Great website copywriting has become an absolute necessity for successful website owners. Today, even search engines strongly emphasize content that engages, informs, and entertains. But how many times have you sat and stared at a blank page, wondering how exactly you should begin crafting content that people actually engage with?
In this article, we’ll share some tips on how you can be a stronger copywriter for your website.
What is Website Copywriting?
Copywriting is the act of arranging words in a way that makes things sell better. Think of copywriting as text sales – not that you’re selling text (although you could be) but that you are using text to sell your products.
Words are the most powerful tool you can wield, and when it comes to your website, words are the most critical part of your marketing. You want to use words to get people to take action after encountering those words you created.
Most people focus on advertising when thinking of copywriting, but copywriting encompasses so much more. Every piece of content you generate, whether to point to a specific brand or to build up customer or user engagement, that content is driving people to take an action.
How Do You Develop Website Copywriting Skills?
Copywriting is a craft that can make a lot of people feel lost. For some, starting with a blank page and trying to craft website copy from scratch mostly leads to checking social media notifications for the tenth time or deciding to re-organize that out-of-control desk.
“Maybe I’ll just run and grab some coffee, so I can finally get focused.”
Unfortunately, coffee is very rarely the solution to great website copywriting.
The reality is that, whether you’re working out new ways how to write a blog post, honing your email marketing campaign, or crafting a simple tagline, if you aren’t beginning the process with words already on the page, you probably have a difficult time getting going.
And that’s exactly where these ten copywriting tips for creating stronger content will help give you better direction. These tips will help you practice your words so that you can hone your copywriting skills.
What Is a Copywriting Exercise?
Think of copywriting exercises, kind of like warm-ups. However, rather than thinking that some jumping jacks or burpees are going to get the project moving, these exercises are short prompts that ease you into stronger, better, and, yes, even faster writing.
Get your copywriting targeted and focused. Sculpt your skills. Follow these exercises when you need a boost for your next project or when you’ve hit a wall that has you completely stuck.
10 Tips to Help Strengthen the Words
Whether you’re staring at a blank page or need to revisit a copywriting project that got the best of you, here are ten quick and easy exercises and tips to make website copywriting easier.
1. Write Down All of the Requirements
Why are you writing? What is the outcome you seek? Who is your target reader?
Most people trying to write website copy aren’t starting completely from scratch. You likely already have a medium and an overall topic and goal, but those focuses can get lost once the writing starts. Writing it all down in an easy-to-access location will help you keep the words on track.
Your goal may be to write an impactful headline for a Google Ad you want to place for your wedding services business. Or maybe you need to draft some new and exciting social media posts for the restaurant you own.
Perhaps you’re trying to write a long-form blog post all about copywriting exercises and how to create stronger content.
The point is that if you already know the medium (where the copy is going to be posted), the topic, and the ultimate goal, you should use that information to help get you started.
Does your copywriting project have target word counts or word restrictions? When it’s finished, will it be appearing on a blog, social media, product packaging, or sent to your email list?
Before you begin writing copy, jot these important details down at the top of your blank page so they’ll be at the forefront of your mind as you begin to craft the copy.
From there, you’ll more easily be able to begin identifying your audience, the purpose of what you’re writing, and the scope of the project. Write those things down at the top of the page as well.
You’ll now see that you’ve begun clearly outlining your project without trying. And you’ve even started copywriting without even realizing it.
2. Take Your Favorite Ad and Rewrite It
When you’re stuck, sometimes the best way to get started is to write something completely different. Is there a particular advertising campaign (like the Discovery Channel Song) that really intrigued you? How about a blog post that you always go back to for personal inspiration?
Do you have a favorite commercial that you find interesting, funny, and impactful?
A great exercise is to grab those examples of great copywriting, watch them, read them, and then work on rewriting them from scratch. Spend time reworking the entirety of the campaign so that it applies to you and your company.
Look at the best parts of a blog post, such as the:
- Overall structure
Then, spend a little time brainstorming how to reuse this same approach for your purposes.
Or, take your favorite commercial and rewrite it for your organization’s current service launch or newest product. Remember that rewriting is still writing. And there’s a very good chance that by performing this exercise, you’ll end up crafting something stronger than you could have done by working from scratch.
3. Draw Your Idea Or Copywriting Assignment
With this one, you’ll need to think a little bit outside the box.
You need to understand that not every copywriting exercise you do needs to include words. And there may be times when the copywriting project you’re working on isn’t as straightforward as a simple blog post. Sometimes you are going to have to think outside the box to craft your story.
Perhaps you’re writing a script for a 15-minute YouTube video that will be used to launch your newest and greatest product. Or maybe you’re working on some email marketing drafts for a new way to trade cryptocurrency.
For bigger projects such as these, which have many small pieces and even more moving parts, determining exactly where to begin writing is a huge challenge.
So what would be less challenging?
Spend some time drawing the structure of your assignment. This really does work.
When physically drawing out the structure, use various shapes that will represent individual pieces of the copy. Then arrange them in the order in which they will appear.
If you need to, simply grab a pair of scissors, cut out the shapes, and rearrange them as you go.
The visualization process of this exercise really does help to pin down the structure of your copy, which is a huge step in the right direction.
It turns out that drawing and writing love each other; according to folks over at The Conversation, writing helps improve your kids’ writing – and it will help you, too. Drawings make excellent first drafts for your copywriting creations.
4. Spending Ten Minutes Freewriting Helps the Website Copywriting Process
Are you finding that you just can’t seem to begin writing those important product descriptions or social media posts?
Instead of trying to push through only to end up with subpar copywriting, allow your brain to rest for a minute and spend time freewriting.
If you’re unfamiliar with freewriting, it’s a simple exercise consisting of timed continuous writing. And when you do it, there isn’t any oversight, rules, or feedback. It’s just you and the words that flow out of you.
This means that there’s no need to worry about your grammar. You also don’t need to stress out if you end up getting off-topic. Because the topic can go in any direction you’d like.
And, of course, there’s no need to show anyone your work. You don’t even need to look at it yourself ever again.
This idea was first promoted by a man named Peter Elbow back in the 1970s. And the practice found its way into schools and classrooms all over the country. This is because learning how to write is a very iterative process, and learning how to generate words without any feedback or oversight is an integral part of becoming a better writer.
And that’s why freewriting will help you create stronger website copywriting content.
Simply grab some paper and a pen (yes, we’re going to do this the old-fashioned way!), set your timer for ten minutes, and start writing about whatever you’d like without a rule to follow.
You’ll see how the process helps open you up to writing more freely and allows you to improve your productivity.
5. Find Data
Most of the best copywriting will require that you do some research. And all copywriting will benefit from finding data.
Take some time to study well-known industry sources on the topic you’re assigned to write. Check out threads on Twitter that are relevant to what you’re doing, talk to a few experts, then review what you’ve uncovered.
You’ll see that you’ll quickly begin to discover a lot of important data.
In many cases, this process of research will play a huge role in helping you write strong content. But the data you find doesn’t necessarily need to be included in the final piece of content. Simply having it in the background of your mind will make website copywriting much easier.
6. Skip the Intro For the Time Being
This concept mostly applies to long-form content, such as:
- Blog posts and articles
If you’re struggling to get the project started, skip right over your introduction paragraph and jump straight into the first topic you want to discuss.
Well-written and effective introductions do a few things that are important:
- They establish the overall tone of what’s coming in the content
- They introduce the topic in a punchy way
- They set reader expectations
If you’re writing an ebook to guide people through Google Merchant Center, for example, your intro would tell readers the topics that’ll be discussed, how these topics will be arranged, and what new information they’ll learn when they’re finished reading.
But before you’ve spent time writing the content, you really don’t have the answers you need to write a good intro. Rather than wasting time trying to craft your intro right away, skip it for now.
Then, go back and revisit it once the scope of the content is clear and has been completed. Your intro will be a no-brainer at that point.
7. Always Read Out Loud Everything You Write
Unless you’re crafting a YouTube video script or a podcast, you might forget that written marketing copy also needs to flow audibly. This is because when people read your writing, they hear your words internally as part of their personal inner speech.
This is known as subvocalization.
Because of this, it’s necessary always to read what you’ve written out loud. Then listen to how it sounds when you speak it.
Do you end up tripping over a few phrases?
Did you run into a string of words that didn’t sound right together? Or an embarrassing rhyme that you didn’t intend?
Did you have a difficult time following what you wrote?
If so, it’s time to head back for a rewrite.
8. Get Someone Else’s Opinion
Grab one of your coworkers or partners. Explain to them what your current project is.
Talking about it with someone else is the perfect way to determine how you can summarize and present ideas. Working together keeps you accountable and multiplies your idea pool. Once you hear from others, you’ll better understand how to approach the copy.
Also, listen to their ideas and suggestions with an open mind. You may discover that a different perspective will help trigger new ideas in your mind.
9. Summarize the Entire Project With One Sentence
This is one of the best exercises for getting unstuck and beginning a successful copywriting project.
First, think about what you’re writing, including the following:
Then, take what you know and summarize it all in one sentence.
When you do, make sure the sentence is concise, clear, and 100% accurate. If you’re struggling to get this done, it’s probably a sign that you’ll need to reconsider the project prior to beginning the copywriting.
10. Write a Horrible Initial Draft
There’s a saying in copywriting that holds true 100% of the time:
“You never need to be married to your first draft.”
In other words, there’s no need to commit to it. And there’s no reason you need to fall in love with it. In almost every case, you’ll need to revise your content after you edit it, anyway.
Even the copywriting you consider to be top-level likely had some horrible initial drafts before finding a groove. Allow yourself to begin with really bad ideas, then write blunt and to-the-point sentences that you wouldn’t ever consider publishing.
Use the draft to flush out ideas and get the ball rolling. Just make sure you remember to fully edit it down before hitting publish!
In this guide, we’ve talked about copywriting and shared some ideas for strengthening your copywriting skills.
If you’re writing a new piece of copy at the moment, you’ll probably need to write more again later. Save your time and energy by using these exercises and tips as often as you need to.
You are ready to build your website with a solid writing plan.
Each week, the team at iThemes team publishes new WordPress tutorials and resources, including the Weekly WordPress Vulnerability Report. Since 2008, iThemes has been dedicated to helping you build, maintain, and secure WordPress sites for yourself or for clients. Our mission? Make People’s Lives Awesome.