The Ultimate Guide to Website Copywriting in 2023

The best website copywriting is a mix of art and science.

It’s an art because it’s creative, but only some writers can be good copywriters. You need to use words in ways that make people want to read your content and stay on your site. You need to understand the art of persuasion and how to use it for business purposes.

It’s a science because there are rules and formulas you can use to make sure your copy works as well as it possibly can. The best way to learn these rules is through experience — writing lots of content and reading other people’s work.

If you’re new to copywriting or just looking for ways to improve what you’re already doing, here are some tips and formulas that will help.

Table of contents:

What is Website Copywriting?

Website copywriting is a vital part of your website’s success. It’s the words visitors are reading on your site that will make them stay or leave.

This means creating compelling headlines, sub-headlines, and descriptions for your products or services. It also means ensuring that every page on your website has a unique style so that people know they’re still inside your site and not elsewhere on the internet.

Website Copywriting Best Practices and Formulas (with Examples)

1. Drum up Desire

You can drum up the desire for your product or service by writing copy that paints a picture of how people will feel when they use it. This is especially important if you’re selling a product or service that people don’t need but want anyway. The idea of making a purchase is more exciting than actually making the purchase itself, so it’s important to make the prospect of buying irresistible.

When you write about what people get from using your product or service, use words that appeal to the senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell).

Take this description of a scent by the luxury hotel chain Aman, for instance, trying to drum up desire by evoking the smell in vivid detail.

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​Intense aromas of pine needles and juniper? Smouldering cedar and ciste labdanum?

Say no more…I am already convinced.

And that’s the point of copy like this: It appeals directly to your senses — sight, smell, and touch — to create an emotional connection between the product and the customer.

It’s not just about showing off your product or service’s attributes; it’s about getting inside your customer’s heads, where they’re longing for something, and you have it.

Annesa L Lacey, ghostwriter & website copywriter at A.L. Interpretations, offers her thoughts on what makes this a great website copywriting technique.

“Consumer behavior is often driven by emotions [E.g., desire, excitement, nostalgia, etc.] Appeal to emotions in your messaging to connect with consumers on a deeper level.

Say you’re in the market for a swimming pool installation. Which of the following messages stirs up desire?

1. Keep cool with a swimming pool! An awesome addition to your property while improving its value! Visit our website today for a free quote.
vs.
2. Aren’t you tired of the current state of your backyard keeping you from entertaining friends and family? A premium swimming pool installation is only a call [or click] away. We’ll bring an oasis to your backyard so you can keep fit [or chill n’ grill] in style. Snap your fingers [here] for your free quote!

Notice how much imagination the first message lacked? Notice the visual imagery within the second message? How about the psychological seed planted in the second message?

“Aren’t you tired of…?”

Who wouldn’t want an oasis in their backyard?”

2. Utilize the Inverted Pyramid Style of Writing

The Inverted Pyramid Style of writing is a simple concept that just means you should start with the most important information first and then work your way down to less important details.

For example, let’s say you’re writing an article about how to use Google Analytics. Instead of starting with an introduction about what Google Analytics is and why it matters, start with essential information: “You can use Google Analytics to track visitors’ behavior on your website.”

Then you can go into more detail about how it works, how long it takes, etc., etc., etc., until you’ve covered everything.

The inverted pyramid style has several benefits:

  • It makes your site easier to navigate for visitors who want to find specific information quickly.
  • It helps build trust with customers by giving them the information they need before asking them to buy something.
  • It provides more opportunities for your customers to learn about your business and its products and services without being bombarded with advertising copy or salesy language.

This writing method can engage readers from the beginning by offering key details of who, what, when, where, and how.

Look at how a blogger uses the inverted pyramid writing style. The title presents a lighthearted question that makes the reader curious.

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Then, the writer answers the initial question with a first sentence. The rest of the article answers other questions about the topic—who, what, when, and where.

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Finally, the author has included a call to action for readers to leave a comment and links to relevant blog posts.

3. Conduct Sufficient Keywords Research

When writing copy for a website, it’s important to understand the potential customers and what they are looking for. Conducting keyword research can help you write copy that resonates with your target audience. Keywords are the words and phrases potential customers search for online for products or services.

For example, if you were selling sunglasses, “sunglasses” would be a keyword because people interested in buying sunglasses would likely search for this term when looking for products or services.

While researching keywords, make sure you consider both broad and long-tailed keywords.

Broad keywords are generally more popular but may be less specific to your business; long-tailed keywords tend to be more specific but may not get as much traffic. As such, it’s important to find a balance between them, so you’re targeting both audiences effectively.

Here are some more tips to help you with conducting sufficient keyword research:

  • Check the top-ranking websites in Google. Take note of the keywords they use in their content, and consider how to incorporate them into your website copywriting.
  • Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest to find more keyword ideas. They provide insight into search volume, cost per click, and competition level of certain keywords.
  • Look at what other businesses in your industry are doing, and see if they are using any specific keywords in their content. You can use a keyword tool like Ahrefs or Semrush to uncover your competitors’ most popular keywords.

Jonathan Zacharias, the co-founder of GR0, an agency specializing in copywriting and SEO, also suggests conducting sufficient keyword research.

Zacharias says,

This practice comes from gaining a better understanding of what your target audience is searching for on Google. Having that information, as commonly searched words and phrases, you can better understand what kind of content to create.

Then, you can tailor your copywriting approach so that your website’s material resonates more with your audience.”

4. Stick With Positive Words

One thing that most people agree on is that you should use positive words in your copywriting. The logic goes like this: If you want people to buy something, you should use words that make them feel good about themselves and their choices.

So instead of “you need this,” say “you will benefit from this.” Instead of “you’ll be unhappy without this,” say “you’ll be happy with this.”

It’s based on the idea that negativity creates stress and anxiety, which makes us more likely to avoid things (which is why we hate going to the dentist).

Positive words have a more positive effect — they make us feel more relaxed and confident, which means we’re more likely to do what they suggest (like buy something). No wonder positive headlines result in a 10% increase in clicks from internet users.

Madhurima Halder, Content Manager at Recruit CRM, believes that it’s better to use positive words while writing for your website copy.

Halder says,

From my experience, using positive words in copywriting is preferable because negative ones may sound rude and off-putting.

Consider yourself a calm and composed negotiator while writing copies. Be optimistic. Give your customer options, self-assurance, and receptivity.

The ultimate method of writing terrific copy is to address the problem and provide its solutions with positive words.

For example, I did not say, “Don’t use negative words.” It should be noted that the words are “Stick With Positive Words.”

5. Try the “And So What?” Rule

Anders Thornild, Digital Marketing Manager at CyberPilot, claims that one of the best ways to improve your website copywriting is the “And so what?” rule.

“Every time you write something, you ask, “and so what?”

Then you elaborate on this in a new sentence and ask again: “And so what?” You rewrite it again and keep doing it until you get to the core of what you are trying to say.

This way, you force yourself away from your first draft until you reach your main point. This helps you understand what your reader needs to know and creates a simpler message focusing on value.”

After all, you can’t just write anything in your website copy. You need to tell the reader why they should be interested in what you’re saying and how it will benefit them.

For example: if you’re writing about how great your product is and how it’ll change your customer’s life, then you need to explain how it will do so. The best way is by giving examples of people who have used the product before and how it helped them.

Take this description by HubSpot:

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HubSpot doesn’t just promise an easy-to-use CRM. If they did, this would only satisfy our curiosity for a moment before we started asking ourselves all sorts of questions about how it actually works and why it’s so great.

To avoid that, they elaborate on what the product does and how it can benefit their target audience.

So, the next time you’re writing something for your site, stop and ask yourself, “and so what?” before moving on.

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If it doesn’t provide any valuable information or answer an important question, then cut it out.

If it does, then keep writing!

6. Structure Based on Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS)

The Structure Based on Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS) method is a powerful way to write website copy with a clear purpose, an identifiable audience, and a well-structured structure.

The problem is the thing that people want to solve. The agitation is why they don’t have it solved yet. The solution is how they can solve it.

It works like this:

  • Problem: Describe the problem that people have with your product or service, e.g., “We’re all wasting time on social media.”
  • Agitate: Explain why there’s an issue with what they’re doing or how they’re feeling now to illustrate why it’s important for them to fix this problem as soon as possible. E.g., “I never have time to do my hobby anymore because I’m always caught up in looking at other people’s photos.”
  • Solution: Explain how your product or service can help them achieve their goals by solving the problem you identified earlier. E.g., “Use our app to schedule posts for Facebook and Instagram so you can spend more time doing things that matter.”

Have a look at how the Problem Agitate Solution method looks in practice:

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The first question targets shy people who will answer yes to the question. Then they’ll be shocked by what happens next – but they won’t stay that way for long because the book “Insecure No More” will help them overcome their anxiety in just a month.

7. ​​Practice Good SEO With Internal Links

A website is only as good as its content and the words you use to describe your business. But how do you ensure that your website copywriting is optimized for search engines?

Internal linking is one way to improve SEO for your website.

Internal links are hyperlinks on your site that point to other pages within your website. When you link from page to page, it helps visitors navigate your site and stay on it longer.

It also helps search engines find more information about your business and rank it higher in SERPs (search engine results pages). This is because Google sees internal links as a sign of something valuable on those pages worth finding out about; this makes them more likely to be clicked on, giving them more weight when calculating rankings in SERPs.

As an experiment, OwnTheYard.com added 108 internal links to 47 articles.

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The site’s rankings increased 76.6% of the time, and 14.9% stayed the same. Only 8.5% saw a decrease in Google’s position after adding internal linking.

How to Write a Home Page

1. Identify your target audience and address them.

If you’re a small business, the first thing to do is identify your target audience.

Who are the people who will be reading the copy on your homepage?

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

Who are they? What is their age range? What gender? Are there any particular interests that might help you tailor your message to them?

Where do they live? What’s their income level? Are they in an urban or rural setting? Do they have kids or not? What’s their educational background and job title? Do they have any special needs (health issues, disabilities, etc.) that would require special attention in your messaging?

Why are they coming to this website in the first place? Is it for entertainment, shopping, or research purposes — or something else entirely?

For example, Mailchimp’s homepage copy is targeted at small business owners and entrepreneurs. It uses language that speaks to them, like “built for growing businesses.”

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The company also uses a conversational tone that feels friendly and approachable. It uses words like “you” and “your” throughout the copy, which makes it sound like this copy was written specifically for you (it wasn’t).

2. Write a one-sentence summary of your site’s purpose.

The first thing that should be on your page is a sentence or two describing what your site does. If there’s one thing you need to know about writing for the web, it’s that people are impatient and have short attention spans.

If they can’t figure out what your site is about in one or two sentences, they might leave and never come back.

So make sure that whatever you put on your home page is clear about what you do.

Here’s an example:

Homepage-example

It’s short, direct, and clear, with no jargon or buzzwords. It also doesn’t use a phrase like “we’re here to help” because that’s not a purpose. It’s a benefit; it tells people what they’ll get from using your product but not why they should buy from you.

Here are some tips for writing an excellent one-sentence summary:

  • Focus on benefits, not features: This is key! Don’t just list off all of the things that your company does. Instead, focus on what customers will get from those services or products.
  • Make it snappy: Keep it concise and easy to understand at a glance by using short sentences and easy-to-understand words like “you,” “us,” and “our.”
  • Use active verbs: The verb is the most important part of a sentence because it tells us what happened or will happen next in an action sequence. So make sure it’s an active verb like “helps” or “saves.” Avoid passive verbs like “is used by” or “was founded by.”
  • Be specific: Avoid generalizations like “Our goal is to provide great products at affordable prices.” Instead, be as specific as possible by using numbers or statistics (e.g., “We’ve sold over 5 million books”) or by stating exactly what you do (“We’re the leading provider of online pet supplies worldwide”).

3. Include your value proposition.

A value proposition is a promise to solve a customer’s problem. In other words, it’s the product or service you’re offering and how it solves the customer’s problem.

A good value proposition will answer these questions:

Why should I care about this?

Why should I buy from you?

What problem does your product solve?

Here are some tips to help you write a value proposition for your homepage copywriting:

  • Identify your target audience and their problems
  • Use the problem-solution formula
  • Create a catchy headline that conveys value
  • Explain why you are the best solution to the problem

4. Your homepage should focus on one thought or idea.

Your homepage should focus on one thought or idea. For example, if you’re a plumber, your homepage could be called “Plumbing Services” and explain that you do all kinds of plumbing work, such as installing toilets or fixing leaks. Or if you run a restaurant, your homepage could be called “Delicious Food” and explain that you serve pizza or burgers or both!

You can also use a visual element to make this clear – maybe put an image of pizza next to the word “Pizza” on the page title (if you’re selling pizza) or a photo of a leaky pipe next to “Leaks.”

5. Your homepage should at least have a single call to action that causes visitors to take action.

A call-to-action tells the visitor what they need to do next — whether that’s signing up for a newsletter or buying something online.

For example, if you’re selling a product or service, your call to action might be “Buy now.” If you’re hosting an event, it might be “Register now.” If you want people to sign up for your newsletter, it might be “Subscribe here.”

How to Write a Landing Page

1. Identify your audience and connect with them

Just like your homepage, to write a good landing page, you need to know who you’re writing for:

What are their biggest problems?

How does your product solve those problems?

What’s in it for them?

Who is this person?

What makes them tick?

How do they spend their time online?

To do that, figure out who’s already buying from you now. If they’re already buying from you now (whether they’re signed up for a free trial or not), they are likely part of your target market.

The bigger question is: Why did they buy in the first place? What made them make that decision? What motivated them? What was their pain point? What was their motivation for making that purchase?

These are all good questions that can help you identify the key messaging points for your landing page copy later on down the line when writing it up.

Here are a few more ways to do this:

  • Use web analytics to identify where your visitors come from.
  • Use social media to identify what they share and what they like.
  • Use Google Analytics or other analytics software to see how people interact with your content.
  • Conduct surveys and polls of your existing customers or members of your email list (or both!)

Bombas is an excellent example of how a brand can identify and speak to its audience. One interesting way they do this is by incorporating their audience into their mission statement. They talk about how donating socks on behalf of customers is a great idea and how other people are doing it too.

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Bombas appeals to its audience’s philanthropic sense and how the products they buy make an impact. Moreover, Bombas speak to their audience’s pain points – the small issues that consumers face when they talk about the product.

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2. Include a form to collect your contact information

To write a landing page, you need to gather some information from your visitors first. Some people may not want to give their names and contact information just yet, but they still want to know more about your product or service.

The best way to do that is by creating an opt-in form and placing it on your landing page.

So how do you get people to fill out your form?

The answer is simple: give them something valuable in exchange for their contact information.

For example, if you’re running an online store, you can offer a free e-book or coupon code when they sign up for your email list. Or, if you run an online course, you can provide access to a few extra training videos or a special Q&A session with one of your experts.

If you’re selling a physical product, you could offer a shipping discount or even give away some free samples.

Second, make sure your form fits in with the rest of your website design. Try not to use color or font styles that are too different from what you’ve used elsewhere on your website.

If you have multiple forms on your site, try using different colors or fonts, so they’re easy for visitors to identify as a form and not just part of your standard website design.

Most importantly, make the fields clear and concise. The more fields you have, the less likely people will fill them out. Don’t ask for unnecessary information – just what you need to get in touch with people.

Look at Braxted Park’s case study, for instance.

When they shortened their contact form, they saw a 54% increase in inquiries.

This is their original form:

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I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I’m intimidated by those form fields.

The new version looked like this:

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The original form was attractive but had 24 fields and asked for inappropriate details at the initial inquiry stage. They tweaked the layout, shortened the form, and then hid some fields using JavaScript.

3. Use testimonials on landing pages

Testimonials are one of the most powerful forms of social proof you can add to your website, and landing pages are no exception.

Testimonials on landing pages can help you better evaluate prospects’ decision-making process during the sales funnel.

For example, if someone is considering signing up for your newsletter and seeing a testimonial from someone who has already done so helps them make that decision, then it’s worth it.

For example, MarketerHire, a service provider that helps companies connect with marketers, displays testimonials on its site to show how it is addressing clients’ pain points.

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Knowing that many others have found MarketerHire to be a helpful tool can help you trust the service.

Here are some tips for using testimonials on landing pages:

  • Testimonials should be authentic
  • Make sure it’s easy for users to read the testimonial
  • Testimonials need to be from real people with real names and photos
  • Be sure that the person giving the testimonial is someone who has actually used your product or service — not just someone who works at your company or has visited once or twice.

4. Mention your unique selling points

The best way to make a landing page is to focus on what makes your business unique and different. What value can you offer that other businesses cannot? What are your USPs?

The best way to go about it is to write about benefits, not features.

Features are things that describe or explain a product or service, while benefits are what they do for people.

For example, “this smartphone has a 1-GHz processor” is a feature; “this smartphone allows you to do more with less lag time” is a benefit. The latter is much more likely to get someone interested in buying your phone than the former because it tells them what they can do with it and how it will make their life easier or better in some way. Focus on benefits instead of features when writing USPs for landing pages.

For instance, if you visit Saddleback Leather’s site, you will first notice their well-known tagline: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.”

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This message immediately appeals to the customer’s self-interest: The company’s products are so well-made that they will outlast their owner. At the same time, there’s a message referring directly to their 100-year warranty.

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Also, make sure your USP is specific and measurable.

Saying something like “we have great customer service” isn’t specific enough for readers to understand how great it is. Tell them how many calls you receive per day or how long it takes for customers to answer their questions.

5. Write a compelling headline

A good landing page headline can have a big impact on your conversion rates.

A good headline will:

Grab your visitor’s attention.

Make your offer very clear.

Give the customer a reason to act now (if it’s an offer or sale).

An effective headline is concise, persuasive, and relevant to the visitor. It should also be easy to understand and relate to the visitor’s needs and interests.

Now, instead of regurgitating the usual advice – use numbers, active verbs, etc. –here’s a guide to writing click-worthy headlines that includes advanced formulas, tips, and tools to help you write a winning headline.

6. Cite facts and figures often

If you’re writing a landing page, then you have to cite your sources. This is important because it gives credibility to your information.

For example, if you say that you have 20 years of experience in the field, then it would be better to cite this information’s source. This way, people will know that you’re not just making up things.

The same thing goes with statistics as well.

Suppose you want to write about how many people have been cured of cancer or heart disease by using a specific product or treatment. In that case, it’s best to cite the source of this information so that people can see the truth behind it themselves if they want to verify your claim.

In fact, 62% of US agency executives consider case studies to be the most effective content for generating leads.

Cite facts and figures often because they give credibility to whatever you’re trying to sell, whether it’s a product or service.

How to Write an About Page

If you’re running a business, your website is your virtual storefront. And if you want customers to take the time to come inside, then you need to give them a reason to stay and explore your products and services.

An About page is one way to do that – especially if it’s well-written and genuine. It also lets visitors know who they’re dealing with before making any purchases or signing up for any services.

Start by sharing your life story before starting a business, such as jobs you had or your work history – like Transferwise’s About Us page does.

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Here are some more tips to help you write an About page that will help visitors get insight into what makes your business unique:

  • Describe who you are and what makes your business unique. The voice of your website must match the tone of your writing elsewhere on the site – so if it sounds like you have a conversational tone in other parts of the site, ensure this section is also casual and friendly.
  • Give readers an idea of what they can expect from your piece of content, so they’ll know if it interests them.
  • Tell the story of how you came up with the idea for your website.

Most importantly, tell them why they should stick around for longer than just one pageview — don’t just send them on their way after reading this introduction!

How to Write a Pricing Page

A pricing page is more than just a list of prices. It’s a marketing tool that helps you sell more products and services. The key to writing an excellent pricing page is understanding your audience, knowing what they want, and giving it to them.

Pricing pages typically fall into two camps:

The “I’m clueless and offer everything in the world, so you can pay me whatever you want” camp. This is a great way to make money, but it doesn’t help you understand your customers or build a brand.

The “I’m an expert and know exactly what I want to charge for everything we do” camp. This is also a great way to make money, but it takes time to figure out what you want to charge for everything you do.

In between these two extremes lies a happy medium where you can offer multiple options with clear pricing and benefits for every one of them. You just need to know how to find that sweet spot.

Here are some tips for writing a pricing page that will help you find that sweet spot and convert customers:

  • Clearly explain what each tier offers and why it’s worth it.
  • Give examples of specific features and benefits that illustrate how each tier can help users achieve their goals.
  • Be as specific as possible about what is included in each tier (and why it matters)
  • Include testimonials from satisfied customers

It’s your turn now to convert visitors into customers!

Don’t underestimate the power of a good piece of copy. There are many great resources available on what to write and how to write it, but you also need to consider timing and SEO. Keep these key factors in mind as you put together your next piece of copy for any website, and you’ll be well on your way to better engagement.

Deepti Jain

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