Writing your website copy can feel like trying to put pieces of a GIANT puzzle together.
You want to share ALLLL the important info about your business — without it coming off messy or confusing.
If you’re finding yourself Googling things like “business website checklist,” “website copy best practices,” and “things to do before launching a website,” here’s a step-by-step small business website checklist to put your mind at ease…
…and help you write irresistible web copy.
Your 7-Step Copywriting Checklist
1. Dive Deep into Research
If there’s ONE thing that can help you write great copy, it’s doing research on your target audience.
When you dig deep into your audience’s pain points, desires, anxieties, fears, and dreams, you start speaking their language and make them connect to your brand EMOTIONALLY.
(Which is important because, according to the Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of buying decisions are emotional.)
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the best ways to do copywriting market research.
- Surveys and polls. You can do these on social media or send them to your email list. Focus on asking your audience open-ended psychographic questions that’ll give you insight into their deeper thoughts and motivations.
- Client interviews. Hop on a 20-30 minute call with a past client to tap deeper into their psyche. Record your call and let the conversation flow — tangents is where the BEST stuff comes up.
- Message mining. There’s a TON of important information you can find about your target audience online. Facebook groups, Reddit threads, and competitor websites are all great places to stalk 👀
Organize your market research data in a Google Sheet or a folder and have fun — the deeper you dive into it, the better!
2. Get Clear on Your Brand Messaging & Voice Framework
Before you start writing your website copy, you need to get clear on your brand identity basics.
Your brand messaging is how your brand establishes its personality and unique value proposition to form a deeper, more meaningful connection with your audience.
Ultimately, it’s a mix of a few different things, such as your brand mission, beliefs & values, brand story, and signature ways of using language to express these things in a unique way.
For example, look at Trader Joe’s.
It’s a large chain of over 530 grocery stores across the US — but they’ve created a cult-like following by positioning themselves as a neighborhood grocery store with a close-knit, cozy vibe.
People naturally gravitate toward compelling stories — so, make sure that yours comes through on your website.
3. Map Out Your Website Pages
To write quality content, you need to give your website a solid structure first.
How many pages your website needs varies from business to business, but the basics typically are:
- Homepage. This is a pretty obvious one — your website needs a main landing page that introduces your brand and navigates your visitors to all the different parts of your website.
- Services Page. Share more details about the services your business offers, such as different packages available and price points.
- About Page. People buy from brands that they feel connected to — use your About Page to build up that connection.
- Contact Page. Give your leads a clear way to get in touch with you, whether it’s through an application form or email address.
Your website may need more pages depending on how big your business is, but don’t overcomplicate it!
4. Outline Your Website Copy Sections
Once you create an overarching structure for your website, it’s time to do the same for each individual page — planning is king 😎
Here’s a sample content checklist for a website:
- Headline and call to action
- Explain why your business is different
- Direct to your services and/or products
- Introduce yourself
- Share testimonials
- Dive deeper into your unique value proposition
- Share info about each of your services with CTAs throughout
- Share testimonials
- Direct to your contact page
- Share your brand story
- Emphasize what makes your business unique
- Sprinkle in personality
- Share testimonials
- Direct with a CTA
- Headline (don’t just default to “get in touch” — be creative!)
- A few sentences explaining how your leads should contact you
- Application or contact form
Every website is unique, so play with this checklist and make it your own!
5. Don’t Forget about SEO
SEO — or search engine optimization — is an often-overlooked part of website launch checklists.
Optimizing your website for SEO will help it rank higher on search engines and bring more traffic in — so DON’T skip this step when you’re writing your website copy!
There are quite a few things that you can do to make sure your website’s SEO is on point:
- Use keywords in your copy. Before you start writing away, do some keyword research to figure out what kind of keywords your audience will use to find your website. Then, strategically sprinkle them throughout your copy, especially in headings and titles.
- Add alt text to your images. Alt text is an accessibility feature and having alt tags can help you rank higher on Google.
- Get technical. Optimizing your website for SEO also means making sure that everything on the backend is working smoothly, such as making sure your web pages are indexed, your URLs are optimized, and random broken links are not dragging you down.
As you grow your business, think about picking up blogging to regularly post SEO content and keep ranking higher and higher 💅
→ Need an SEO Copywriting Checklist for your website? Grab yours here!
6. Write Your Copy
It’s finally time to put ALLLL the puzzle pieces together…
…BUUT writing your own website can sometimes feel like you’re banging your head against a wall, so here are some of my best copywriting tips.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. You want your copy to be easy to read. So, write using simple, plain language — for example, go with “try” instead of “attempt.”
- Focus on benefits over features. People don’t buy services and products — they buy transformations and stories. Instead of giving a laundry list of every single feature of your service or product, focus on how they’re going to change your clients’ lives.
- Assume that not everything will be read. Your website visitors will most likely be scrolling — so, make sure that the important stuff is impossible to miss. A good exercise is reading only the headings of your website copy and seeing if your message comes through.
Give yourself plenty of time to edit and re-edit your draft — that’s when you write your best copy!
7. Stay Future-Focused
Being an entrepreneur means existing in a constant state of growth.
You don’t want to have to re-do your website every couple of months…
…so always have your future vision in mind when building a website.
What kind of a business do you want to run in a year? In three years?
You don’t need to have everyyy single little detail figured out to create a website for the future you, not just the current you.
Think about the messages that are foundational to your business — and channel them through your website copy.
Need Help with Website Copy?
Slade Copy House crafts words that make a difference for brands that do the same – check out our services!