How to plan and write website language

Whether you’re developing a new website or revamping your existing site, spend some time writing effective text. Powerful language will complement the design and technological features of your website to give the viewer a more lasting impression.

Preparation

To begin, think about your viewers. Who are they and what else are they reading? This will help you write your website copy so that it stands out from online competition. Think about what you want viewers to know or believe about your company. This is your elevator speech put into written text. Then, decide what one action step you’d like viewers to take. You might want them to call you, send an e-mail or recommend your company to others. Choose which action step is most important to your business because you’ll want to remind viewers to do this multiple times across your website. Finally, decide on a tone of voice for your website copy. What makes sense for your industry and your individual personality?

Landing/home page

Visuals are important on your landing page so the copy needs to be short and sweet. Just one or two sentences describing your offering will be the most effective. Your logo and branding colours should be prominent. Less is more on this page. Viewers can click through to other sections to read further information about your company.

About

In this section, include background about your company including its origins and mission. Explain why you started the business and why you are qualified to provide what you’re selling. Establish your credibility by describing your qualifications and experience. This could be a place to describe how your company is different from competitors, if the differences relate to your background. Include your call to action (call, e-mail, etc) and relate it to finding out more about your experience.

Services/offering

This is where you show the reader exactly what you’re selling. Use lists, columns, buttons or other interesting formats to break up long text. If your list of services is very long, break it up into sub-sections with smaller components listed underneath. Make sure your offering is understandable to people outside of your specific industry; it’s ok to use simple language followed by a more specific product definition.  This section is another area where you can describe how your product is different from competitors. Again, include your call to action and relate it to the viewer’s need for what you’re selling.

What others say

Testimonials and quotes from existing clients make great selling points. These could be sprinkled throughout the other sections of the website, or you could gather them into their own area. Include photos of clients if you can. Don’t forget your call to action on this page as well.

Work samples/portfolio

Depending on what you’re selling, show viewers in this section some of the previous work you’ve done or other clients you’ve supported. Case studies work well as brief stories about how your product helped a client solve a problem or challenge. If appropriate, professional photos or images of your offering should be included. This is the place to demonstrate how your product or service has benefitted other clients. Make viewers want to join your impressive roster of clients. And remind them to get in touch through your call to action.

News/blog

While not essential, you might want to consider a section where you can post regular blogs, articles or other news pieces. This is your opportunity to show interest in industry trends, demonstrate your expertise and showcase your point of view. Despite my advice to clients, I took ages to commit to a blog! But I’ve learned that it needn’t be time-consuming or rigidly scheduled. If you’re unsure, ask your website designer to include a tab in the design but you don’t need to activate it until you’re ready. Your call to action belongs in this section as well.

Contact

Include your location, telephone number and e-mail address. My designer recommended a link to my Twitter account on this page so the website is regularly updating.

Remember that your website is your ‘shopfront’ so make it personable and welcoming. Try to be yourself in your copy. After all, the language is representing your company so it needs to be authentic. Finally, work with a website designer to really make the most of the latest technology and graphics. I’ve posted a few recommendations for friendly and professional designers here.

Happy writing and do let me know if you need help with your website copy!

What story is your website copy telling?

If you’re not convinced that your website copy is generating enough interest in your company, take a look and evaluate how persuasive it is.

Think about your target audience and make sure you are making compelling arguments about your product or service.

  • If your ideal customers read your website, would they engage with your business?
  • How much copy have you devoted to the technical features of your service or product?
  • Have you clearly communicated the emotive benefits of what you’re offering?
  • Watch out for lengthy blocks of text.
  • Don’t forget a call to action to help your reader connect with your company.

Assessing the language on your website gives you an opportunity to make it more powerful. Think of your website as your shopfront or online sales desk and make it work for you.

Get in touch for more suggestions to maximize your website language. And I’ll follow up with a list of recommended designers to help make your website visually appealing as well. It’s what you say AND how you say it, so get that website singing!