25 min read

How To Write Great Website Copy - Sharing Our Process

Anyone can write great website copy if they follow the right process. We outline the steps in this article.

Tim Davidson
Tim Davidson

Writing website copy - sharing our process

Writing compelling website copy is seriously hard stuff. It’s one of the pieces most businesses get wrong when they rebrand. Prioritizing a sleek and stylish website design is great, but if the copy sucks, an increase in conversion is unlikely.

Copywriting is one of those skills that seems easy because anyone can do it, but realistically it requires a ton of practice or a very intentional process and some patience to get right.

Coming into our rebranding, we knew that our existing copy was very poor. Potential clients were finding our site but weren’t sure if we could solve their problem. Our messaging was confusing and we weren’t clear on how we could help a visitor.

Worst of all, our copy committed the ultimate sin; it was all focused on us. We wanted to tell visitors what we could do, who we are and why we’re awesome. Visitors simply don’t care about you and your team, with the exception of figuring out if you can solve their problem.

Here’s a summary of the topics we cover in this rebranding series:

Why didn’t we get it right the first time?

For starters, no one on our team is a professional copywriter. So when we went to write our copy, we took a cowboy approach and slapped together what we thought sounded good.

To be fair, we took inspiration from a number of our competitors. The problem with that approach is that a lot of our competitors also had terrible copy.

The next problem with our approach was writing page-by-page across a period of months without a consistent theme or approach. We hadn’t really figured out our niche or who we were as a brand.

Follow this process to write great copy

Anyone can write great copy for their website with a bit of patience, a few hints and the process I’m about to unpack.

Step 1: Prepare your site’s wireframes

If you don’t already have wireframes prepared, go and read the previous article in this sequence that talks through website roadmapping and how to prepare wireframes<<article>>.

One of the most challenging things about writing copy for your new website is knowing how long headlines and body content should be. It’s easy to use too many words, cluttering up the design and hurting the readability of the site. Using the wireframe technique I described in the last article solves this problem because it comes with lorem ipsum headlines and descriptions.

Step 2: Prepare a new Google Doc titled “website copy”

Create a new document to host your draft copy.

Start by adding a H1 for “HOMEPAGE”. On this page, you’ll want to list out H2’s for each block of content; headlines, subheadlines, descriptions, button labels and anything else that contains text.

Step 3: Value propositions

Your copy should contain a scattering of the value propositions your company can bring to a customer.

A great process for figuring out your value propositions is to list all the bad alternatives to how you do business. For example, a bad alternative for our services would be “committing to a technology stack without understanding the options, their pros and cons”.

When you’ve got the poor alternative written out, simply state how your service does this better. Sticking with the example above; “Explore your technology options with help of experts who can point you to the stack that will be the best fit”.

Value proposition table
Value proposition table

Do this for every part of your offering until you’ve exhausted the list. I managed to list out 23 value propositions on my first try. I could probably stretch this to 40 now. This is a benchmark for you to shoot for.

Step 4: Start writing variations

The best way I’ve found to write copy that is compelling and catchy is to try a ton of variations. Before I landed on the primary headline for our website; “Outgrown Your Tech Stack? We Can Help”, I tried dozens of variations.

Writing lots of copy variations is the best way to find a winner
Writing lots of copy variations is the best way to find a winner

Mix in the most compelling value propositions from Step 3 into your headlines. Try writing the headline from the perspective of a customer. Avoid using terminology that focuses on your business, instead, try to highlight the user’s problem.

Step 5: Collaborate and vote on the best option

By the time you’ve written 30 variations for each headline, description, title, button field, etc, the words will all look the same. Picking the best phrase is a team activity. Grab someone else on your team, and who understands your business and get them to vote on the best three options in each set of your copy variations.

You’ll never really know which copy is the “best” without A/B testing it, and that can happen later down the line. For now, you need to feel confident that you’re picking the best copy possible.

Step 6: Complete all the pages across your site

Now that you’ve finished up the homepage copy and picked the winning variations, move on and repeat the process for every page across your site.

It takes time and can feel a bit daunting, but there are no shortcuts for writing compelling copy.

Step 7: Add your copy to the wireframes

The wireframes act as the source of truth for the final copy. When you’re happy with each block of copy, add it back into the wireframes.

You’ll probably find that some text is too long for the design. If this is the case, work on shortening the copy and being more concise with your wording. Don’t expect the design to accommodate long copy unless you’re writing a long-form sales page.

When all the wireframe pages have had their original lorem ipsum swapped out for real copy, you’re done!

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    Wrapping up

    I wish someone had explained this copywriting process to me before I started. It’s certainly not rocket science, but once I adopted the approach, our final copy was written in the space of a couple of weeks.

    This approach works best for a new project, but nothing is stopping you from using the same technique to rewrite your site’s existing content.

    What's next?

    The next part of our rebranding process focuses on researching our competitors to see what kind of design tricks and styles they are using in preparation for building our high-fidelity design.

    If you have any questions about this article, leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you in a few business days.

    Written by
    Tim Davidson

    Tim Davidson

    Tim is the face of the company. When you want to kick off a new project, or an update on your existing project, Tim is your man!

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