How to write good website copy

Website copy is the text on your site, whether that’s an introduction to your business, a description of your services, or a blog. Ensuring it’s well written and well structured is important for making sales, encouraging users to remain on your site for longer, and climbing the ladder of search rankings.

But what exactly is ‘good’ website copy, and how do you make sure you’re creating it?

Table of Contents

Content structure

Use headings and sub-headings

Website headings on the Charlotte Davies website

Headings and sub-headings help break up large chunks of text. That makes the whole page easier to read, and allows for skim-reading, contextualisation, and ease of understanding.

Studies show that users only read about 20% to 28% of a webpage, preferring instead to scan content to find what they’re looking for. They will pick out certain phrases and words to get the information required, and then move on, so it’s important to grab their attention.

Headings and sub-headings that use keywords and phrases help users quickly find the information they need. If they can’t find it quickly, then won’t stick around to read your 2,000-word page, they’ll simply move on to a competitor’s site.

Headings and sub-headings also play an important part in SEO by helping search engines understand the content of a page.

To use headings effectively, you need to understand how to use them.

When coded, a heading is surrounded by tags that look like this:

<h1>Your Title</h1>

A <h1> tag is Heading 1, <h2> is Heading 2, <h3> is Heading 3, and so on. For SEO purposes, you only really need to focus on headings 1 to 3.

In most website editors nowadays, you won’t have to add code, you just choose the correct heading from a menu, much like you would in a Word document.

Headings also follow a hierarchy, with H1 being the most important. When structuring your page, H2 headings are nested under H1 headings, and H3 headings are nested under H2. You generally shouldn’t have a H3 directly under a H1.

Another way to think about it is to have your page title as H1 and main topics under H2s. H3s are then used to break down the larger topics into sub-topics.

And remember, it may not always be necessary to use H3s, though you should always have one H1 (and no more than one), and generally at least one or two H2s.

Graphic showing structure of headers on a webpage.

Break down text into small paragraphs

Because users usually skim-read pages, they can more easily pick out desired information if you use shorter sentences and paragraphs. A huge block of text is also overwhelming, so dividing it into smaller chunks ensures website visitors are less likely to navigate away from a scary-looking page!

Appealing to your audience

Write for people, not search engines

Google has, for a long time, emphasised the need to create websites for people, not for search engines. That means your primary aim should be to make content that’s useful to your users, not to try and get the best possible ranking in search results pages. Focus on the first, and the second will come naturally.

When writing anything for your website, ask yourself this question:

“Am I writing this because I think it will get me onto the first page of Google, or because I think my website visitors will find it helpful?”

From writing informative text to helping a user more easily make a desired purchase, the customer should always come first.

Know your audience

Understanding your audience is vital for writing good website copy. If you create content as if you’re writing for PhD students, but your audience is mostly made up of people who didn’t go to university, then you’re not going to make many sales.

Knowing your audience means understanding what they like, their age, their family situation, their hobbies, their pain points, and more. By understanding these, you can write copy that is relatable to them, shows understanding, and is able to offer them what they need or want.

Highlight benefits and results

When it comes to selling, a lot of website copy talks about features:

This phone has rear camera specs of 108MP (wide) + 10MP (periscope, 10x optical) + 10MP (telephoto, 3x optical) + 12MP (ultrawide, 120-degree).

To many people, this means absolutely nothing. But if you explain the benefits of such a camera, then suddenly it becomes a lot more desirable.

This phone camera has an amazing zoom function that captures clear images of distant objects. Its image stabilisation means you no longer have to worry about blurry and unfocussed photos. Take great photos, even in low light to capture special evening moments.

Focus on the end result, help the customer picture how this purchase will make things better for them, and you’re much more likely to make a sale.

Keep intent in mind

Why is a user on your website? Before writing copy, consider questions such as:

  • What are they hoping to achieve by looking at this particular page?
  • Are they ready to buy?
  • Are they looking for information on a topic?

Answer these questions and you can write website copy that helps your users. It’s no good pushing a sale if the customer is only in the very early stages of research before they buy a product. At that point, they probably don’t even know exactly what they want.

By helping your users appropriately based on the stage they’re at in the decision-making process, you build trust and increase the chance of making a sale either now or down the line.

Include keywords

Google search query

Many users will land on your website by using search engines such as Google and Bing. They’ll type in a phrase (a keyword) and then click through to one or more of the websites that appear in the results.

By knowing what these search keywords are, you can incorporate them into your website copy. This will increase your chances of showing up in the search results, and help users pick out the information they are looking for.

Writing style

Add personality

There are a lot of websites out there and personality is one way each stands apart from competitors. Your own brand might come across as bubbly, meticulous, highly formal, or relaxed.

Personality can be anything, but make sure you share yours in your website copy so that you appeal to the right kind of audience.

When it comes to copy, personality comes from the words you use and the way you write. You can emphasise this through design and imagery, but consider carefully the phrases you use and how they come across. If you’re a small business or a one-man band, think about the phrasing and words you use in your everyday life. And, if you’ve done some good audience research, consider the type of words and phrases your audience uses too.

Don’t waffle

There’s a lot of SEO advice out there about how long your page copy should be. But, ultimately, it should be as long as it needs to be. If you have a lot of information to share about a topic, then a longer piece may be necessary. But don’t keep writing for the sake of a word count. This kind of waffle is boring to read, delays users finding useful information, and can put customers off.

If you have a page with a very small amount of text (less than 300 words), then it’s certainly worth exploring whether there’s more information to add. Or you may think about combining one page with another similar page.

Stop if you are:

  • Writing text for the sake of it
  • No longer adding any useful or interesting information
  • Repeating yourself
  • Going off-topic

Write naturally

Woman typing on a laptop

In the early days of SEO, search engines weren’t overly clever and text on a website was taken very literally. That meant you could simply list lots of keywords on your page and search engines would reward you with a high ranking.

However, Google – and other search engines – are now much cleverer and can better understand intention and context. While it’s still useful to include keywords, they should be incorporated naturally. If your text reads as if a robot has written it, then it won’t do well with either search engines or real users.

If you can’t find a way to incorporate a keyword naturally, then find another way of writing about the same subject.

For the keyword Windermere restaurant:

You might try writing:

Come and visit our Windermere restaurant,

It sounds a bit clunky and forced, doesn’t it? Instead try:

Come and visit our restaurant in Windermere.

Search engines are smart enough to understand that this means the same thing, so you don’t have to force the exact keyword into your copy.

Create a house style

A house style is a set of guidelines for writing copy for your brand, whether on your website or elsewhere. It’s particularly useful if you have more than one person writing for you, or if you outsource your copywriting. Even if you’re just a one-man-band, a house style will help you maintain focus and consistency across your writing.

Your house style should take into consideration your business personality, branding and audience. It can be quite detailed, including some common phrases that you may use on a regular basis.

Keep language simple

Though some brands will find it appropriate to use long, technical words, most will benefit more from using simpler language. Large, unfamiliar words can put off your audience if they don’t understand them or find them hard to read. So if you can replace one uncommon word with something more widely known, it’s often better to do so.

Before you publish

Add a call to action

A call to action (CTA) asks users to do something.

This could be anything from making a purchase, to signing up to a newsletter, to browsing your site further. So, while writing your copy, consider what steps you would like your user to take next, and include that as a CTA. Choose something appropriate based on user intent and the customer’s position in the sales funnel.

For example, a brand new user to your site isn’t likely to buy a high-value item when they are just currently looking for more information. So adding a ‘buy now’ CTA isn’t appropriate. Instead, direct them to a page with further relevant information to help them in the decision-making process.

Adding a CTA can be the difference between gaining a customer and losing them. Without, a user may think I’ll come back later, and then completely forget, or buy from a competitor. If they’ve found useful information on your page, though, and can immediately and easily take an action thanks to a carefully placed CTA, then you’re much more likely to gain a conversion.

Check spelling and grammar

Websites littered with poor grammar and spelling mistakes come across as unprofessional at best, and untrustworthy at worst. If spelling and grammar isn’t your strong point, have someone else look over your copy and correct any errors. You’ll make a much better first impression on your website visitors.

Proof read

Two women checking documents

Before hitting publish, proof read your copy. As well as spelling and grammar, proof reading will help you tidy up the text, remove duplicate information, sense check, and make any final adjustments.

It’s hard to proof read your own work, so if you can, ask someone to do it for you. If you don’t have anyone available, put it aside for a day and read through it again tomorrow. You’ll come to it with much fresher eyes and will be able to look at the text more objectively.

After you publish

Review and edit

Publishing isn’t the end. Things change – whether that’s the way people use your site, elements of your business, or popular opinion. All these can affect how successful your copy is, so it’s important to keep an eye on your page and how it performs.

Use tools such as Google Analytics to analyse traffic and user behaviour. If you see changes, then perhaps it’s time to revisit and edit the content. Even without a clear change in user behaviour, regularly revisiting your page helps you ensure all the information is up-to-date and correct. By doing this, you retain trustworthiness and authoritativeness.

A/B testing

No matter how well you know your business and your audience, some behaviours can surprise you. If you have a decent amount of traffic to your website, consider A/B testing your copy.

A/B testing involves trialling two (or more) different versions of the same thing to find which version resonates best with your audience. Usually, you would only change one particular element at a time, so that you can more accurately see what affects behaviour.

Try changing the wording on a CTA button, changing the location of the CTA, or re-ordering the sections of  your page.

To implement your test, choose two timeframes where you can expect similar behaviours and traffic levels to your site. Run a test in each time frame and then analyse the results with a tool such as Google Analytics.

The length of each test will be determined by the amount of traffic to your site. If you only have a handful of visitors each day, running the test for just a week won’t provide reliable results, so you will need to consider testing over a longer period.


Good copy is important for making sales, gaining customers and maintaining website traffic. While each business will have different requirements, there are a number of good practices that will work across the board. Remember to write for your audience, structure the text so its easy to scan, and proof read all you’ve written.

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