Writing Website Copy: Why You Already Know How to Do It Well
Believe it or not, even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer, you’re a writer. How many emails and texts have you already sent today? How much time did you spend crafting that tweet? How you write the small things in your everyday life can help you understand how similar writing great website copy is to other types of writing. You know better than to send a text to your boss saying “omg, guess what?!” and you know better than to write an email that begins with a lengthy, unrelated soliloquy. This is because you can read your audience and you know how to keep someone’s attention with your writing. These, at their core, are the same principles of writing web copy.
First of All, What Is Website Copy?
Are you sitting here wondering, what is web copy? Well that’s a great question, and we’re glad you asked! Web copy, simply put, is writing created to elicit an action from a reader. This can be anything from on-page text, to blog posts, to social media. Web copy is meant to tell a story and, ultimately, persuade readers to take an action, whatever it may be.
Web copy is often confused with web content, which is a broader term that includes copy’s visual and auditory counterparts. Web content is described as anything encountered as part of the user experience online. This can be anything ranging from news, press releases, video transcripts, and manufacturer’s product descriptions.
Who Is the Target Audience?
Ah, the age-old question of copywriters – who are you writing to? Before you even begin writing website copy, you must know who you are writing it to and what you ultimately want them to do. Manipulative, right?
This is probably the same way you begin an email or other type of writing as well, though. If you are getting ready to write a memo or craft a text, you have a person in mind that this message is intended for and the purpose of that message. This is the same with web copy – write something that the reader will relate to and convey your message in a compelling way.
With web copy, you would begin by asking yourself, who would be interested in this product or service? For example, if you’re marketing a new, modern townhome development in a young, hip city, are you going to be targeting people 50+ years old? No, you’re going to target young adults. It all comes down to putting yourself in their shoes – if you were them, would you be convinced to take an action by the web copy you’re reading?
Know Your “Voice”
In web copy writing, your voice is essentially the personality of the brand. If your company was a person, do you know how they would take their coffee, what type of music they listen to, or even if they’re a cat or dog person? Personifying your brand may seem a bit odd at first, but will help you craft a consistent voice that is as unique and on-brand as possible. A good voice can help a brand seem approachable and familiar which, in turn, will attract more customers.
Your own “voice” varies in different circumstances as well. You wouldn’t speak the same way to your mom, your boss, and your best friend. You use a slightly different persona with everyone you talk to. Using a consistent voice helps you control the way that person sees you and interprets what it is that you’re saying.
Keeping the Reader’s Attention
One of the most difficult places to keep, and get, a reader’s attention is on social media. For anyone who tweets and uses Facebook, you know how difficult it can be to get those likes or re-tweets every time you make a post. Your goal with each passing interaction likely becomes, how can I be more interesting?
This is exactly the same with writing web copy. Whether your copy is informational, meant to sell a product, or explain a procedure, it must be able to keep a reader’s attention and, ultimately, take action.
Writing Website Copy and Other Types of Writing
When you find yourself struggling to know where to begin writing website copy, think about the basic principles you exercise when writing texts, emails, tweets, and everything else each day. Remember who you are speaking to, use a consistent persona, and most of all, know how to get and keep a reader’s attention!