How To Write Winning Website Copy

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I’m delighted to welcome Stacey from Little Ink Marketing to the blog. In this guest post Stacey gives us actionable and effective copywriting tips for those of us who often find ourselves in the position of the copywriter (as well as designer) or who just want to learn some writing tricks for our own website…


How to write winning copy for your website.

Are your design mockups filled with “Lorem ipsum lorem ipsum”?

I mean, you’re a designer, not a copywriter, right? But whether you asked for it or not, I bet you’re often required to wear the copywriting hat as well!

Or maybe you need to step up your content game to attract more dream clients? While you may know everything about your business like the back of your hand, when it comes to writing about it (if you’re like most of us) you struggle to get the words right!

The truth is that copywriting and design are two sides of the same coin. They’re inseparable and one can’t exist without the other.

So whether you need to toss out the “lorem ipsum” and instead let the words shape your design, want to learn the foundations for writing copy for your own design biz, or are even considering adding copywriting to your toolset, here are some simple questions to ask yourself that will help hone your copy…


1. Do you know who you’re talking to?

The first place you should always start with is “who am I talking to?” and then cater all of your copy as if you’re speaking directly to this person! When copywriting, you can’t just assume the characteristics of your audience. If you do, you’ll end up with high quality copy that is meaningless.


2. Are you clear on the objective?

Next consider what it is you want to achieve. It’s important as a designer to always have the messaging in mind so you can build a visual story that complements the copy. If the answer isn’t clear to you, it certainly won’t be clear to your reader!


3. Are you promoting benefits more than features?

To wildly oversimplify human behaviour, people are generally reluctant to exert effort unless they know what’s in it for them. That’s why it’s more important to talk about benefits over features. Put simply, features are facts about what your product or service does, while a benefit is what users can do or accomplish with it.

For example, if you’re writing copy about yoghurt, the feature may be that it is high in protein. The benefit however is that it ”keeps you fuller for longer so you don’t snack throughout the day”!

Or if you’re telling clients about your own graphic design services, the feature might be that you provide logos in a range of formats and dimensions. The benefit however is that the client can maintain brand consistency across a variety of platforms and avoid their company’s image looking pixelated and ugly!


4. Are you writing like you talk?

Writing in simple, conversational English is the best way to sound genuine and authentic, and to help build trust. Unless you’re writing a university essay, the way we’ve been taught to write in school is way too formal. When people read your words they should know it’s a person talking!


5. Is your copy skimmable?

Most people are notorious for loading far too many words onto a page. Make sure your content is easy to read and more importantly, easy to scan, as most people skim a page before deciding whether or not to read all of it. Using structural elements such as sub-headings or bullet points is a great way to make your content skimmable.


6. Have you provided social proof?

Social proof is based on the idea that humans are pack animals and will want to “follow the crowd”. For example, when we see that 5,000 people follow a brand on social media, we assume that brand is worth following too – no questions asked! In marketing, social proof takes the form of testimonials, using client logos, or stating results achieved by others. It proves there’s some value in the product or service and helps seal-the-deal when convincing customers to do business with you.


7. Is your call to action super obvious?

The entire point of writing something is to get the reader to take action. It could be to make them click a button, fill out a form or get them to call. Make sure the call to action is obvious and go a step further and tell them what will happen after they take that action. If you’re writing copy for a website I recommend creating your call-to-action for every page before you start writing. This helps you map out where the story of each page should lead to.


8. Have you used your keywords?

If you’re writing for an online audience, have you used your keywords? Make sure your keywords are in your heading, subheadings, links and lists where possible. Use them as frequently as possible, however it is more important to sound natural! It really is a delicate balance. If you don’t know your client’s (or your own) keywords, you can use Google’s Keyword tool to see what people are looking for.


9. Have you let it sit?

Sometimes we get so caught up in our writing or we want to finish a job quickly, that we forget powering through can affect the quality of our work. Taking a break allows you to come back with a clear mind so you end up with a better quality result. I recommend letting it sit at least over night and coming back to it with fresh eyes the next day. Reading the copy aloud also helps. Often, what looks right on the page will sound awkward and robotic out loud.


10. Have you checked spelling and grammar?

Words, spelling, and punctuation can leave a lasting impression. Nobody wants to give their hard-earned dollars to someone who seemingly doesn’t care enough to spell check their copy. Take the time to proofread (I can already hear the collective groan!) ideally when you have had a break and have a fresh perspective.


And that’s it!

Keep these copy tips in mind when you’re next required to word play, whether it be for a client or in your own design biz, and you’ll be on your way to winning copy!


Download the checklist to keep all these tips handy for your next project!


The Ultimate Checklist For Winning Copy

About the author
Stacey has enjoyed a colourful career in events, communications, copywriting and marketing both in Australia and abroad. A writer at heart, Stacey has a passion for storytelling and has written thousands of words for clients from hospitality and banking, to primary production and start-ups. Stacey launched Little Ink Marketing as an all-in-one marketing powerhouse for small businesses who need to play just as smart as the corporate heavy weights, but without the fuss or fees. She believes in simple, implementable marketing services, and loves nothing more than to roll up her sleeves, and help clients get their marketing “done”.