Building new websites is exciting, but often writing new copy is not.
For many people, writing the copy involves either painstakingly guessing what to write to fill up a blank screen, or ‘slapping something together’ from a few different sources.
If this is your situation, I’ve put together a series of three core steps which help me write copy that you can easily use too. No expertise required.
To write basic web page copy, the steps (all starting with P) are:
- Points. These are messages, USPs, facts, and details that you can use to explain your offering and influence your reader.
- Placement. Decide where to place those points in the overall layout and order of the page.
- Paragraphs. Write your paragraphs so that your points can be understood easily, and with influence.
Here is what I mean by each step in detail.
When I start writing a page, I begin with researching the client, customer, and their competition to start generating a range of points to communicate for a particular business.
I then consider the purpose of the page to come up with different points that can be added to the page to achieve its purpose.
For example, your points might include:
- Facts on how many clients your business has served, from industry, statistics etc
- % increases in results from client’s services, results details
- Names, types and details of service offerings or customers
- Client’s USP, positioning details
- Certain benefits of the service that appeal to customers
- Product features
These points will, of course, vary by the client, but also by the page. For example, points about a company’s culture will be needed for an about us page vs a contact us page.
Once you have these, you should have a fairly long list from which to ‘build’ your particular page.
Now that you have a series of points listed, (often the more the merrier) you can start building the page based on the layout provided.
(If there is no layout provided by a client, you will have to assume what these will be and create sections that make sense for that particular page. Simply create a list of labels for each section. This may be: Hero, Services, About, Testimonials, etc).
Take the points you drafted and start to think through, which point should be communicated where?
For example, you will easily include details on service offerings in the services offered section on a home page. Similarly, you may place the points of the client’s USP and target client in the hero section or main CTAs.
Note that you may not even use all the points. You will need to exercise judgment to know how many points to include for each section to ensure the messages you wish to convey are properly communicated.
Now that all your points have been reviewed as to where they will fit into your particular page, you can begin writing the content.
This is where your traditional writing skills will come into place.
For many, it is easily forgotten to write paragraphs or sections with a consistent logic such as:
- Topic sentence
But it makes all the difference.
Poorly structured paragraphs can make your copy both confusing and less compelling.
Also, consider following good practice in general copywriting. This includes:
- Use verbs and nouns
- Write conversationally vs formally (unless explicitly required)
- Don’t be too informal
- Remove fluff and unnecessary verbiage
- Cut cliches
- Be specific
- Use space
- Don’t use too-long sentences