriting

June 12, 2013By
Website Copywriting

Website Copywriting comes before website design. via Flickr

I’m not sure if I’ve shared it here on the GBW Blog yet, but we’re changing the GBW website here in the next month.

The biggest difference will be making the site mobile responsive.

With so many people accessing the Web on their smartphones it’s becoming a requirement to have a great website experience. Really you need to start with the mobile design first. People are only going to use their phones more in the future.

The other big change for the site will be the website copy.

Over the last few years there have been many tweaks and changes to the copy on the GBW site. The goal is to always answer questions visitors have out anything relating to the industry and to Ghost Blog Writers.

The new copy for GBW will be really focused. The goal is to make sure the goals for each page are achieved.

I’ve been talking about copy in a blogging series with the design firm, Sarah Lynn Design.

If you feel your website needs a website copywriting upgrade then you’ll find these next 10 steps helpful.

1. Business Goals

Define your business goals. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean your goals are any different.

Every business is selling something. Think of your business as a salesperson that is always working. Their goal is to complete a sale taking a brand new person through the entire process.

That’s the goal of your site, which is the same goal of your business.

2. Business Sales Process

Your website is a virtual salesperson. Analyze the sales process you use when selling to customers face to face and on the phone. All the questions they ask and all the information you provide should be on your website.

The information should also be organized in the same way it’s organized offline.

The homepage is an introduction and an overview of everything.

From there people dig into deeper details. It’s the same as the process is offline.

3. Prospect Questions

Think of every question your prospects ask during the entire sales process. Put the answers on your website.

You will be able to use some of the questions to create blog posts, but only the questions that occur way early in the sales proces. Well, you can use questions more specific to your business for the blog too, but those are better answered in other areas on the site.

Any question that relates to making a sale should go on your homepage, about page, services page and any other page you’ll have on the site.

People will take time to read through it if they have the same question and if they don’t need to read it they can skip that part and move to the next.

4. Page Priority

Something we do for each website project is create a page priority. This helps the copywriting process and it also helps the design firm.

For the GBW website the priority was:

  • Homepage
  • About
  • Services
  • Case Studies
  • Contact
  • Etc.

That’s a basic rundown of how it worked for us. We also created a priority of elements on each of those pages.

Doing these outlines helps you understand how your site will work while organizing the entire process.

5. Page Goals

Each page on the site has one main goal that you want a visitor to achieve. It’s your desired income. It’s your site. It’s your business. You are in charge of what you want people to do on each page.

For the GBW homepage the goal is to get customers to visit the services page where they can learn more about the services and from there they can contact us to discuss a trial post.

Understand that some people will want to skip right to contacting you from the homepage or other pages. That’s what header and footer navigation is for. It’s not hidden. The people that want it can find it easily.

6. Complete Website Copywriting Before Design Starts

Here is a big one and I’m sure designers will love it.

If you want your design to go well always provide website copy before the design begins. It will really help the design firm with their task.

You can always make changes after the fact, but getting the website copywriting done ahead of time leads to a better overall process in my experience.

7. Review and Revise After Design Begins

As the design team starts finishing early designs of the pages you’ll need to tweak a few things. Usually you’ll cut out some words, which is a good thing to do anyway.

You’re always looking for the balance of providing enough information for the visitors without overwhelming the site with content. Keep it as simple as possible while providing everything your visitor needs to become a lead or a customer.

8. Use Designer’s Input

Your design team will have tons of experience creating websites. They look at them all the time. Get their input on the website copy. See what they say and use their recommendations when it makes sense.

After all your writing it’ll be good to get a few more eyes on things. They can pick up on obvious things that you overlook since you’re so involved.

The designer might also have no idea what your business does and that’s good. They might have an obvious question that you realize you overlooked. You can go back and add in the information.

9. Have a Customer Look It Over

Also have one of your customers look things over. Talk to a new customer because they’ve just recently gone through the sales process. See if they’ll review the site and share the experience with you. Ask them about the questions and thoughts they had when they choose you for the service.

If they’re confused by anything go in and make some changes. If they are confused chances are others will be too.

10. Website Content Is Not Static

The final point is that your content is not static. It’s more static than your blog will be, but you’ll still want to review your website content on a regular schedule Maybe every month or so just check things out. Change the aspects that are different. It’s also just good to look things over from time to time.

You won’t be completely redoing content each month. It’s just a good reminder to check things out.

Conclusion

I’ve used this process for the GBW website that you currently see and the one that’s coming in a few weeks. The copy on the GBW site has always been in flux. We’re always looking to make improvements.

At GBW, we focus strictly on blogging, but we have done some website copywriting for clients. We use this same approach and it works.

Content is often an overlooked aspect of website design even though it’s vital to achieving your business and website goals.

Use these steps to help you create content that sells.