Lesson 3: Writing your Content
By this point, you have a sitemap, a mood board, and sketches of your website. Now we are going to tackle writing your content! After having created your wireframes, you should have a rough outline of what kind of copy you’ll need to craft for each section.
We’ve also included two resources to assist you in writing your copy. You'll need another 1-3 hours for this lesson, possibly longer if you don't feel confident writing your own copy.
In this lesson we will:
Step 1: Tips for writing copy
Here are some good rules to follow when it comes to writing copy:
1. Brand personality
For the majority of your website, you'll need to know what your brand personality and voice is. What type of language does your brand use? What voice does it speak in? We’re trying to set the tone so you know what direction to take your copy.
If it helps, consider the voice of your brand as a completely different person to yourself and create an avatar. Does your brand use slang? Is it formal, informal? It's crucial to know these things so that you have some guidelines when writing copy for your website.
For more on this, check out our brand personality blog post.
2. Make it concise, make it catchy!
When writing copy for your website, think about what purpose each section has. What is it there to do or say? Once you know this, it's much easier to prepare copy that will attract and convert because it will be in the right tone of voice for your brand personality and it has a purpose to it. By keeping things concise and catchy, it entices a visitor to want to know more but also allows them to get to the point quickly.
You’ll need to make sure each section of copy you write includes keywords. What do we mean by keywords? We mean any word that relates to your business and is going to be searched by a potential customer or client. For us, that's brand design, web design, Squarespace, etc. These words explain our services and when used throughout our website we know that anyone searching on Google will be more likely to find us.
Why do you need them? Keywords are important for SEO (search engine optimization). They'll get noticed by Google and pulled up whenever someone searches for something. So they're really important to include in any copy you write for your website! However, don't overdo it. 1-3 uses of a particular keyword per page is enough to do the job.
4. About pages/ personal bios
Pro tip: don't write in 3rd person! If your website is a personal site, or you have a small team, it's best to stick to the 1st person. Really, it's super weird going to websites that are clearly run by one person and seeing their bio in the 3rd person. We all know that they wrote that about themselves, so it feels fake and can make it hard to connect with the person behind the screen.
What you should do is write in a natural tone of voice that suits your brand and from the first person. Include lots of personal info (especially if you have an intro to yourself or your team/company on the homepage, which is perfect for a more formal introduction).
And by personal, we don't mean where you went to school and what you studied. Think about what you are passionate about! What tv shows do you watch? Give your visitors something to connect and relate to and help them get to know YOU, the real-life human being.
For more on this check out this blog post by Jenna Kutcher.
5. Get someone to review it!
Getting a second set of eyes (or more!) on the copy you've written for your website is the best way to ensure it makes sense, doesn't have any spelling mistakes, and really explains what it is you do or are offering. Run it past someone you know personally who might be your ideal client to get a really valuable perspective.
Step 2: Start writing your copy
Alright, time to grab your sitemap and wireframes sketch! You're gonna need it again when you write your copy! Every single word or image on your website needs to be considered beforehand so that you have the right tone of voice for your brand. This includes all text and other miscellaneous details, such as buttons or site banners.
Remember, as you're working on your content, it's not crucial that you have it perfect at this stage! In fact, it's better if you aren't completely married to it yet. Chances are, once you get to work on your website and see how the text flows or how much space you have on each page, you might end up cutting the amount of text down, moving it, or otherwise changing it. So start writing each piece of copy, but be prepared for it to change once we get back into Squarespace.
The easiest way to stay organized for this step is to use our template for writing copy! So head up to the resources, sign in to Google Docs and make a copy of your own that you can edit. (Even if you don't have a Google account, you can still use it as a guide for helping you write content.)
With that Goole Doc, you'll be able to start writing the copy for each individual page of your website. Go back to your sitemap as a reminder of what needs to be on each page - for example, you probably already know that your about page needs to include a 2-3 paragraph section about you, so write that in the Google Doc, plus any other info you need on that page.
To see an example of this in action, check out this Google Doc we set up for our clients - which only works because we know what information is needed on their website, but is something you can easily replicate!
This lesson in particular might take you a while but you are doing great!. So settle in and do the work friend, we'll see you in Lesson 4 when you're ready to move forward.