So you’re starting a website for your business, and while you’re researching how to write website copy, you keep coming across articles and blog posts that mention things like “writing web copy that converts,” “how to write web copy for SEO,” and “content marketing.”
All this seemingly insider jargon likely leaves you with even more questions. What is the difference between content and copy? What is SEO? And how do you go about writing web copy that converts?
Contrary to how you might feel, writing website copy is fairly easy to do—once you understand it. In this post, we’ll cover the essentials of how to write website copy, like the difference between web content and copy and how to write web copy for SEO. With our tips for writing web copy, you’ll have all you need to know to start writing web copy that sells your product.
What Is the Difference between Content and Copy?
Web writers often use the terms copy and content interchangeably, but the truth is that these are two entirely separate concepts. The difference lies in what purpose they each serve.
Copy versus content
Web copy is text that sells your product. If it somehow explains why your product is great, why your readers need it, and how they can acquire it, it’s web copy. So what exactly does web copy look like? Basically, web copy is all the text on your website, in your ads, in your newsletters, et cetera, that guides readers toward buying your product or hiring your service.
In contrast, web content is text that tells your readers something. It provides information, entertainment, or education. The purpose of web content is to develop readers’ interest in you as a brand rather than directly selling them your product. Examples of web content include articles, blog posts, visual media, and podcasts—things readers might share that will attract new readers to your site.
Because web copy is what turns readers into buyers, it’s important to know how to write website copy effectively.
How to Write Website Copy
Now that we’ve cleared up the question “What is the difference between content and copy?” and noted how important web copy is for your business, let’s move on to our tips for writing web copy that sells.
Elements of effective web copy
Like most writing, web copy can be broken down into several distinct elements that determine the strength or effectiveness of the text. Keep these elements in mind as you’re writing your web copy.
Determine your audience.
The first step is figuring out to whom your website copy is speaking. What is your product’s or service’s target market? Moreover, what sort of person do you expect wants or needs what you’re selling? How can your web copy reveal or increase this want or need? If you don’t have a specific audience in mind when writing, your web copy might seem indirect and impersonal to your readers.
Create an inverted pyramid structure.
You probably remember learning in essay-writing classes that you should place your most important essay points at the beginning of your paper to “hook” readers and keep them reading. The same is true for writing web copy: you have only a few seconds to convince readers to stay on your web page, so seize their attention with the most important or relevant information in the first line they see.
Use short sentences and paragraphs.
In today’s information age, readers have become scanners. When was the last time you read a web page word for word? Usually you scan it to find the information that’s most interesting or relevant to you, right? Structure your web copy with scanners in mind: write direct headings and subheadings, short sentences, and brief paragraphs.
Include a call to action.
How can web copy be effective if it doesn’t inspire action? The key to writing web copy that converts is to make that conversion easy. Make sure readers can clearly see what you’re asking them to do, whether it’s buy your product, hire your service, sign up for your newsletter, or whatever other action is specific to your business.
Don’t forget the visuals.
Nothing is more intimidating—and likely to drive away readers—than a long wall of text readers have to wade through to find the information they’re looking for. Make your web copy visually appealing and more approachable with things like images, emphasized text, formatting, and bullet points.
How to Write Web Copy for SEO
You’ve got your website-copy structure down, and now it’s time to figure out what words will go in your web copy. Here’s where we get to that acronym people throw around so often: SEO.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization (or SEO) refers to choosing keywords to include in your web copy that search engines will find and latch on to when turning up search results for a user. SEO is important because it ensures your product ends up in front of the right person.
How to research for SEO
One of the hardest parts of writing website copy is deciding which keywords will be the most effective in bringing readers to your site. Although there are plenty of tools out there that can help you research keywords, one of the easiest ways is to think about what words people might use when searching for something like your product. Try searching words or phrases related to your product or service; then see what search results come up, and tweak your search terms until you’re landing on websites that offer products similar to yours.
Finally, make sure to write even better copy than what’s on those competing websites so that you snag all the traffic!
Once you know the basics of how to write website copy, the hardest part is just the work of writing, as with any writing project. Hopefully our tips for writing web copy that sells have put your copywriting fears to rest and set you on your way to creating a website that effortlessly coverts readers into customers.