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How to Write Website Copy

Writing website copy that informs and engages your audience is a crucial part of your action plan to launch or revamp your small business website. Once you’ve chosen a website template, website copywriting should be next on your to-do list. In this article, learn how to write website copy, what information should be on a website, and how to optimize your website for search engines.

What information should be on your website

Making a good first impression on your audience begins with good website copywriting. Before you even write your copy, set yourself up for success by deciding what to write and where to put it.

Start with your homepage

Your homepage should put your best foot forward. There are three core elements to your homepage content:

  • Define what you do and what you offer. What exactly is your business, and how does it benefit your audience? How do you stand out from competitors in your industry? Get straight to the point about your value proposition, and showcase what makes your business unique. 

  • Share social proof. Since people are more likely to trust the word of other people, not businesses, customer testimonials offer you credibility and can influence leads. 

  • Use call to actions (CTAs). Your website is a vital way to represent your brand and engage your audience, but the ultimate goal of your website copywriting is to drive actions, such as buying a product, scheduling an appointment, or signing up for your newsletter. Make sure you have clear CTAs throughout your site to help nudge your readers towards taking these actions.

Build your site header

Your site header is the navigation menu at the top of your website that stays the same regardless of which page you visit on the website. Elements of your site header should include: 

  • Your business name and/or logo

  • Social media icon links

  • CTA button

  • Links to all of the major pages that branch off from your homepage

Keep your header copy concise and straightforward. Remember that the goal is to make navigation intuitive for visitors, so label everything on the navigation menu with titles that clearly convey what your audience will find there. For example, label your blog as “Blog,” “News,” or something similar in your site header. Some people give their blog a name, like we have with Squarespace’s Making It, but your site’s navigation menu should simply say “Blog” regardless of the blog name. 

Identify which pages to create

In order to determine which pages will branch off of your site header, decide on the core pages of your website that will best support your business strategy. 

These pages will vary depending on your business, but your business website should at least include: 

  • About page. Instead of focusing on defining your business and value proposition like on your homepage, your About page is where your story should shine. It’s less about the what of the business and more about the why and how behind it. That could include: your founder backstory, achievements, relationship with your community, and the vision, mission, and values behind your business. 

  • Products or services page. Whether you sell physical products in an online shop or book services through an online scheduler, a page to showcase what you offer is integral to your business website. Include product or service details, and focus on how they benefit your audience.

  • Your blog. Determine the niche and goal of your blog, and make sure it’s easy to find in your site header. Hosting and consistently updating a blog directly on your business website helps search engines recognize your website as fresh, valuable content. 

  • Contact page. This is where you should highlight all of the methods of connecting with you that are available, such as social media profiles, email, and a contact form. If you frequently network or consult in addition to your main revenue stream, including an online scheduler as part of your contact methods is also a time-saver and helps you appear more approachable to your audience. 

Best practices for writing website copy

Once you’ve decided what you want to write about and where it lives on your website, it’s time to determine how to write your website copy in a way that makes your brand memorable and leads audiences to take action on your CTAs.

Define your brand voice

Your brand voice is essentially the personality behind the way you write copy. To define your brand voice, it helps to think of how you want your copy to make your audience feel when they engage with your business. For example, a shop that sells toys might have a playful or humorous voice, while a yoga studio might have a more gentle and supportive voice. It helps to brainstorm characteristics like those, and determine whether your brand voice is more casual or formal. 

Whatever you decide, make sure your brand voice reflects your values and connects with your target audience. Even if your voice is on the formal side, your copy should still feel human, not robotic. Lean into authenticity, and be consistent — your brand voice should align across all of your marketing channels.

Make your copy skimmable

The way you structure your copy impacts how it's received by your audience. Keep it simple and improve readability with these tips: 

  • Lead with the most important information at the beginning of paragraphs, then follow with details. That helps your audience find what they’re looking for more quickly, which can earn trust and influence how long they engage with your website. 

  • Use concise paragraphs. A general rule is to limit your paragraphs to five sentences, and your sentences to twenty words or fewer. 

  • Complement your copy with imagery to make the information easy to digest and bring your business to life. This tactic is especially useful on your homepage and About page.  

  • Wherever applicable, reduce text overwhelm for your audience by breaking up big blocks of copy. Utilize video, images, bullet lists, and negative space to improve readability. 

  • Categorized headings that clearly label and organize information also support skimmability and comprehension. The weight of your heading should descend throughout your copy (from H1 to H2 and so on). That helps both visitors and search engines navigate your website more easily. 

Optimize your website copy for search engines

Every Squarespace website is optimized for search engine indexing and includes keyword analytics tools to help you optimize for what your audience is looking for. In addition to SEO tools, there are steps you can take with your website copywriting to increase your website’s visibility and rank in search results. 

Do keyword research

How and where you include relevant keywords in your content is a critical part of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. A keyword is another way of describing the relevant terms that people search for when they’re looking for content or businesses like yours. 

Start by brainstorming a list of terms or phrases that people in your target audience might be searching for. Think about all aspects of your products, services, brand, and industry. For example, if you’re a ceramics studio in North Carolina, people in your area might search for something like “ceramics classes chapel hill.” 

Research your competitors to see what words or phrases they typically use, especially in page titles and subheadings. Once you’ve brainstormed an initial list, refine your keyword list by using free SEO tools. They can help to identify the keyword phrases that are most often searched for and terms that you’d be most likely to rank for in search results. 

Incorporate keywords into your copy

There’s no one right way to write website copy: You could start writing without keywords and edit them in later, or start with keyword research and build your copy from there. Either way, do not stuff your pages with keywords. Keyword stuffing refers to content that’s so overloaded with keywords, it’s unreadable. Your language and sentence structure should flow naturally and stay consistent with your brand voice, with keywords naturally woven into the copy. Include your primary keywords in the first sentence of each page, and build from there with secondary keywords or related topics.

Update your meta title and meta descriptions

Optimization doesn’t begin and end with keywords in your body copy. It’s just as important to include keywords in other aspects of your website, such as the URLs for your blog pages and your headings and subheadings. 

Your site title and meta descriptions are two more key parts of your website copy that you should optimize: 

  • Site title. Think of it as an anchor back to your homepage. Your site title appears on your site header, browser tabs, search engine results, and social media shares. You could make it the same as your business name or blog title, depending on your strategy. Either way, you can adjust how your site title appears in different spaces by editing its SEO title to include keywords. Essentially, that means your site title could appear one way on your website and another way on other results. 

  • Meta descriptions. Typically, when any page on your website appears in search results, the search engine will show copy that’s most relevant to the searcher’s keyword query. But if the search engine can’t find copy that’s relevant enough, they’ll show your site’s meta description instead. You can control the meta descriptions for each piece of your site, from the homepage to individual product pages to blog posts. Keep your meta descriptions succinct (50-300 characters). Like with the rest of your website copy, incorporate relevant keywords and focus on content that addresses the needs of your audience.

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