April 11, 2022
It’s one of the most important aspects of a marketing strategy, and one that I’ve barely talked about yet: WEBSITE COPYWRITING.
You could shell out thousands of dollars working with the very best brand & web designer for your niche, but without high-converting web copy? You still may not sell your sh*t.
“But Sarah, I thought all you need is a beautiful website?”
Design attracts the right people and builds trust, which are both essential to any sustainable business. But copy? Copy sells.
Allow me to set the scene….
Picture this: it was early 2020, the lockdown days. I hadn’t yet discovered website design as a viable career path (or that it was a skill I even possessed), so I was helping my artist friends write & design their resumés as a way to help my artist community in crisis.
I built a web page on my actor website for my newfound resumé work, and had to do it quickly. It was not cute. I wasn’t focused on the design of it at all.
But the copy? It was good.
(Fun fact: after theatre conservatory I went back to college for a year to study nonfiction writing, so it’s kind of funny that I didn’t become a copywriter instead of a designer. But I digress.)
The copy was good, the design was okay, and I sold out 15 spots in less than 24 hours.
Website Copywriting Sells
Design is important. But design without great copywriting? You might make a few sales, but true sustainability is in the words, bb.
So, without further ado, here are 4 website copywriting mistakes to avoid—and how to fix them if you’re making one of these mistakes without even knowing it.
Mistake #1—Trying to Appeal to the Masses
The biggest mistake I see in website copywriting is trying to appeal to the masses.
Hate to break it to you, bestie, but unless you’re running Amazon, Apple, or Google, you simply won’t be liked by everyone.
(And tbh, even Amazon and Apple have haters. Google… you can stay.)
I’m a multi-passionate person—I mean hello, I’m an actor, designer, and content creator!—so I’ll never tell you to “niche down”. But there’s a difference between niching down and being specific. Specificity is key.
So I want you to dig deep on this one; who makes up the majority of your current audience? Do you like them? If so, amazing! If not, who would you rather work with instead? Write your copy to that person.
[Pro-tip: just because you’re writing to your ideal client doesn’t mean other people won’t reach out. That’s the beauty of specificity. You may think you’re writing to a very narrow group, but you’d be surprised about all the people who see themselves in your writing. That’s the trick.]
Mistake #2—Not Having Enough Website Copy
“But Sarah… I don’t wanna make people read all that. I just want them to hire me.”
Spoiler alert: they probably won’t read a lot of it. (Unless it’s good & conversational—see below—in which case, they’ll read some of it.)
The thing about customers is that they will each have their own hesitations about your service, product, or offering. Your job is to provide enough context about allllll the possible hesitations and structure it in the easiest possible way for them to find the answer to their specific hesitation.
When I’m hiring a service provider or buying a product, my hesitation is always price—so you’ll always find me scanning every headline until I find the one that leads me to all the information related to how much it costs, payment plans, deposits, etc.
For someone else, price may not matter at all; their main priority might be what’s included in the package, earliest availability, what other people said about it, etc.
You have to provide enough context about each individual aspect of your service in order to calm the concerns & hesitations of your customers. The gag is, everyone’s got a different concern.
Also… Google needs at least 300 words per page to rank your site, so. There’s that.
If you’re struggling with what to talk about, refer to this blog post I wrote about high converting service pages to get the ball rollin’. 🙂
Mistake #3—Being Too Formal
No matter what kind of business you run, good website copy needs to feel readable. And if the business you’re running is that of a solo operation, freelance biz, or personal brand, it needs to sound like you.
I’m not saying you have to start spewing swear words (although… I personally don’t shy away from them because it feels authentic to me and my ideal client), but I do want to know that there’s another human on the other side of the screen.
The more conversational you are, the easier (and more enjoyable!) your copy will be to read. The more enjoyable, the more your audience will connect with you. And the more connection, the more money you’ll make.
If you’re struggling with how to do this, text 5 of your closest friends and ask them: what are some phrases that I use all the time? Write down their answers and see if you can find ways to infuse those phrases into your website copy. It’ll do wonders, I promise.
Mistake #4—Focusing on Features over Benefits
Here’s what you gotta know about human nature—we’re always gonna think… “What’s in it for me?”
Money and time are two of our most valuable resources. And now more than ever, we’re thinking critically about how to spend them.
So in whatever you’re selling; whether it’s a $5,000 website design project or a $20.00 lipstick, you’re going to want to focus more on “what’s in it for them” than the nuts & bolts of the offering.
For my design packages, that means emphasizing the monetary returns on their design investment, the confidence they’re going to find as a business owner when all their sh*t is on brand, and all the fulfilling connections they’re going to start making when they have a website that feels like them.
And while the details are important to talk about too—what’s included, price, process, timeline—I want to make sure that the main message is this: I can take you from drab to fab. And it will make you $$.
TL;DR: Make sure your “before & after” is getting just as much (if not more) lip service than your who, what, when, and where.
… And the Real Kicker? Website Copywriting is Just the Beginning
No one told me just how much copywriting is involved in running a business.
As a business owner, I’m writing copy every single day—blog posts, newsletters, proposals, captions, pin descriptions, TikTok scripts, pitches, emails—you name it!
I love to write… and I also can’t imagine how stuck I’d feel in my business if I was in a position where I didn’t.
(And trust me, I recently declined a brand partnership with WordPress because I don’t absolutely love their website platform, so I would never sell you sh*t that I don’t believe in.)
Sara at BTL is one of the smartest people I know—not only did she build her own business from the ground up, but she helped me raise my prices by 900% in 2021 (and thus, helped me make the most amount of money I’ve ever made in my life). I’ve taken a lot of online courses, and when I got a sneak peak of everything included in this one, I was like holy sh*t, this should be more expensive than it is.
So, if you’re hearing about Site Series for the first time here on my blog and are interested in taking it, I’d love you forever for using my affiliate link.
Hi, I'm Sarah Kleist.
Brand & web designer, personal brand strategist, and marketing educator obsessed with the power of connecting with audiences.
An actually-fun-to-read weekly newsletter about marketing, design, business, the arts, creativity, mindset and more.
love this post?
read the next one: