I’m so excited to introduce you to my industry pal and copywriting genius: Jessica Jordana! I reached out to Jessica to have her share her insight on DIY website copy to help you better connect with your ideal customer and convert.
I started following Jess early on in her biz. Something just drew me to her! And her entertaining Insta stories hooked me in for the long haul 😉 Just like her stories, this post does NOT disappoint. Buckle up and get a pen because Jess is serving up approachable advice to help you improve your website words right now!
I still remember the first time I wrote an About Page for a client*.
*in this instance, “client” means someone who paid me in a Starbucks gift card – basically college-student-Jess’s dream at the time.
I was like, OH NO PROB. Got this.
A sprinkle of picking up a camera as a teen here.
A dash of peach-o-ring and sweet tea obsession there.
A splash of her total #goals marriage…
Root it all in faith, love, and gratitude…
Needless to say, as a now-pro-copywriter, I’ve come a long way when it comes to writing words that don’t just fill space on a page, but that move people to ACTION. In other words, I write words that convert.
But, I’m thankful that I’m no stranger to the difficulty of writing website copy.
There’s so much that could go there, but what should?
Is it even possible to write a page without piecing together what you like from everyone else in your industry?
Today, I’m talking you through 3 ingredients your DIY website copy needs to truly shine, and I’m giving you some practical takeaways to get started crafting conversion-crushing words, PRONTO.
3 Essential Ingredients to DIY Your Website Copy
Ingredient #1: Put your value on paper.
If there’s nothing else you take away from this blog post, please remember this:
You’re not selling a package or a product; you’re selling value, benefit, transformation.
“The major value in life is not what you get, it’s what you become.” -Jim Rohn
Your entire website should be working to connect with the value your customer wants or needs. ONLY THEN can it convert.
So, how do you find your value? You’re probably gonna have to phone a friend, or a former client.
- What did it feel like to work with you?
- What did they end up with?
- What could they avoid (pain/inconvenience) because of working with you?
- What was the tipping point that made them click “buy?”
If you can, dig deeper than just saving time or money.
Write ALL OF IT down. Then, go back and trace the common threads to find pieces of the value you provide. Then you can weave that throughout the copy on your website.
Ingredient #2: Get your brand personality down.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your brand’s personality and your personality are synonymous.
I mean, how many times has that held you back?
My personality isn’t unique enough! I’m too normal (or too weird!).
Plus, how many times have you gone to write something for your website, an email broadcast, a blog post, a caption, and you sound like a total robot? (Instead of like someone cool who can do the robot – am I right?)
Let’s do ourselves a favor and step out of the mindset right now, because…
NEWSFLASH: Everyone online is building, curating, construction some kind of persona.
I’ll be the first to say your brand persona should contain authentic pieces of you, but in order to be intentional and consistent with what we create, we’ve gotta define those specific details.
So, in order to get that love of decaffeinated tea and corgis out of your brain and into the fabric of your actual brand, I suggest creating a Brand Message and Style Guide.
Think of this as a magical compilation of words for your brand on one Master Document.
This is the piece that lays the foundation for every single website copy (or even launch copy!) project with my one-on-one clients.
Open up a Google Doc and get started!
You might want to include:
- Mission Statement
- Vision Statement
- Unique Value Proposition
- Brand Dictionary (a.k.a. What you say + what you don’t say)
- Email Protocol (greetings, salutations, etc.)
- Content Categories
- On-Brand Humor (puns, jokes, memes – the fun stuff!)
- Style Choices (Do you have particular feelings about the Oxford comma? Do you use all caps? I DEFINITELY DO.)
- Audience Avatar Info (define those ideal clients in one place)
This is also an amazing tool if you have a team or plan to outsource anything. You’ll have one document that tells the story of your brand, just like magic.
Ingredient #3: Define your page goals.
Repeat after me:
“I will not use the text on my website as a dumping ground for information, or treat it as a retro mad-libs exercise.”
Did you repeat it? I’ll wait.
Now, I’m sure Megan will totes back me up on this one.
If you want your website to convert, you need to have a clear-cut goal for your page. Then you make sure all roads (a.k.a. All WORDS) lead there.
Let’s take the About Page example from earlier.
The general goal of an About Page is to establish authority and credibility. You need to paint yourself as the best and only solution to their problem.
Know what that means?
Your About Page is about them, not about you.
This goal helps guide the details we choose to share on any given page.
For the About Page, you can tell your story – but be sure to tell it in a way that your readers can see themselves hidden inside the carefully-told narrative. The best way to do that? Try pulling out universal feelings that lead to change, or universal lessons that come from parts of your story.
Individual details about you (like those crazy-long lists or infographics of “things I love”) should always help them picture you doing what you claim to do best. We talk more about this in my conversation with Davey Jones on the Brands that Book Podcast, but here are a few examples:
For me: Iced coffee is definitely what I’m most known for. Yes, I’m truly obsessed with iced coffee. However, I’ve chosen to share about that so much because it’s easy to remember, and easy for people to picture me writing away in my home office with a constant flow of a perfectly-chilled brew.
For my client, Jess: We shared “life lessons that changed [her] life” on her about page. This helps solidify her values, but it also helps to show what she hopes her clients and readers will start to believe, too.
For my client, Lauren: Instead of listing a bunch of things she’s done to gain credibility, we used one of those details to lead in to the rest of her story. Not everything belongs in a list or an infographic. Each piece of copy should work toward a common goal, and every sentence should make you want to read the next one. This little snippet does that so beautifully (if I do say so myself).
So, remember: “Infusing story” into your copy doesn’t mean you have to tell your entire life story from start to finish.
If you know your end goal on your services page is for them to purchase or book a consultation call, think backwards from there.
Make a list of things your prospect needs to know in order to get to that desired point.
How to reverse-engineer copy from a question:
- What does it look like to work with you?
- Can I really do that?
- Oh, I can come back to this later, right?
But, be sure you’re answering questions they actually have. They probably aren’t up at night wondering, “Do I get 30 or 40 high-resolution photos? Is it a wooden USB?”
Then after you have your list, drill down a little further. What’s their question? Why are they asking that?
All of these things are essential in making sure your website copy is working toward conversion, instead of just filling some pretty space.
What NOT to do for your DIY Website Copy
Don’t start from scratch.
I’m tellin’ you, the worst thing you can do when starting to write copy for a website is to start with a completely blank page, and expect to get it done in one sitting!
At the very least, start by outlining bullet points of “what” you need on the page. Then, walk away.
When you come back, fill in the most important copy first. Then, walk away.
When you come back again, build out the rest of the copy on your document.
Even better? Use my Promptlates (a DIY copy tool!) as training wheels – I’ve laid out the whole website copy creation process for you!
PS: Megan here. I’m an affiliate for Jess! I’m also a website conversion nerd and I’ve seen how in-depth the Promptlates are. They are such a helpful DIY copywriting tool to use when writing website copy to convert!
Don’t simply fill-in-the-blanks.
I know I said starting from scratch is the worst, but this is a close second. I’m all for website templates, but I think you’re doing yourself a disservice if you begin and end your copywriting in the backend of your website by just filling in the blank spaces with copy, or “reconstructing” what the template creators have there for you. This is the fastest way to website copy that is filling space instead of filling your pockets through conversion.
Don’t do copy “research” in your industry.
Remember, our customers are not in our industry.
Wanna make sure you’re not sounding like everyone else in your industry? Stop “just looking” at their websites! The best research you can do is FAR outside of your industry. Try to do real research. See what’s working for different industries and ask yourself how you can repurpose that idea or spin-off of it for your industry.
Plus, it’s important to remember that most of our customers are not in our industry. If we’re not careful, we become too steeped in jargon and “givens” of our industry, and our customers and clients end up totally stumped on our message as a whole.
I hope these 3 ingredients will help you totally crush that DIY website copy. Whether you’re refreshing, doing it for the first time, or burning it all down to start from scratch, just remember that focus, clarity, and intention (not a total information dump) is the name of the conversion game.