What is Website Copy and Content?
The content of a website is the text, images, videos and media that make up the page. The website will be planned around Pages which will be laid out, structured and designed around the images and text that you supply for that page.
Try to Imagine your content as the measurements you give to the tailor to make a suit.
This means that a web designer can’t start designing your site until they know, at least roughly, what content is going to be on each page.
After all, how can you tailor a suit without the measurements first?
That’s why the best approach is to write your content first, then design your website to support this content. This will ensure your site is well written, well structured and well ranked by Google.
And thus, the suit will fit.
Good website design is like a well-fitted suit: tailored to your content.
This guide will explain why its vital to the success of your website, and how you should go about writing copy.
Why is website content so important?
You may have heard the phrase: “Content is King”. What does this mean, and why are web designers so fond of the phrase?
When done right, your copy can make the difference between a lost customer, and a surefire sale.
Good content and copywriting can help you build trust with your customers, inspire an emotional response and convince customers to buy from you.
But there’s more:
Good content will also help Google to identify your website, and help you rank for relevant keywords in the search results.
Luckily, writing your copy and gathering your content isn’t difficult,
but it does take a lot of time.
Don’t leave content until the end!
In a perfect world, Writing your content should be the first step in any project as it affects everything else that comes after.
In reality, web designers often start designing and building the website, while the customer writes their content at the same time.
Most people forget about writing their copy until the website is nearly ready to launch.
That’s why Supply of content is the most common sticking point in delaying website launches.
Planning, writing and editing your content can take weeks, and should not be left to the last minute.
How long does writing content take?
Creative writing is as much an art as it is a skill, and some people will be naturally better at it than others.
Even for experienced copywriters, it takes time to write and refine.
As a rule of thumb:
If you have experience with creative writing, write regularly, and know your subject:
you should allow for at least 1 hour per 500 words to write and edit your work.
If you aren’t comfortable with writing, haven’t don’t any creative writing in a while, or need to research your subject:
you should allow at least 2-3 hours per 500 words
500 words fill approximately one sheet of A4 in a 12 point font.
You will also need to gather any existing images or arrange for photography or videography.
Some things you will need images of:
- your services
It will of course also take time to organize and arrange for photography or videographer if required.
If you have need of a photographer Design Hero can provide photography services, or recommend a photographer.
How do I get started with writing my website content?
Before you put pen to paper, or digits to keyboard,
There are a few tips to keep in mind when writing your copy:
Just keep writing to preserve your flow
Many people are totally daunted by the task of writing their content and don’t know where to start.
The best advice is:
You’re not writing Shakespeare! Concentrate on basic sentences & paragraphs, and the rest will come later.
Mind Your Tone
you should think about your overall strategy for your copy.
should it be casual and informal?
or professional and informative?
First-person or third person?
The answer to this depends on your brand and business.
If you’re an edgy woman’s fashion brand then your copy should be bold, casual and confident.
If you’re a chartered accountant then your copy should be formal and professional.
Keep your brand in mind when your writing your copy.
Write with Purpose
The second thing to keep in mind is why you are writing in the first place.
Once you get into a flow it’s easy to keep writing and forget what you’re supposed to be saying in the first place.
It’s important to remember what the purpose of your copy is in the first place. Your copy might have a number of different purposes at the same time:
- To educate
- To inform
- To sell
- To convince
In the following steps, you’ll see how to keep yourself on track and avoid waffling.
There are five simple steps to writing your website copy
- Decide on your pages
- Split pages into sections
- Bulletpoint your headings
- Flesh out your bulletpoints
- Edit, Edit, Edit!
let’s go through the five steps for the example of a small independent builder, so you can see how it’s done:
We’re going to use a simple bulletpointing system to build up your copy in stages.
Bulletpointing will help you keep the purpose of your copy in mind, and help you to quickly get straight to the point.
If you follow these simple step by step instructions below and your content will practically write itself!
Step 1- Decide on pages for your website
The first thing we’re going to do is decide what pages you need for your website.
Write these down as a series of bulletpoints, which will start to form a sort of sitemap for your website:
Bob the Builder’s website
Step 2- Divide each page into sections for your website
Now we have a list of our pages for our website.
We’re going to expand these bulletpoints with sections on each page.
Think about what essential information you need to communicate to your customers.
We’ll add these as subitems for each bullet point.
Bob the Builder
Summary About Bob
Step 3- Create your headings
This part is about establishing a hierarchy on your page.
This is for two audiences:
- For Users
- For Google
Both are equally important.
There is a very particular style of writing for the web that doesn’t come naturally to most people:
You see, web users are a bit like goldfish.
The average user has an attention span of about 3 seconds
Think short sentences and punchy statements.
Your inner pages will have longer paragraphs of text, but for the homepage, everything is going to be very brief, right to the point and no flowery words.
Users like to skim ready so they need to be able to pick out the structure and important bits on your page. A good hierarchy of headings will help users, and Google, to understand what your page is about.
(image of good copy hierarchy, from Hollybank branding)
It’s important that Google can determine what your page is about, so it can rank you for those search terms.
So, back to our bulletpoints. we’re going to start adding more sub-items to flesh out our content with hierarchical headings:
Summary about Bob
How Bob goes above and beyond to make sure the job is done on time, and on budget.
Bob has a string of happy clients
He works in Glasgow and surrounding areas.
Save money on moving
Add facilities and Infrastructure
Internal layout alterations
Adding or removing doors and windows
15 years experience
Worked at Balfour & Betty before going independent
CASE STUDIES PAGE
New house extension Case Study
Address 12 Anystreet, Glasgow
Property Maintenance Case study
Address 5 The Road, Renfrew
Call 01234 456 789
Email [email protected]
Step 4- Flesh out your copy
Now it’s time to start writing your website copy in earnest.
your bulletpoints will keep you on track, and help you get started for each section.
You can use the same process for each section: write a bullet point, then expand it into a sentence.
Try to write at least x200 words for each indented bullet point.
You should also aim for 1 large, high-quality image or video for each bulletpoint.
Don’t worry about mistakes, grammar or even spelling.
It doesn’t matter if your sentences are a bit wonky and stunted at this stage.
It’s more important to focus on a good flow, and get the words out.
You’ll be going back over everything and rewriting, reordering and correcting during the next stage.
Here’s how Bob’s website bulletpoints turns into fleshed out copy.
Bob the Builder
Bob does high-quality building services for residential and commercial clients in the UK. We do big and small budget porch extensions and other services including large house extensions. We work in Glasgow and beyond, with extra special care for our customers. We’re professional and diligent. Remove the stress project management too. We have many happy clients. Contact us now.
Our Building Services
A range of building services to our clients across Glasgow and beyond:
Running out of space? Don’t move yet, get an extension instead. Traditional and modern styles. We do both Single story flat roof extensions, or garage conversion and more.
Step 5- Edit, Edit, Edit
This is arguable one of the most important stages of your content.
it’s also the most time-consuming.
Nobody can get it right the first time:
Even famous authors spend most of their time editing and rewriting their copy. Most even have another professional do it, to spot the mistakes they missed!
We’re not just looking for mistakes, with each pass we’re revising our work so that it reads better each time.
You probably don’t have that luxury, but it’s enough to make several passes yourself and revise your copy into something more polished.
Hopefully, you’ll find your copy starts to come to life at this stage.
My copy in the previous stage was full of mistakes, and was very short and stunted in terms of flow.
Now I’m going to rewrite, reorder and change bits so that the whole thing reads much more like a sales pitch.
Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder provides high-quality building services for both residential and commercial clients throughout the UK. Our projects range from small budget porch extensions all the way up to large house extensions. Bob the Builders operate from your base in Glasgow, and we handle your project with care and professional diligence at all times, and take the stress out of the process by managing your project from start to finish. Our many happy clients will attest that we go above and beyond to make sure you are satisfied. Contact us now for your free quotation.
Our Building Services
We provide a range of building services to our clients across Glasgow and beyond:
Are your growing out of your home? You don’t have to move just yet, with a high-quality house extension you can save money, and gain more space in your home. From traditional to modern, we can provide a house extension for all tastes. Whether you need a single story flat roof extensions, or a budget garage conversion, Bob the Builder can help you grow your home.
You can see the progression, and how the copy now resembles a real website.
Once this has been padded out with media and video, this content will look great!
Using your written content on your website
The 5 steps above should give you at least a great starting point for your website content.
Now we need to get your hard written content onto your website.
I say this to everyone in advance:
Don’t take it personally if I tweak or change some of your content.
I always use as much of it as I can but I will break some of it down, move some of it about, some of it will be on different pages than you expect, and some I will cut or change completely.
Don’t be alarmed when you see the website and your content is a little different!
I will always explain the reasons behind doing everything,
but it all basically comes down to what we call Conversion:
that is making a user on the site send you an enquiry email, or hire equipment online, that’s basically the whole purpose of the website!
Before users will contact you, or buy your services, first they must trust you enough to commit.
That’s where good copywriting shines. Good copywriting establishes trust and inspires action!
Different people will have different experiences with writing the content for their website. Some will hate it, some may enjoy the process of writing.
Everyone is different and has different aptitudes for writing.
Hopefully soon you’ll by tying away and your content will be finished in no time!
If writing really isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it!
You might have a partner or friend who can help you out.
I hope this article and the free download helps you get started with your website copywriting.
If that sounds far too much like hard work…
Design Hero can supply a Copywriter for whatever areas of the site you need, and can complement or adapt any copy you already have.
If you need help with copywriting service just give me a shout!
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