Writing website copy for your business can be a challenge. With constantly changing recommendations for SEO (search engine optimization) and the need to provide a modern and valuable experience for your website visitors, it can be hard to know where to begin.
This post covers four basic best practices to follow when planning and writing copy for your website. And while Google's recommendations for smaller search signals are always fluctuating, you can rest assured that these tips are in line with the bigger picture of how your customers search for, explore, and find businesses online.
1. Provide visitors with clear and concise information on your product and service pages
Of course, every webpage needs information. But the mistake many businesses make with webpage copy is that it’s unstructured information.
Structuring your information simply means consistently following the same pattern from page to page. This makes it easier for visitors to quickly make sense of each page and find the answers they're looking for.
A simple structure for information to cover on each page could be as follows:
- What - Many visitors will find your site by searching for a "problem" they're experiencing. Covering the what on the page is a way to grab search traffic and provide visitors with limited subject knowledge with a quick overview.
- How - What is your unique solution to the problem? The key here is focusing on how your solution benefits your customer. Don't talk excessively about your business or products; people just want to know whether you can help them.
- Proof - Why should the visitor take the next step with your business over others? Here is where you may want to showcase any before/after photos or testimonials from happy customers.
- Next Step - this portion of a page is deserving of its own section. Keep reading to learn more.
2. Include a clear next step for each page on your site
Every webpage you publish has a specific job to do. This is something to think about as you plan your website architecture as well as copy. For some pages, the next step would be to buy whatever is being offered. For others, it may be to sign up for a demo, or learn more about a particular topic.
While this doesn't have to be true in all cases, most next steps serve as a way for your business to generate leads. A gated content download, newsletter signup, or a demo form all serve as a way for your visitor to express further interest in your business and self-qualify while you collect their contact information, enabling you to reach out and provide further assistance.
Whatever your next step is, make sure that it is clearly displayed on the page. A button or text that stands out is the best way of achieving this (although, specifics can be different from business to business). You don't want visitors to have to hunt for the information they need or they’ll leave your site and find another solution.
3. Link when appropriate
While it's important to provide your visitors with an easy way to follow your expected path through your site with appropriate next steps clearly displayed on each page, it's also important to include relevant links within each page.
Text-based links not only help visitors find what they're looking for, but are also an important signal to search engines. Links are how search engines discover each page on your site and build a basic understanding of your business, enabling them to serve your site when searchers type in relevant queries.
It’s up to you whether these links open a new browser tab, but try to link within the same tab window when directing visitors to lead converting or landing pages to nudge visitors toward making a choice.
4. Use consistent styling
This recommendation is the visual best practice that goes along with structuring your website copy. Consistent use of headings, bullet points, page layout, and other visual aspects of a webpage makes everything easier for your visitors to find and digest.
If you can include keywords in headings, it can go a long way to letting search engines know what your page is about and who it's for. It also serves as a way for visitors to quickly orient themselves and read the sections that are important to them.
Keep text to a manageable length depending on the page purpose. Some pages are designed to provide visitors with a wealth of knowledge, like a pillar page. Other pages are simply meant to explain your products or services. The length of these pages is going to vary. And while it's important to include at least some copy on each page, make sure you're tailoring the length to the page's purpose. The same recommendation holds true for paragraph length within each page.