Today we’re going to talk about a part of your small business website that can feel daunting—writing. Your website needs to tell your visitors who you are, what you do, and why they should become customers.
First, let’s look at the two types of writing you find on most websites. There is copy, and there is content. Though you’ll hear those terms used interchangeably, they are two different types of writing.
Copy is the writing that sells. Copy is short and snappy, with carefully chosen words and phrases. Your copy is what makes your visitors want to click a link or fill out a form.
One of the main places you’ll see copy on a website is on the homepage. Calls to action, slogans, and headlines are just a few examples. Depending on the format of your homepage, it might have only one or two sections of copy or it might have half a dozen.
Content is the rest of the writing on your small business website. It tells your customers about your business, your history, your products, and more. All websites have content. Privacy statements, shipping and returns policies, and product descriptions are all content.
Many websites have what you might think of as more traditional content. Blog posts, articles, and informative writing about your business or products. Content also comes in more than one form. Images, videos, podcasts, and other media are valuable forms of content.
Now that you know the difference between copy and content, let’s talk about what you need on your website.
Copywriting is an art. Choosing the right words and phrases to persuade a visitor to become a customer takes time and research. So we aren’t going to talk today about how to write copy. We’re going to talk about where it goes and what it does.
Copy takes the form of headlines, banners, product names, and more. These short pieces of writing cover simple, basic aspects of your business. You need to tell your visitor who you are, what you do, and why they should choose your company.
You may choose to use persuasive copy in the form of a slogan, a list of bullet points, or headlines and sub-headlines. Copy is big and bold. It stands out so it’s easy for your visitors to scan a page and know what it’s about.
Because copy can be tricky, work with someone who has copywriting experience. They will help you determine which words and phrases are most important to include in your copy.
Your web developer can help you decide how to present your copy. It needs to be prominent but it also has to work with the overall site design.
The essentials of good copy include keeping it short, focusing on the customer, and clearly stating what your small business has to offer.
Once your copy grabs the attention of your visitor, your content fills them in on the details. For every headline that makes a visitor curious, there should be a paragraph of content that explains why they should stick around.
You can find boilerplate privacy policies online, but pass them by your lawyer to make sure your website is in compliance with all privacy regulations. Regulations differ depending on where you’re located and the type of website or small business you own.
Have your web developer show you some different types of contact forms. This is a place for simplicity. You want your customers to be able to reach you as quickly and conveniently as possible.
Product and service information will be on your homepage and the interior pages of your site. Remember to keep these paragraphs focused on the customer and what your business does for them.
Another page of content your website should have is an About Us page. We’ve talked before about the importance of these pages. They are where your customers begin to know who you are and how you run your business.
Many small business websites also add content regularly in the form of a blog, a news or events page, or informational articles. This is a place for your customers to find out what’s new at your business or learn more about your industry.
Blog posts, articles, videos, and images are often the content from your website that gets shared on social media.
Who Writes Your Copy and Content?
Some people write their copy and content, others choose to work with professional copywriters and content producers. If your website developer offers writing services, they’ll help integrate your copy, content, and design into a cohesive whole. (Quick tip: Farewell Media provides this service)
You may want to have a copywriter help you with your main site pages and write the blog yourself. Blogs tend to be less formal and can be made friendly to both customers and search engines.
It’s still a good idea to have someone with experience help you get started with your blog. Learning basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will help you make the most of the content you write.
There are a lot of people out there who will tell you what you must or must not write on your website. Find someone you trust to help you navigate the big stuff – the copy and content on the main pages of your website. There are many resources on outsourcing web development projects, including writing, online.
But also remember that the website ultimately reflects you and your small business. The writing should be true to your values and practices and speak to your visitors. You may discover that you love to connect with customers through blog posts or videos.
There’s no such thing as copy or content that can’t be changed. The information on your site should change as your business grows, guidelines change, and you discover what works best for you and your customers.