Copywriting for Websites

Copywriting is an interesting gig. Many people assume all writing is the same. That if you can write fiction, you can write non fiction. If you can write a news article, you must be able to write landing page copy.

This is not the case.

I have experience with many forms of writing, but I also know where my weaknesses lie. It’s extremely rare to find a writer that can write excellently on every platform, for any audience. It’s important to find the right writer for the job.

Good copywriting is always important. Spelling mistakes on display labels won’t inspire trust in your product, and what good is entertaining website copy that doesn’t convince users to buy? It takes a lot of practice in a single discipline to become adept.

Website copy needs to convert

Ultimately, your website copy is there to encourage conversions. The definition of a website conversion depends on the particular website. It could be the sale of a product, the download of a file, the submission of contact details, or a phone call to your store. It’s the action that you want people to take on your website, it’s the reason you built your business.

conversion occuring on a website with credit card

Does your website convert?

The purpose of every piece of copy on your website is to point people towards a conversion. That’s exactly how you should look at it as well. I’d encourage you to go through your whole website and read every word.

Could sentences be rephrased to sound more convincing? Are they informative enough? Are they too vague? Too much? Too little? It’s often easy to tell when copy is written by the business owner, rather than a professional website copywriter.

Website copy needs to engage

Backing up the first point is the fact that in order to convert, website copy first needs to engage. You’ve only got a few seconds to convince someone that your website has what they need. A website that users engage with often finds success.

If your copy is engaging, it means users will stay on the site longer. They’ll start clicking things, exploring through pages, and hopefully finding something that they want. Or even better, something they need. The longer users interact with your website, the better for SEO.

Find your balance

There’s a balance when it comes to writing website copy. On one hand you need to give the user all the information they need to make a decision. On the other hand, you need to jump out and catch eyes. You need to be concise, clever, and convincing.

Again, take a look at your own website. Load the homepage from a new browser and take note of what loads fastest, where your eye is drawn, and what you read first. Are you comfortable with your users first experience?

laptop showing design and copywriting on a website

Website copy needs to be concise & comprehensive

Concise and comprehensive? These may seem like conflicting terms at first, but they aren’t. Being concise means sharing all the important information in as few words as possible. Being comprehensive means covering all the points in a specific subject. You’ll need to be able to do both on your website, but not always on the same page.

Writing copy for landing pages

A landing page is a page that has been specifically designed as an entryway into your website. Your homepage is a good example of a landing page. Your paid advertising from Google ads or Facebook will also point to these pages.

A good landing page is concise, and specifically speaks to the reason that the user is there. For example, you may have a Facebook ad running that’s calling people to purchase a specific type of running shoe. The page that a user lands on when they click the ad needs to be concise and convincing enough to generate a sale.

When to write comprehensive website copy

Some users need more convincing than others however. That’s where the comprehensive copy comes in. Having a separate page that comprehensively details all the benefits of the running shoe will help support the original landing page. Your landing page is there to engage the user, and to match the advertisement or other link that sent them to your website. From there you can link to the comprehensive article with some copy that says something like, “Five More Reasons To Buy Running Shoe 2.0”.

The only time a website visitor is willing to read all of your copy is if they know you have what they’re searching for. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of content, it just means you need to be smart about where you put it.

If people become engaged with your site, spending time reading and researching, then Google sees that as a reason to rank you higher. Just think about the purpose of each page on your website, and what a user is looking for by being there. Do they need to be convinced to make a purchase yet, or just convinced to stay on the site?

Website copy needs to be well structured

You can’t just upload 2000 words of copy to your website without structuring it in an easy-to-digest way. For any page of your website that isn’t an article or blog post, the design needs to be handled in such a way that it can support large volumes and varieties of copy.

The shorter, punchier, more convincing copy should be at the top of the page. This is what first engages the user. As they scroll down, they should find comprehensive copy that goes into more detail around what the website is offering. It may also link off to other pages containing even more compelling copy.

It’s the job of a website designer to structure your main converting pages in such a way that they fulfil their role to the best of their ability. This will always depend on the purpose of the page, and your site as a whole.

Structuring articles and blog posts

For articles and blog posts, the structure is a bit more rigid. Title goes up the top, and the article itself should be broken up into sections with subheadings. Users often skim-read or scan the page for the answer to their specific question. Sub-headings (h2’s) help readers to find the piece of copy that they’re really looking for.

For posts longer than 1500-2000 words, you’ll probably want to include a clickable contents section at the top. This will allow users to find what they need more easily, and jump down to the section relevant to them. You can break down longer articles even further by using sub-subheadings (h3’s) and inserting content such as images, graphs, and infographics.

copywriter writing a blog in wordpress

Word count for website copy

Word count is a factor when it comes to ranking in Google search results. This doesn’t mean if you hit the word count, you’ll rank. It also doesn’t mean that if you don’t hit the word count, you won’t rank. What it does mean is that websites that rank well tend to have a certain level of copywriting, in terms of both quality and length.

That being said, the basic guidelines around word count are as follows:

  • Landing pages: 500+ words.
  • Articles on one specific topic: 1000+ words.
  • Pillar pages: 2000+ words.

If you want to check the word counts on your own website, you can use this tool.

Don’t get obsessed with word counts. I’ve seen pages with less than 500 words rank number one, because they had the most important ranking factor: they had what their audience was looking for.

That’s what copywriting for websites is all about. You need to show the reader that you have what they need, and convince them to take it. However many words it takes you to fulfil that goal is the right word count for your web page.

Copywriting for websites is 100% quality over quantity… but if it’s great copy, there’s no such thing as too much.

If you need high-quality website copy, contact the SEOwriter.

Subscribe to the SEOwriter blog: