12 Website Copywriting Best Practices (for Startups)

by Gabe Arnold


You open up a new web page. You’re in the market for a new printer for your home office, so you type it into your search engine. You scroll down your search results page and click on one. It looks beautiful– but there’s no description or web copy on the product page.

Naturally, you exit out and find another company’s website that sells a printer. It has all of the specs and it tells you how its features turn into benefits for you.

What’s your next move? Do you go back to the original site and buy the printer that doesn’t tell you anything? Of course not. You go with the product that has website copy.

If you run a business or work for one as a copywriter, you know that you need copywriting to grow. As a startup, in particular, follow these 12 best practices. You’ll end up with an effective copy that reflects your core values.

How is Copywriting Done for the Web?

There’s an analogy we really like: “Your website is your 24/7 salesperson.”

Some people like to shop at 4 p.m. ET. Others prefer to shop at 2 a.m. MT when they can’t sleep. You don’t have sales reps working then to help everyone around the world. Your website must be available for your potential and existing customers.

Even if someone just wants to take a peek at your business, they come across your website. So it has to do its job as a virtual salesperson.

Oxford Languages defines copywriting as “the activity or occupation of writing the texts of advertisements or publicity material.”

Website copywriting, though, is when you write online material. This includes social media copy for posts and content for ads and marketing campaigns.

It’s not just a matter of writing a paragraph or two and posting it willy-nilly.

You have to use search engine optimization tactics, the right language and target audience research. You have to follow the right style guides and know everything your company sells. Web copy has to be compatible with all of your audience’s electronic devices.

Below, we give you more specific examples of how to put out excellent web copywriting. But for now, remember that this is key as a startup. You’re already entering a cutthroat marketplace. If you stand out with your website copywriting, you stay abreast of the competition.

What Makes Great Web Copy?

What’s the essence of great web copy?

First, it needs to be relatable. Nobody wants to read content that’s dry and confusing. And how do you know if your audience will relate? You need to know your ideal buyer persona. Also look at the data. It doesn’t lie.

Say your startup sells cutting-edge tech services or products. You probably don’t market to 84-year-old women who spend most of their free time crocheting.

So once you have a grasp on who’s in your niche market, write the web copy for them specifically.

Another general tip to keep in mind is that you want to engage your customers in conversation. Nobody likes to feel like you’re talking at them without listening to what they need.

Best Practices in Copywriting for Websites

We’re sure you already know, but Oxford Language’s literal definition of a startup is “a newly established business.”

New. Keep that word in mind. You need to stay up-to-date with your business and sales tactics. Website copywriting is one of the most important ways to do so.

Keep reading for the 12 websites copywriting best practices.

Write Like a Human, Don’t Be a Robot

You might remember a time where you stumbled across a promotional email that was so dry and unappealing, you immediately unsubscribed. We’ve all been there.

So don’t be that person. Don’t be that business.

With website copywriting, you have to see your target audience as more than a paycheck. Each customer is an individual person with individual desires.

You can write like a human through humor or creativity. If you have to use technical language, there are ways to do it without putting the crowd to sleep. Of course, if your company offers counseling for trauma victims, you don’t want to joke in your copy.

But give your brand and your copy a personality. Let it speak to how you can help them achieve their goals without boring them to death.

Consider Learning Instead of TeachingConsider Learning Instead of Teaching

We all had one: a kid in class growing up or a teacher who didn’t care about what you learned. They only cared that they got to teach.

You don’t want to repeat that know-it-all behavior with website copywriting.

Would you want to read what you write? Do you feel like you learn something from it? If not, they will realize that you don’t believe in your content. They might think you don’t care or didn’t absorb any of the material yourself.

When website copywriting, focus on the customer. Your content should give them relevant information that they want to learn. It shouldn’t come from a place of wanting to “teach a lesson.”

Turn Your Features Into Benefits

So you want to buy a new toolkit. The one you find online has sales copy, but it only tells you details like:

  • Comes in a hard plastic case
  • Every tool is separated by dividers
  • Rubber grips on the screwdrivers and hammer
  • We oil all of our tools

Great. So you know its features. You get that it comes in a container, isn’t a jumbled mess when it’s delivered and doesn’t have rust on its brand-new tools. That feels pretty standard.

But what if the copywriter did this instead:

  • Each tool comes in a hardy case. Now, you don’t have to worry about denting your toolkit or damaging its precious cargo!
  • No more rummaging through your old toolkit when you just want to get the job done. With our clear dividers, you know where to find all that you need– right away.
  • All of our best-selling tools have an ergonomic grip. Say goodbye to blisters and aches!
  • We hate screechy, rusty metal too. That’s why we use premium oil for all of our tools.

See how they turned features into benefits?

Use Customer-Centric Statements Like “You” or “Your”

When a web copywriter doesn’t talk to you, it feels like they don’t care. All you hear is self-centered statements that you can’t relate to.

Using words like “you” or “your” includes your audience in your website copywriting. To the reader, it feels like whatever you’re selling benefits them personally.

Look Into the Details

Where are most of the details in your web copy? Do they land at the bottom of the page or is the bulk in the middle? Hopefully neither.

Put the important details of your product or service in the beginning. Refer to stats or product details that drive your point home at the top of the page.

Use Active Voice

Passive voice is brutal. Active voice, on the other hand, does just what it sounds like. It drives action.

Do you want your customers to act now? If you want to succeed in your marketplace, the answer is yes.

The best copywriting examples use active voice. It tells the world that you can see them making a choice. Then, they see themselves making that choice too.

If you want it to happen now, say that it’s happening now.

Do Not Forget the Hyperlinks Within Your Copy

Do Not Forget the Hyperlinks Within Your Copy

You want your website users to have a smooth experience. Nobody wants to challenge themselves when they browse online. The advent of the Internet was supposed to make things easier, not harder.

When you use hyperlinks with your website copywriting, you value simplicity. Your readers don’t want to do the work that you’re supposed to do for them in the first place.

A hyperlink means that a reader can tap their finger and have way more relevant information. Hyperlinks also prove that you do your research. That shows you are a trustworthy and reliable source.

Experiment With Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks can also boost traffic to your own website. Don’t just use external information from your competitors. Hyperlink your original pages into copy.

And understand that you need to fiddle with hyperlinks. If you have too many, your search engine flags you. If you have too little, you won’t get the right amount of traffic.

Be Specific But Simple With Words

We know. Specific and simple?

But it’s true. Effective website copywriting does both. You have to use words that mean what they say. You want readers to visualize what you tell them. Your words must appeal to what they want and need.

Don’t use flowery language when you do it, though. You want to evoke emotion, not confuse your audience.

For example, there’s a difference between the words “pedagogic” and “educational.” Sure, they have the same basic definition. But why would you say a word that a lot of people don’t know when the other one has the same effect?

Use Headlines That Grab Attention

Headlines matter.

Let’s be simple here. Sloppy ones that don’t hint at the content are useless. Tight, direct and accurate headlines prove fruitful.

Your headline is usually your customer’s first taste of your website copywriting. So make it count.

Maximize Your Copy Skim ValueMaximize Your Copy’s Skim Value

Do you know any speed readers? The best speed readers know how to find the right content. That’s because it’s easier to glance over something that’s broken up into subsections. You still absorb all of the content without wasting time.

Your web copy should have a high skim value. Use subheadings to ensure your content is easy for customers to skim over and still remember the important information.

Create Promos and Limited Offers

Active voice makes consumers want to act now. Promos and limited offers make them want to act right now.

Everyone recognizes a sense of urgency. Imagine that one of your company promos is only for a limited time. Customers want to buy your product or service before the time is up.

You can’t get around the facts. Your startup needs copywriting services. In particular, you need SEO copywriting services to appeal to your niche market.

No matter what your website copywriting needs are, Copywriter Today is here to help. We have a team of skilled writers who cater to your business. We want what’s best for you. Luckily, we know how to deliver what’s best for you, too.

Check out what our clients say about our services. When you’re ready to succeed like them, we’re ready to get you there. Schedule a free consultation today.

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