How to Create Content for a Website: A Copywriter’s Guide


Draw from my personal experience of writing website copy for our clients’ projects to discover five steps for creating web content that resonates.

Stop typing for a hot minute and turn over your hand. See your fingertips? Each one is unique. Not just from your other fingers, but every fingertip on the planet. 

Now pick a colour. Imagine squeezing a droplet of paint from the tube in that same hue and pressing your fingertip into it. The print it leaves is yours. You. A mark of your identity, precise or smudged and resplendent in whichever tone from untold shades you’ve chosen to best reflect you.

Successful branding is your company’s fingerprint smeared in paint. A unique, identifiable stamp that is theirs alone. With its ridges and furrows, a brand can leave a mark exclusive to its parent company at a time when being able to differentiate your business and its offerings from those of your competitors is everything. 

As both a writer and a painter, I’m acutely aware of this when creating website copy for our clients. The words I choose to populate their web pages need to speak to their brands. Reinforce them. Further them. Your words, for your website, need to achieve the same.

It isn’t easy, but over the course of several projects I’ve devised a five-step framework — an outline, if you like — that I think will help. Read on to find out what those steps are and how you can follow them to create website copy that has your company’s brand all over it.

To learn more about copywriting 101, download your free copy of ‘The
Beginner’s Guide to Content Strategy and Implementation’, available now.  

 

 

 

How to create content for a website: a copywriter’s guide

Step one: conduct research

Website audit

I begin by conducting a visual audit of the client’s website – looking at the information they already have and analysing current content to discover if any of it can be used to inform my writing. I find that exploring brand websites in their original state can give me a good indication of where I will likely want to take the project (and the kind of things I don’t want to include), inspiring my writing from an early stage in the process.

 

The brand itself

After reviewing the client’s website, I will take part in a series of workshops designed to deep-dive into a client’s values and the content they’d like to see (i.e. specific product pages, their philosophy, sustainability efforts, careers page, etc.). We also discuss their overall goals for the project. 

As well as content workshops, I carry out interviews with individuals from across the client’s business so I can collect additional information and guidance in terms of brand best practices and dos and don’ts.

If you’re creating website content for your own business, these workshops and interviews are still important, helping you to understand your internal processes better and what the new website copy needs to communicate to effectively further your brand.

Client interviews were a key part of how we approached website content delivery for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks. Check out the full case story now.

 

Utilise your resources

If you’re lucky enough to be provided with resources (such as brochures, sales decks, presentations, eBooks, etc.), take a deep dive into that data as soon as you can. They might contain information about the brand’s history, its offerings, its identity (values, ideal tone of voice, etc.), a timeline, or simply general information about the company. This will help you to better understand your brand and will give you the opportunity to ask questions if there’s anything that you feel needs to be clarified.

 

Knowing your industry

Context is king. To put that another way, the more you know about your industry, the better. To write with as much relevance and credibility as possible, I carry out research on industry trends and investigate brands that operate in similar fields. This provides additional insights you may not otherwise have had. Of course, never be afraid to ask for clarification or additional information.

Related read: How to Scope Your CMS Website in 8 Steps 

 

Step two: define which pages you'll be writing


The research I conduct in step one helps to inform my prospective web pages. Of course, every web copywriting project will be different as writers, businesses, and clients will have unique processes, tactics, and goals. However, most brand pages will include a: 

  • Homepage 
  • About Us page
  • Feature-related page/s (product or service)
  • Contact Us page
  • Resources (eBooks, long-form guides, videos, blog page, etc.)

Many websites also include pages such as:

  • Careers/vacancies
  • FAQs
  • Testimonials or reviews
  • Privacy policy
  • Terms of service
  • News (press releases, company or industry-related updates)

It can be helpful to use a planned site map as a reference point, as this ensures you’ve covered all your bases. 

When I have clearly defined which pages I’ll be writing, I can begin to plan my content.

Related read: Helping Microgenetics Build a Website that Reflects their Brand 

 

Step three: plan your content

When you have a large website project to take on, it can feel overwhelming. Consider this metaphor: rather than looking at the entire staircase, take a look at the first step, and work your way up. As well as helping you to tackle several floors’ worth of content, this metaphor also relates nicely to writing web pages in order of their priority. 

I typically begin in the same way that I’ve laid out the pages in step one:

  1. Homepage 
  2. About Us page
  3. Feature-related page/s (product or service)
  4. Contact Us page
  5. Resources (eBooks, long-form guides, videos, blog page, etc.)

And then additional pages such as:

  1. Careers/vacancies
  2. FAQs
  3. Testimonials or reviews
  4. Privacy policy
  5. Terms of service
  6. News (press releases, company or industry-related updates)

When planning your content, it’s important to get to grips with what each webpage will likely entail. Let’s briefly go over the contents of the key areas:

 

Homepage

A homepage is typically the place where viewers first land. As such, it should include a snappy headline that displays the brand value. It should be clean, easy to read, and draw the reader in. This will, hopefully, keep them reading, so the next thing they’ll discover is a brief description of who you are, and the product or service that you offer. 

 

About Us page

Often, visitors are keen to know about the business itself. Can they relate to you, and is it clear what value you provide? Are you a faceless corporation or a sustainability-focused company, built with passion from the ground up? 

This page is ideal for building additional trust (that you, hopefully, cultivated on the homepage) and illustrating how you stand out from the competition. Many brands include a timeline or the history of their company on this page helping to communicate:

  • how they came about, i.e. did they spot a gap in the market, were their founders passionate about a particular topic?
  • how they’ve progressed over X amount of time
  • where they are now

And, possibly…

  • where they hope to be in the near and long-term future. 

Feature-related page/s (products or services)

Your product or services page should outline your offering(s). Provide a summary and then give additional details where necessary. This page can be as simple or extensive as you like. Just remember that readers of your website are there for a reason and will likely want to know exactly what they’re getting if they’re going to part with their money and/or time. 

Many brands provide a wide range of products and services that require extensive descriptions. In this case, it’s a good idea to dedicate separate sections or pages of your website to clearly present the details and advantages of your offerings.

Of course, if you market both products and services, you’ll be best served by two separate areas on your website.

Related read: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website with HubSpot's CMS Software? 

 

Contact Us page

Whilst this page is purely transactional, it’s essential to illuminate how prospects can contact you. You can include a form for them to fill out, your email address, social media accounts, phone number(s), and, if you like, your address, location, and business hours. 

This page also allows you to further influence the trust of your visitors, as many prospects and customers will want to know that you’re reachable. If a company is not easily reachable, it will not appear reputable.

 

Resources and content

Including resources on your website, such as blogs, case studies, eBooks, long-form guides, videos, and more, will work in your favour as they act as your very own marketing tool. Not only do resources and content provide the reader with valuable information alternative to what they’ve found on your website, but they’re a great way to drive traffic to your website, generating leads and business. 

Content pages work to give your brand a real voice — a place where you can clearly demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership, communicate your story, and engage with your audience.

 

Step four: create your content

Now you can put all of your hard work into practice. I typically have multiple documents housing the research I’ve done. I’ll have compiled notes that I’ve taken from content workshops, interviews, resources provided, and independent research, and expanded upon them in the relevant documents.

From here, I develop my own copy based on the information I’ve garnered to create effective, dynamic content for each web page. After creating the first draft, I send it to a colleague to proofread before sending it off for approval.

Related read: What to Expect When Working With Us on a CMS Project 

 

Step five: edit your writing

Once my writing has been internally proofread and sent to the client, they have the space to fill in any gaps. This might involve including specific data that hasn’t been mentioned in the interviews, workshops or resources, for example.

If you’re writing for your own business, this is the opportunity for your marketing manager or project lead to provide feedback on your first drafts.

Based on the feedback I receive at this stage, I might conduct further interviews for additional information or if additional web pages are required. Then, with the edits and further information provided, I can create a final draft before sending it off for final approval.

If you want a hardworking website that drives sales and increases revenue, you might be interested in learning more about our CMS optimisation service. 

 

The final stage of the website content project

At this point, once the content has been signed off by the client, it’s now out of my hands. Typically, the website designer I’m collaborating with will be in the picture from the start — so there’s no need to hand it over to them (unless you don’t share your content with the designers until it’s completely ready to be published). 

You can, if you like, go over the content one final time once it’s been uploaded to the website. However, if the designer has uploaded your content as it’s shown in your document, you’ll already know it’s fit for purpose and error-free, so there really shouldn’t be anything left for you to do except sit back and breathe in the brand you’ve helped bring to life!


At BabelQuest, we build unique websites that help our clients to generate business. To create a dynamic, valuable website, we use the growth-driven design approach, enabling you to optimise site performance and build your brand. Get in touch with us to learn more.

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