We’ve all been there. You’ve got a website sitemap and mountains of copy to write for each page. You sit there staring at the blank page hoping that inspiration will hit you and all the copy will just flow onto the screen. But nothing happens, and the hours start wasting away – and before you know it your web designer is chasing up the new copy for your new website.
So how do you handle that when you hit that brick wall and where the heck do you get started? Lucky for you – we’ve put together this little guide to get you out of that content blackhole and to start producing website copy that hits the mark. Read on to find out more.
Before we get started…
Right, before you even get into the nitty gritty of the copy – make sure you know your brand voice. Brand voice is the distinct personality you take on with communications to your customers, and it matters because it helps you stand out from the crowd. This is so incredibly important to know when it comes to your website content, because it helps everything feel consistent throughout your website, letting it flow together and resonate with your target audience. See these tips for finding your brand voice.
Cool? Sorted? Ok let’s carry on.
Website Copy in 5 Easy Steps
Ok easy might be a bit of an oversell, but let’s just say it is easier than staring at a blank page! This is the process we follow to write new website content.
1. Determine the page’s goal
Ok so first things first – what do you actually want the page to achieve? What is its purpose for existing? By determining the goal of the page it will help you make decisions about what is required on the page and what the content should be.
Let’s use an example. Say you have an ‘About’ page on your website. Why do you have this page? To show your prospective customers who you are, what you believe, and why they should work with you. If we simplify that – Our ‘About’ page exists to show our authenticity to prospective customers.
Sometimes it helps to write out the page title and a short description of the page. Our example above doesn’t really require it as it is fairly simple, but if you are writing some more specific content, for example about a specific service or product offering – it would help to start to establish the page goal.
2. Work out the page layout
Great, so we’ve determined the goal of the page, now we need to work out how the page itself can support the goal. In broad terms, determine what is required on the page to be able to concisely support the goal and to provide the right information to the user.
So coming back to our ‘About’ page example, and wanting to show our authenticity to prospective customers, so to support that, we might need sections for the following:
- A small blurb with an introduction to the business
- A bit about our history and how we came to be
- An introduction to our team
- A section on our values and how they relate to what we do
- A call to action inviting our prospect for a coffee
As you can see we now have 5 distinct sections to the page, all of which support the goal.
3. Outline the content
The next step once we’ve got the sections worked out, is to start to put content into each section. The easiest way to do this is with simple bullet points – we’ve found this is always the best way to start to flesh out your content and helps break the barrier between thinking about content and actually writing the content.
Again, jumping back to our ‘About’ page example – lets use the history section as an example:
- Company founded in 2018
- The co-founders came from backgrounds in digital marketing & web design
- We started it because we had lots of customers asking for X service
- The co-founders were uni buddies
Whilst basic, this helps us to start to see a structure. Making it much easier to take the next step, instead of just reaching to put words on a page.
4. Fill in the gaps
Ok, now is the bit where we can start to pull it all together and fill in the gaps. Once you’ve got the content outlined it is much, much easier to bridge the bullet points together and start to work out sentences and paragraph structure.
Let’s take our bullet points from above, and turn them into individual sentences:
Company founded in 2018. The co-founders came from backgrounds in digital marketing & web design. We started it because we had lots of customers asking for X service. The co-founders were uni buddies.
Hmm, maybe we should restructure that a little bit so it works together:
The co-founders were uni buddies. The co-founders came from backgrounds in digital marketing & web design. We started it because we had lots of customers asking for X service. Company founded in 2018
Ok that is a little better, now lets flesh it out, and make it work as a paragraph:
Our co-founders, Bob and Joe first met in university. After uni they both went their separate ways, Bob chased a career in digital marketing, with Joe pursuing his creativity working in the web design industry. One sunny afternoon over an ice cold beer, Bob & Joe were catching up and talking about problems their clients were facing. Almost instantaneously, they both realised the need for X service, thus Company Name was born, with Bob & Joe reuniting to found the company in 2018.
#originstory – heck yeah.
5. Make sure it flows
The final step, once you’ve got all the different sections written, make sure they all work together. Put them in the correct order, make sure you have titles for each section and then read it out loud. Make corrections as you go, and read it out loud again. Rinse and repeat until it flows together.
If you don’t like reading it out loud, have someone else read it for you. Or even have a screen reader read it out.
Now divide and conquer!
Well done, you’ve done your first page – now start to work through your sitemap and before you know it you’ll have written a full website worth of copy!
Did you know?
Website copy is the number one thing that holds up web design projects – we always encourage our clients to get website copy first, as it makes sure the design of the website will reflect the story the copy is telling. We can help you with this as well, just get in touch.