Writing web copy is a skill that’s not easy to master. Good web copy will engage your customers and promote your brand without coming across as salesy. Striking a balance between being overly pushy and not mentioning your services at all can be difficult.
Naturally, you want to make a good impression, but you have limited time to do so. The Guardian found that people make judgments about others within a tenth of a second after meeting them. The same is true when people see a landing page, so learning how to write compelling web copy is a must.
We regularly help businesses craft web copy for their landing pages, so we know how challenging it can be to write it. In this blog post, we focus on web copy for landing pages because these are usually the first thing a customer sees when they visit your website (therefore, your landing page is especially important). The following tips, though, apply to any of your pages.
Do Your Research
Research is – or at least should be – the first step in any content creation process. You can search for tips on how to write web copy (perhaps that’s how you found this article), but you should also research your competitors.
What are other companies doing? What’s working for them? What’s not working for them? Is there something they’re not doing that you think should be done (e.g., have you found a gap in the market)? We’re not suggesting that you copy these companies – you shouldn’t – but taking some time to see what others are doing can make creating your own copy easier.
Create Customer Personas
After you’ve done some research, you’ll need to narrow down your customer base. To do this, you should create buyer personas. Buyer personas tell you who your target customer is, including their age, occupation, personality, social/economic background, and education. You might even give this persona a name.
Without buyer personas, your web copy and other marketing strategies will lack focus and clarity. You may already have buyer personas for your company, and if so, great! If you don’t, though, it’s a good idea to create them and, perhaps, create more than one. Should you need help, we have a blog on creating buyer personas.
Generate Ideas and Draft an Outline
Your research will have given you an idea of how other people are describing their companies on their landing pages. Now you should start thinking about what you need or want to say. You might already have some ideas, so write them down and attempt to generate more ideas. The more ideas you have, the better.
Mind maps or spider diagrams are great ways to organize your ideas, or you could write your thoughts on sticky notes and rearrange them as necessary. Once you have enough ideas, it’s time to write an outline. This puts all your thoughts in order, and from here, you can write your first draft.
Keep It Short and Simple
Your landing page might be one of the first impressions a customer has of your company, so you need to be careful about how you present yourself. Your copy should be accessible to as many people as possible. This means limiting the use of jargon and using language that the majority of people will understand.
You’ll also need to consider how long your web copy should be. Craft Copy says that website copy should be at least 300 words for SEO purposes, but longer is better. We’d like to add a caveat to this, though. If your web copy is so long that it bores your reader, then you need to shorten it. Doing so may take some experimentation until you get it right.
Use the Active Voice
When you’re writing your web copy, try as much as possible to use the active rather than the passive voice. Getting the hang of doing so can be tricky because we’re so used to using the passive voice, but it’s worth taking the time to learn, as it will make your writing more proactive and increase your chances of converting views into sales.
The simplest way to describe the active voice is that the subject of the sentence is the actor. In this example, the subject is “I”:
I read the book.
In the passive voice, the object (“book”) is the subject, and the actor (“me”) is passive:
The book was read by me.
A quick way to spot the passive voice is to look for a form of the verb “to be” (e.g., is/are, was/were) followed by a past participle. However, please note this is not the only way to construct the passive voice. You can read more about the active/passive voices here.
Be More Conversational
The other benefit of the active voice is that it will make your writing more conversational. But you should go further than this. Avoid jargon and overly complicated language so that as many readers as possible understand your business proposition.
Keeping the tone light but informative is the best way to attract and retain customers. You want to make your web copy feel like a conversation that’s engaging your readers instead of talking at them. Forge and Spark recommends 11 ways to do this, including telling a story, using contractions, and reading the copy aloud.
Edit Your Work
Before you publish your web copy, you should make sure to read through it, checking that the writing says what you want it to say and there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes. Ask yourself:
- Is the intended message clear?
- Does it make sense?
- Will it appeal to my target customer?
- Is the language appropriate for my target audience?
- Are there any spelling or grammatical mistakes?
Ideally, you should have someone different from the writer edit and proofread the website copy because they’ll be more objective. But whatever direction you decide to go in, make sure your copy is error-free.
Optimize Your SEO
SEO is vitally important for you to stand out in a crowded market, but knowing which techniques to use in a rapidly changing environment can be challenging. We recommend using the acronym EAT, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
In short, content creators should aim to compose content that demonstrates their knowledge, enhances their reputation, and builds trust with their audience. Using EAT will help attract visitors to your site and convert those visitors into customers.
It’s vitally important for companies to create compelling web copy that converts visitors into customers, especially since landing pages have only a tenth of a second to make a good impression.
Research your competition, create buyer personas, generate ideas, and draft an outline. When you create copy for your landing page, keep it short and simple, use the active voice, be conversational, edit your work, and optimize your SEO.
Want to learn more about writing great web copy? Check out our ultimate guide to writing web copy here.
What Can Proofed Do For You?
We’ve worked with over 1,000 businesses to help them finesse their writing. Our team of editors can help you create compelling web copy that turns visitors into customers. Schedule a call with us today!