Writing website copy that engages (even if you suck at writing)

Listen, I know how you feel when it comes to writing website copy.

I can do a lot of things in this world – I can tell the right joke at the right moment, remember all of the lyrics to songs I haven’t heard in decades, and I’m pretty slick when it comes to designing on the web.

If you would have told me a few years ago, while I was working on some stuffy Sociology paper daydreaming about graduation, that I would spend the rest of my life writing on the internet for others to read and learn from - I would have laughed at you. Then told you to go sit down somewhere with the foolishness. So let’s kill this dreaded feeling of writing website copy and let’s get into some tips on how to make it easier (and maybe even more enjoyable). 

Number 1: Don’t be afraid to write how you talk. 

I know this may sound terrifying. Trust me, I’m from Louisiana so I know we southerners talk. But learning how to write how you talk but a little cleaner is going to make things so much easier. That’s what’s going to keep it from being stuffy and boring – because it actually sounds like you. 

Think about it like this: visualize your ideal client as a person. It should be safe to say that you would hang out in real life with your ideal client right? (if not you should rethink your ideal client!). 

Now think of both of you sharing margaritas at a happy hour and she asks you about your business. And you really like this girl, and the drinks are flowing so you really open up to her. You tell her everything that you want for your business, and why your services are important, and the benefits that you give to your clients, and how they feel after working with you. 

Type like you’re talking to her.

Then when you’re done, clean it up, add some formatting, and viola! You have something that sounds a lot more like you than what you had before. 

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During website projects here at Standard Operations, every client recieves a Website Copywriting Guide. Essentially a google document that helps client write their own copy by answering a series of questions.

Number 2: Use other people’s words

Nope I don’t mean copy and paste someone else’s website copy – I mean using words and phrases that your past clients (or people you want to be you future clients)  use to describe their pain points, why they hired you, what they’re looking for, what they need, etc. 

You can even use some of the language that potential leads have used when inquiring with you. 

The whole point of this is to see the words that people are using surrounding what you do, your brand, and what they need. 

You can then use those words in your copy when appropriate. It’s an easy way for potential clients to read your website copy and think you’re speaking directly to them. 

Number 3: Write in a funnel

When you’re writing website copy, I want you to think of every section on that page as a funnel that you’re leading your readers through.

Let’s break this down: 

This structure is based on the typical structure of a web page, and this works really well with home and services pages. 

Web pages usually start with a headline that is specific and attention grabbing. You want them to scroll down for more. 

Then there’s more information that builds on the headline, gives them more information, but also starts to move them towards the offer or call to action. 

Now we get to the meat of the page – the main goal. This can be your offerings, your services, your portfolio, etc. 

It’s whatever you want them to really pay attention too. 

Now you get to stick them with the pointy end (if you get that reference comment below I wanna hear what you think of the finale!!) and give them a call to action AKA a CTA. 

Number 4: Use some copywriting formulas to get your juices flowing. 

Writing website copy can get a little boring sometimes so I love using copywriting formulas for my headlines, blog post titles and for my services page.

A lot of them are easy plug-and-play type deals that get me thinking about my copy and how I want everything to play out. 

Here are some of my favorites (I’ve either used them or can spot them easily throughout the interwebs)

  1. Before-After-Bridge: paint a picture of their current life and how it’s causing them pain, then unveil an even better life that they could have after working with you.
  2. “Here’s your life before my service, but what if it could be changed forever? Here’s how:”
  3. Problem-Agitate-Solve: this one is a killer on sales pages or services pages. First you identify the problem, agitate it, then offer the solution.
  4. Is your house a hot mess? You’re not alone – there are thousands of other women around the country standing in a cluttered living room frustrated and alone. They remain that way out of overwhelm so they continue to be overwhelmed. Stressed out. Angry. Fortunately, there’s an answer. 
  5. Picture-Promise-Prove-Push: with this formula you’re going to paint a picture of your ideal client’s desired outcome, describe how you’re gonna deliver, provide some proof that you can deliver, then you call them to action.
  6. That social proof you can use to describe how you deliver can be some testimonials or results that your past clients have had. 

Ashlyn Writes & Buffer do a fantastic job breaking down even more copywriting formulas if you’re interested. 

Number 4: Do it. Leave it. Tweak it.

This is probably the best tip that I can give you. 

I’m going to say this, and I hope it doesn’t discourage you – the first draft of your website copy is probably gonna suck. 

And that’s ok. It’s meant to be terrible. 

Write out everything that you can, and literally leave it alone. Go take a walk, or come back the next day with fresh eyes. 

That time away can give you some perspective and you’ll see things that you didn’t see before. 

And here’s a bonus tip – read your writing out loud! That’s the easiest way for me to clearly see if what I’m writing is stuffy or not sounding like me at all. 

Before You Go, Remember This:

Stop telling yourself that you’re a terrible writer. You’re not. I promise you that you’re not. Wanna know how I know? Because I guarantee you that you’ve written at least one thing that someone has resonated with or enjoyed. Whether that be a blog post, Instagram caption, or a tweet. That’s all writing. And since you’re probably doing them in a way to market for your business…………. sounds like you’re already a writer to me.

Everyone's website needs some TLC from time to time.

Through a strategic approach rooted in Psychology, we put our focus on the human experience behind the visuals. With powerful and clear design, we’ll create an intentional online presence that positions you as not just the best solution for your clients, but the only solution.