10 practical tips to writing great website copy

Are you a solopreneur or small business owner?    Is there are a particular marketing problem that you struggle with?   Unsure how to write compelling content?  How to approach PR on a small budget?  Wondering which social media platforms work best for your business?  What is SEO?  What is a CTA?   Need help with the jargon?  How to increase your Twitter following?   The secret to writing a great blog? 

In this post we tackle the topic of website content creation.  Writing copy for your website can be a daunting task.  You have so many ideas in your head, but organising them and putting fingers to the keyboard is easier said than done.  However, it is a skill that can be mastered.  Here are my top 10 tips to writing good copy taking a user case from a wedding planner solopreneur, Ginny Bevan (weddingsatlakegarda.com) in Northern Italy.

1)    Storytelling: Tell a story and gain their interest.  Conjure up a scene in the reader’s head.  Give the reader personal and professional anecdotes that they can resonate with and smile and nod to whilst reading.   Create the experience.   Create the dream in their mind!
Here Ginny has done this quite nicely, by sharing her practical experience of wedding planning and also projecting the reader to the moment of their wedding reception on beautiful Lake Garda, surrounded by family and friends and a glass of prosecco to hand. 

 Conjure up a scene in the reader’s head. 

Conjure up a scene in the reader’s head. 

2) Be bold.  Be confident:   It is important to use a confident tone in your copy,  demonstrate authority in your field and say what you mean.   Less is more.   Use upbeat, concise sentences, avoid generalisations and unnecessary repetition.

Example: 
Before: 

“Within close proximity to all of our ceremony locations we can offer you a selection of carefully chosen venues for your wedding breakfast. Italy is renowned for its fabulous food and wine and so it is without doubt that any meal on Lake Garda will be delicious.”
After:
“Within a stone’s throw of all of our ceremony locations we provide a portfolio of personally handpicked venues to host wedding celebrations.  Italy is renowned worldwide for fabulous food and excellent wine so we can guarantee that you will be thoroughly spoilt for choice!"  
Tip:  Add some insights in local cuisine and specialities to underline your local expertise.   And link to your food and beverages section.
 

 Less is more.   Use upbeat, concise sentences

Less is more.   Use upbeat, concise sentences

3) Make the copy jump off the page.  Liven up your language with adjectives and colourful descriptive copy.  Use resources to hand such as your online thesaurus to do so.   Tease and seduce the reader!     
Example:
Before: “This is where our expertise and local knowledge will really help you find the perfect setting to enjoy your Wedding Breakfast. From Liberty villas to lakeside beaches, fine dining restaurants to rustic farms, open air castles to elegant yet understated “trattorias” there is an extensive choice of locations.”
After: “The pure natural beauty of the Lake Garda area brings to the table some stunning locations for truly unique wedding settings!   This is where our experience and local expertise comes into its own.  We have uncovered some veritable gems of locations over our years of wedding planning that truly deliver the wow factor!   From fabulous liberty style villas to picturesque lakeside resorts, haute cuisine restaurants to charming country farms, dreamy open-air castles to understated and authentic Italian trattorias.”   
Tip:  Add internal link to your Location venues as below and configure to open in a new window so the reader can return to current page.  Each page should have a minimum of two to four links so that it then becomes a layered resource.

4) Set the tone and demeanour of your brand
How do you want to represent your brand through your copy? Think about your target audience when determining your style, tone and demeanour of your written words.  Formal? Informal?  What is the purpose of your site in relation to the visitor?  To inform? To sell? To advise?  To entertain? To inspire?  
Ginny's home page sets a lovely tone and pace.  Friendly, business-like, self-assured and to the point.    Reaches out to the reader directly with the use of "you".  It's peppered with some nice teasers about the fabulous wedding venues on Lake Garda.   At this point I am interested enough to want to find out more.   
Tip:  Include a couple of CTA links to other relevant areas of site.
Read more about brand tone and demeanour

5) Write For Your Audience.   Make your copy relevant for them and inspire conviction in your brand/service.  Write in a tone that resonates with them.  If you are unfamiliar with your target audience then you need to do your due diligence and get researching.
Ginny does a great job of this in this section by underlining her knowledge of her target audience and local market when it comes to cuisine requirements. 

 Underline your expertise

Underline your expertise

Tip: Might be useful to add in something along the lines of "as our clientele is for the most part international or as we plan weddings for couples from overseas" to stress that this is your target market.

6) Make it easy for your reader
I particularly like how Ginny has branded her locations here in the sub-menu shown below.  By giving each venue a "personality" or "theme", the reader immediately gets a feel for each venue without having to dive in and read about each location.  This is key for potential customers that are not familiar with your product or service, in Ginny's case, Lake Garda.  
Tip:   Keep it consistent:  It would make sense to follow the same format for the bottom 3 locations too.

 Make it easy for your reader

Make it easy for your reader

7) Engage the user with Call to Actions.  These are key to encourage the visitor to stay on the site to browse further, directly engage with you and make a purchase or inquiry.
Tip:  Remove Just Click the Contact Us Link.   It is safe to assume that this target audience is Internet-savvy enough not to require instructions to “click on a link”   Use hyperlinked text or CTA buttons with a direct invitation to the reader to engage with you:  
Give us a call / Let’s chat / Follow us on FB /Subscribe to our blog/NL / Request a quote.   Make these CTAs simple to follow and execute for an optimum user experience.  Include a commitment to respond to inquiries within certain amount of hours/days.  

 Create engagement with Calls to Action

Create engagement with Calls to Action

8) Headers, Sub-headers and bullets:  are a tool for engagement.  They also break up long reams of text and give an “at a glance” insight to the reader of what your page is about whilst they skim down. .   Important also to remember to optimise content for mobile consumption.
Tip:  Highlight the sub-headers here or create bullet points:

 Break-up reams of text with bullets.  Optimise for mobile consumption

Break-up reams of text with bullets.  Optimise for mobile consumption

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