Have you ever tried to write copy for your website?
If so, chances are good you know how unbelievably frustrating it can be.
Even if you’re a skilled writer, there’s something crazy difficult about writing copy for your own business. All of sudden, it feels nearly impossible to find the right words to convey what you really want to say. It doesn’t take long to want to rip your hair out or take your frustration out on your laptop.
Never fear, a professional copywriter is here…to offer some copywriting advice. This particular advice, given by Dana Owens, one of our brandiD copywriters, is specifically geared toward writing your homepage copy—which is arguably the toughest page to write.
Here are Dana’s top tips:
1. Make a list of the key messages that need to be on your homepage.
Spend some time thinking about the messages that are important for your prospects to read upfront, right on your homepage. NOTE: This is NOT a long list of everything you want to tell your prospects, but the three or four key messages that are important to THEM, or make you unique among your competition. (If you’ve spent time uncovering your brand and pinpointing your differentiators, this step will be easy since you’ve already done the work!)
For example, one of our clients is a home builder. After talking through his brand strategy, the following key messages became clear for his homepage.
2. Rank your key messages in order of importance.
Take a look at your list of key messages and determine which one is the most important. It’s most likely the one that is the overarching theme of your business, or your most important value or benefit to your clients. Use this message as the basis for your “hero headline”—the first, most prominent headline on your homepage.
Then, rank the remaining key messages in order of importance to your ideal prospects. For our home builder client, that looked like this:
3. Write your headline and subheads.
With your key messages ranked, use them as the basis for your main headline and your subheads (the slightly less prominent headlines that start each new section of your homepage). You want to be as clear and succinct as possible, using as few words as you can while also clearly conveying the point you want to make. If you’ve really worked to define your key messages clearly, chances are you won’t need to alter the text all that much.
Here’s where we landed with the home builder:
4. Write short, supporting copy for your headline and subheads.
Now that you know your key messages and the headline and subheads that will start each section of your homepage, write a few lines to support each message. Again, focus on being clear and succinct, only writing what truly supports the message. Most of your website visitors will skip right over lengthy text, so keep things as brief as possible. Your goal is to create intrigue so they are motivated to click into the interior pages of your site to get more information.
5. Adjust as necessary.
There are no hard and fast rules for website copy, especially homepage copy. The most important thing is that you’re giving your prospects the key messages they need, so they know you understand their needs and have a solution that can help. If that means you need to group one or two key messages together under a subhead or need to switch around the order of your message hierarchy, so be it. The best thing about website copy is you can change and edit it as you need to—nothing is set in stone forever!
Well, there you have it!
Take advantage of Dana’s tips and writing your own copy will become a lot easier, a lot quicker, and will save you a ton of time and money, since you won’t be at risk for beating up your laptop! Happy writing!
Want to see how the final copy came out for our home builder client? You can view their website here.