Website copywriting can make or break a business.
No, that’s not big talk. And if you think it is, you may be heading down the wrong path.
Think about it. Have you ever come across a website that seems to say a lot… and yet nothing at the same time?
Its design is slick and it’s filled with text. But nothing seems to speak out to you and you just can’t relate.
On the other hand, there are others that charm and lure you in like a manic moth to a flickering flame.
Why are you able to continue scrolling on some websites, while others do nothing but throw you off and make you want to exit out of there?
If it was all down to a difference in design, it’d be easy to spot and surely one of the first things you’d have noticed.
With website copywriting, however, it’s a lot more subtle. It’s also not easy to get right.
How hard can it be? It’s just writing, right? Anyone can do that.
If that thought’s gone through your mind, banish it immediately.
Website copywriting is an art that, though seemingly subtle, has a powerful and commanding force.
Whether you’re launching a website from scratch or are looking to revamp an existing one, you’ll want to read on.
In this post, we’ll not only talk about what website copywriting is, but also provide you with three of the most important website copywriting tips and best practices, supported by examples from top companies.
What is website copywriting?
Before we jump into the website copywriting tips and examples, let’s first dissect its meaning.
To do that, we’ll break it down to each individual word:
- Website: A collection of informational pages hosted on a domain and typically viewed on an online web browser.
- Copywriting: The process of writing copy, or text, with the use of words for advertising and/or marketing purposes.
In short, website copywriting is the creation and use of words as part of the production of digital content on a website to promote a company and its products.
Through well-written and captivating website copy, you can engage with website visitors on a deeper level and guide them to take certain actions (like signing up for a free trial, subscribing to a newsletter, etc.) so you can meet certain marketing and sales objectives.
From a business perspective, these objectives include raising brand awareness, increasing leads and conversions, and more.
Website copywriting is needed in every single marketing effort from product landing pages to lead generation campaigns.
Ultimately, your final goal is to get more sales and grow your business, and good website copywriting is an important cog of the entire process.
Types of website copywriting
Now then, where do copy go on websites?
The short answer is: everywhere.
Every single piece of text that you see on a website is essentially a copy. This goes for everything from relatively short ones like a two-word CTA or a website’s title to much longer ones like entire sentences or paragraphs on landing and product pages and even blog posts.
If we’re talking about the overarching category of online copywriting, it can even go beyond text you find on a website.
The weekly email newsletters you receive, social media posts you come across as you browse through your feed, and Google ads that appear on the top of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) also encompass online copywriting.
In this post, though, we’ll be focusing on short-form website copywriting you find on home pages and landing pages.
Let’s get straight to it.
Three best website copywriting tips (with examples)
1. Be persuasive and snappy: HubSpot
Because the goal of website copywriting is to encourage visitors to take a certain action, your copy must aim to persuade and convince.
To do that, you need to sell your company’s services by explaining their benefits and how they help to solve a problem for your readers.
The very first step of persuasive copywriting requires understanding your prospects’ needs and what they’re looking for.
In other words, you need to relate to your visitors and answer, from their perspective, the classic question: What’s in it for me?
To find an example of a company that uses persuasive website copywriting, look no further than one of the world’s leading sales and inbound marketing software company HubSpot.
With a product that targets businesses that are in the process of growth, their homepage starts with an eye-catching, bold copy: There’s a better way to grow.
It may just be six simple words. But what they’ve done here is put themselves in the shoes of their customers who are looking for a growth solution.
Anticipating the question that may be running through their minds, “Is there a more effective solution to the problems I’m facing with growing my business?” they’ve responded with a definite answer: Yes, there is.
They go on further by highlighting the range of services they offer and the advantages of using their bundled solutions.
Powerful alone. Better together.
What they’re trying to get at is that there’s strength in numbers. But hey, that’s a total cliché if we’ve ever heard one.
Instead of the old adage, HubSpot’s opted for two short sentences to present their entire stack of software available.
It’s snappy, succinct, and gets the message across efficiently — more so than “there’s strength in numbers.”
HubSpot’s persuasive copywriting also extends to their product pages.
Let’s take their CRM product page as an example.
The copy on there, The Free CRM With Something for Everyone, indicates that there are rewards to be reaped regardless of your position and role in the company, which eggs you on to give their product a try.
As an added plus, they even have sections dedicated to the different hats their users may wear: sales leaders, salespeople, marketers, customer service teams, operations managers, and business owners.
And while they’re at it, they’re also dispelling myths and objections about their product in their website copy, which adds another level of persuasion.
Think CRM software is about contact management? Think again.
Oh, we are.
2. Use the imperative: Instapage
Growing up, your parents may have taught you to ask, not demand. Although that still holds true for many of your relationships today, it’s one rule you’ll want to disregard for effective website copywriting.
The use of the imperative tense (in whatever language your copy may be in) is particularly important for shorter texts such as those used in the titles of value propositions sections and CTAs.
Value propositions are statements that prove your product’s worth to your prospects. They’re often found on a website’s homepage or product pages and tell viewers what you’ll be delivering and what they can expect from your product.
CTAs, or call-to-actions, is text (usually strategically placed) on a website that compels and encourages the visitor to carry out an action. Because they’re typically positioned within buttons, there’s not much space to play around with and any copy needs to be kept short.
The benefits of crafting your website copy in the imperative tense for your value propositions and CTAs are two-fold:
- It commands the viewer to act immediately. Unlike in real-life conversations where this may come across as confrontational and turn people away, this has the opposite effect in website copywriting.
- It eliminates the subject (you) in the sentence, which truncates the copy.
If anyone knows how to execute this well, it’s landing page creators Instapage.
As soon as you land on their homepage, you’re greeted by two two-word CTAs (with contrasting colours, too, which make them stand out even more).
Instead of asking, which would honestly be too kind for a CTA, they employ the imperative to urge their visitors to give their service a try.
And as you scroll down, you’re further greeted by short and commanding value propositions, one after another, each accompanied by its own equally compelling CTA.
3. More “you”, less “we”: N26
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is focusing too much on themselves instead of their customers.
It’s as big a turn off as going on a date and listening to the other party drone on and on about how great he/she is without being able to get a word in.
This “me” or “we” approach is counterproductive. It’s the worst way to try and sell or market a product because you’re talking about its technicalities instead of helping your prospect understand how it can help them solve a problem.
To avoid being the worst date in the world, talk more about the benefits your website visitors can get from using your product in your website copy (i.e., the “you” approach) instead of focusing on its features.
It may seem like there’s a very thin line separating the two, but it actually all boils down to perspective.
For example, if you’re a B2C company selling flowers, here’s how the “we” and “you” approaches would differ in your website copywriting:
- We: We sell fresh and seasonal flowers grown and picked locally.
- You: Surprise a loved one and make their day brighter with our fresh and seasonal flowers.
If you want a quick hack, simply approach it by writing more in the second person (you) than the first person (I, we).
The benefit of this “you” approach is that it brings the relationship with your readers down to a more personal level and connects with them better.
And just like on a date, posing more “you” questions or observations would make the other party feel more valued and special.
As an added plus, the word “you” actually ranks among the top ten words customers love to hear in their decision-making journey.
And that’s certainly a website copywriting approach that online bank N26 has adopted.
Already, It is a revolutionary product in and of itself. But N26 avoids talking about how amazing their product is and instead, highlights the advantages users can get when using it.
…lets you manage your bank account, spend and set money aside in real-time, 100% mobile.
Their copy is as clear as it can possibly get.
And what benefits do you, as an N26 customer get when you sign up?
A free account, a debit card, and relief that comes from knowing that you’re in full control of your money regardless of where you may be.
And hey, it sure looks like the company is maximising this approach as much as they can — they even have a product called “N26: You”!
Coincidence? Or a subtle marketing and copywriting tactic?
Final thoughts on website copywriting
We can think of no better way to emphasise the importance of good website copywriting than with this quote from American scholar Hamza Yusuf:
Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs.
Don’t think of website copywriting as a means to simply fill up a homepage or product page — this mentality will get you nowhere with your website.
Think of it as a way into the hearts of your clients to influence and guide their decision-making process.
Think of it as a powerful tool to convert them and, in turn, grow your business.
Website copywriting is more than just writing and words. It’s about communicating ideas, solutions, and though not rocket science, there is an art to it.
We hope these website copywriting tips have been helpful to you. There are certainly many more you can employ and loads more amazing examples to feature.
We’ve simply chosen what we consider to be the most important website copywriting tips and best examples so you know where to start and who to emulate.
Use these as the holy trinity of website copywriting and you’ll see be reaping the rewards in no time.