7 Simple Website Copywriting Best Practices That Won’t Make You Cry into Your Corn Flakes (but will help you get more business, bookings & sales)

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I get it.

You’re busy. You’ve got a dozen balls in the air and a To-Do list a mile long.

Which means you don’t have the bandwidth to rewrite your entire website from top to bottom yourself, a dedicated copywriter on your staff to do it for you, or the time to vet and hire a pro copywriter.

But you do want to get more email subscribers, book more complimentary consults or strategy sessions, or make more sales. And my guess is, you want to do it sooner rather than later.

That’s where these seven simple website copy tweaks come in – for when a complete web copy overhaul is not in the cards, but you want to do something to improve your website performance ASAP, ideally in the next few days.

Because as “they” say, your website is your 24/7 salesperson.

And that means that while you’re tending to the other parts of your business, or simply off living your life, your website should be doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you:

  • Educating your potential clients and customers about what you have to offer
  • Whipping up interest in your products and services, so your best, most aligned prospects fill out your contact form, book a complimentary consultation or discovery session, or take the first step in your sales process
  • Getting your ideal clients & customers onto your email list, where after an email nurture sequence, the right ones make the decision to buy

And of course …

  • Making sales

If you want those results, then a great use of your weekend would be to implement these tried-and-true web copy to-dos, so you can get more conversions sooner than later, i.e., more business, bookings & sales, directly from your website. (Yes, there may be additional steps involved in the process, but your website should be doing a lot of the pre-selling for you.)

This list of best practices is based directly on the most common issues I see when I do website reviews for clients.

(Where possible, I’ve linked to a more comprehensive explainer article for each best practice below.)

7 Simple Website Copywriting Best Practices

#1: Know your audience

Do at least some research, even if it’s just talking to 2-3 people in your target audience, reading a handful of blog post comments or forum posts in your niche, and engaging in some “social media listening,” to get a feel for how your likely buyers describe their challenges. Start there – but do more if you can. Knowing your target audience well + gathering voice of customer data makes the difference between copy that converts and copy that falls flat.  

#2: Convey your USP (unique selling proposition)

No matter what it is you do, you can bet there is someone else out there – or a whole lotta of someone elses – doing it too. So, you’ve got to know what makes you meaningfully different and convey that to your right people in your web copy.

Learn more here about what a USP is and why you need one here. [This is a 3-part series; you can access all 3 parts from the Part 1 link here.]

#3: Use conversational copy

Good web copy is conversational, not overly formal, stilted, or full of jargon.

You know you’ve seen it.

Stuff like …

“We create strategic digital solutions for brands looking to expand market share and create new channels.”

Or …

“We create strategic planning, technology, media, social marketing and analytics solutions to meet all your needs.”

Or …

“With over 50 years of industry experience, we execute forward thinking solutions for every client.”

Now, of course, what you write and how you write it will depend on your audience (see Tip #1). If you serve lawyers, for example, your copy will be very different than if your audience is made up of circus clowns.

No matter who your audience is, however, your copy should be 100% free of unintelligible nonsense like that above.

Check out some of the examples in this post from Hubspot:

14 Copywriting Examples from Businesses with Incredible Copywriters

While this Hubspot post is not strictly about conversational copy, many of the examples shared in the article come from businesses who are masters of it.

#4: Write a compelling headline for every web page

Too often I see websites that have a headline on the Home page, but not on the subsequent pages – About page, Contact page, Services page, Shop, Gallery or Store page, and so on.

Here’s the thing – every web page needs a headline – not just the Home page. Web visitors decide in mere seconds whether to stay on a page, and you want to stop the right people – those who are ideal for your products and services – in their tracks and get them interested in reading more. You do that with a persuasive headline that gets their attention and piques their interest, so they want to explore the rest of the page.

Here are a couple of examples from my own files.

For an About page for a fine art photographer who specializes in landscapes & life of the American West, whose audience is made up of collectors who have a deep appreciation for the freedom and adventure of the western lifestyle, I created the headline:

A few miles off the highway, a million miles from ordinary.

You have to admit, that’s much more attention-grabbing for his particular audience than a generic headline like “About Me,” or “My Story” (or no headline at all).

For a page on an artist’s website to sell her real estate renderings service, I created the headline:

Closing Gifts That Help Turn Clients into Friends, Referrals & Repeat Business

This headline is more effective than something generic like, “Closing Gifts” or “Real Estate Renderings.” You’ll notice too that it offers a benefit: Turn Clients into Friends, Referrals & Repeat Business.

For an interior designer who serves busy young families with lots commitments outside the home, who still want to come home to an oasis of comfortable elegance at the end of (yet another) jam-packed day, I created this About page headline:

Accessible Luxury for the Modern Young Family on the Go

Again, this About page headline is going to stand out and grab the attention of this designer’s desired audience more effectively than a generic, “My Bio” or “About Me” as a headline.

#5: Include a clear call to action (CTA) on every page

Every page on your website should clearly indicate what you want web visitors to do next. You do this by including a clear call to action (CTA).

Your call to action will be based on your goal for each page, whether that’s getting people onto your email list, getting complimentary consult calls booked, or having site visitors check out your products and services.

CTA examples:

“Sign up here for weekly updates, event info, and special deals I only share with subscribers”

“Get in touch today for a free estimate”

“Shop the new collection here”

“Visit my gallery here”

“Schedule your free consultation today”

“Contact me here if you have any questions”

#6: Create a clear path to buy (or to get additional information)

A clear path to buy simply means making it as easy as possible for web visitors to make a purchase, or take the first step in your sales process, in as few steps as possible.

How to get from Point A – “Great, I found it! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for,” to Point B – clicking on the “Buy Now” button – should not be a mystery.

If you sell something that requires a few additional steps between “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for” and making a purchase (premium services, for example), then every action that precedes the purchase must be clear and easy to understand as well.

A clear path to buy is also in large part a function of web design. The copy and the design should play to together so there’s no friction or confusion about first steps or next steps to buying, or getting additional information, etc.

Here’s how to determine if your website is up to speed in this department: Pretend you’re the ideal client, customer or prospect, and go through the process as if you want to get more information and/or to buy. (Or better yet, enlist a few ideal prospects, or even friends, to do this for you.) Note what obstacles or challenges come up, and fix those, pronto.

#7: Rely on formulas (instead of reinventing the wheel)

Assuming you don’t have time to take an in-depth copywriting course or hire a skilled copywriter, you can always look to formulas to optimize your website copy.

This is a fantastic resource, from the fine folks at Copyhackers:

The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever)

This article includes copywriting formulas for all kinds of copy assets a successful business needs, web pages among them. You’ll find formulas for writing most of the elements needed for web copy that converts, including:

  • Headline for a page or a blog post
  • Value proposition
  • Block of body copy
  • Testimonial
  • Bullet list
  • CTA or button copy

Conclusion

And there you have it, seven simple copywriting best practices to help you improve your website’s performance so you can start getting more business, bookings, and sales.

If you’ve got the bandwidth, it would be totally worth it to take a couple days and knock out a few of the action items above.

BUT … if you’re up to your eyeballs in obligations with no end in sight, and you’d love an objective take on your website copy and how it could be improved, then I invite you check out my Serious-About-Sales Web Copy Audit & Action Plan service to see if it’s right for you. I have 2 available spots for this website review service each month.

Either way, I wish you much luck with your 24/7 salesperson, AKA, your website!

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