Ever just wished you had a website copy template to help you get started on writing for your creative business?
Whether you’re totally lost on how to get started and just need a basic website copy template or are just on the prowl for some tweaks you can make in your business to connect to those brides, couples, or clients—today, I’m going to teach you how to write your website copy in Google Docs with a basic website copy template.
(Oh, and if you’re still scratching your head wondering “what is website copy,” that’s ok! Click here to read a post to get you started.)
“A must-have marketing strategy for any creative is writing good copy for your website.” Marie Forleo
Before we dig in, y’all, your website is not your junk drawer for copy: aim to have specific, profitable goals for your website, and coincidentally, each page of your website (we’ll get there).A must-have marketing strategy for any creative is writing good copy for your website. -Marie Forleo Click To Tweet
So, how do I stay on track to do this as a copywriter for creatives?
By not typing directly into my clients’ Showit, Squarespace, or WordPress website text boxes, that’s how!
Instead, I’m a big fan of getting OFF the website design platform and using a GoogleDoc, Pages, Evernote, or any other word processing tool to zone in on drafting solid website copy.
Today, I want to share our basic process—a bare-bones example of the (*slightly more involved*) one I teach to my students and implement with our Ashlyn Writes clients, and get ya a free copy of the template.
- The #1 mindset shift you need to get started writing website copy.
- Why you shouldn’t write directly in your website design tool.
- A quick run-down for the big pages of your website.
Let’s do it! And don’t forget your freebie template!
The Subtle (But Important) Shift You Need Before You Write Copy That Sells
Your stunning imagery, call-to-action buttons, and gorgeous design matter, for sure. but the words in between are how you tie it all together.
Before you even begin writing copy for your business, we need a quick come-to-Jesus: You’re not the star of the show when it comes to your website copy.
I call this the Supporting Actress Shift.
You could have the spotlight on you, your ideas, your goals, your dreams, your words, your offer.
Or, you can make the Supporting Actress Shift, and market your business letting your customer, their words, problems, ideas, and dreams be the star of the show, and assume the supporting actress position.
Most creative entrepreneur websites miss this—but I’m guessing you know your client wants to be seen, heard, and acknowledged!
So, to say this all another way:
- What website copywriting is not: Knowing your business inside and out and having a handle on your brand voice, and filling a website with that copy.
- What website copywriting is: Knowing your business inside and out, having a handle on your brand voice, and also how your ideal client talks about their problem and their needs and filling a website with that copy.
I’m going to suggest you back away from the Oscar podium and let your client have it (Okay, fine, I’ll still let you have a little gold statue, I just want your client to get the spotlight.).
Before you draft it, you need to understand your potential client’s journey, her pain points and your value proposition. Again, my students know I like to deep-dive into this inside our paid program, but you can click here for a quick read on how to explain your own “it” factor.
Set Up Your Website Copy Template
Now that’s cleared up, let’s move you over to a Google Doc.
I tell my Copywriting for Creatives students to step away from the Showit, Squarespace, or WordPress text boxes, and draft copy for your website in a separate document.
This does 3 things:
- First, it lets copy dictate design, not the other way around.
- You can get out of your head, focusing on the message.
- Finally, it’s easier to edit and catch mistakes.
At the top of each copy draft, I fill in a backgrounder on our client’s website. Now, I only share that backgrounder template with my students, but in a nutshell, you’ll want to pull in information on the overarching goals you have for this page, words you’re trying to rank for in SEO, as well as some messaging points to keep in mind when it comes to where this reader is in her journey to buying from or booking you.
Best tip: on your copy doc, write one goal for each page of your website. If your reader is entering your virtual “home,” stepping out of the rain, shaking off her umbrella, and landing on your front stoop, what do you want her to know when she first steps inside your homepage?
Do you have a glass of champagne or warm cup of coffee ready? :)Then, (here’s the important part), can you lead them where to go next? It’s a big deal if you want them to go right to the couch. Or maybe you want them in the kitchen. Or maybe the back patio. Or maybe they’re going to ask for the guest bathroom.
Then, (here’s the important part), can you lead her to where she needs to go next? It’s a big deal if you want them to go right to the couch. Or maybe you want them in the kitchen. Or maybe the back patio. Or maybe they’re going to ask for the guest bathroom.
Whether it’s right to the couch to get to know you, the kitchen so you can get her your best treats, or out to meet everyone on the back porch, this one goal is called the “call to action” in copy talk.
Write Your Navigation Bar Copy
Next, list out your navigation bar copy by bulleting out all the pages of your website at the top of your document.
While I appreciate creative ideas on a navigation bar, don’t forget to use that Supporting Actress Shift to use words that are simple, crystal clear, and client-focused.
About (not “the girl behind the camera”)
Services | Work With Me | Shop (not “what I can do for you”)
Resources | Free Resources | Library (not “suggested tools”)
Blog (not “journal”)
Contact (not “let’s connect”)
Example Navigation Menu:
- Meet Sarah Anne
- Resource Library
Write the Home Page Copy
Remember when I said your website should be no junk drawer? Pull out that trash bag and start clearing out messy copy by the handful.
Write a headline that contains a benefit or a hook for your client or customer.
What’s she asking as she comes to your website? She’s likely saying things like:
- “I need a calligraphy suite that looks different from all the ones I’ve seen before and sets the tone for my guests.”
- “I don’t know a lot about legal stuff, but I know my photography business needs to be protected.”
- “I can’t figure out how to get press for my creative business and need someone to show me how.”
- “InDesign confuses the heck out of my Photoshop-obsessed self, but it’s time I figure it out as an aspiring graphic designer.”
Don’t make them decode anything or work too hard.
Instead, use the Supporting Actress Shift to write a better headline.
Need ___? Try ___.
Get the _____ you want. I’ll show you how.
Need headline inspiration? Here’s a quick tutorial for you to watch:
After you’ve got a more customer-focused headline, I suggest making sure that above the fold (i.e. before anyone starts scrolling down on your homepage), let your audience know three things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- How they can buy from you
Visuals can tell this story just as well, so use both imagery and copy to illustrate those, too!
Then if you want to get fancy and draft copy for a few other things for your reader to scroll down and see, go for it!
Finally, it’s time for that call to action. What do you want them to do? End the page with a punctuation mark, two, or three. Steer them to the patio party or kitchen table with a call to action that steps them closer to your end goal (I’m guessing it’s book client, or join your audience).
Our brains veer into tiredness on the internet. Make it easy. Give ’em a verb and make it a pretty, easy-to-find button.
Call to Action Examples:
- Read the Blog
- Learn About Services
- Get to Know Me
- Grab Free Download
- Get Access to Free Course
Don’t forget about the AW Shop—click here to purchase 27 headline templates for your website from the shop!
How to Write an About Page
Moving along in your Google Doc of website copy, list out your goal/call-to-action for your about page before drafting copy: what do you want them to do on your about page?
Then, dive into to writing out your about page copy. You can click here to take my free 6-day about page mini-course to get a little bonus support writing the perfect about page.
In a 5-step nutshell, you’ll want to:
- Lead with an elegant attention-getting statement, true to your brand voice, and something that the reader will say “YES! I found her!”
- Your next sentence (or two) should reassure: Indeed dear reader, ya found me. Make her feel good, and help point out how you’re the guide ready to lead them along their journey to success (read more about that concept here).
- Give an intro to you and a bit of credibility, and pepper in an accolade or two if you’d like.
- Paint a picture of what it’s like to work with you: remember again, the secret to copywriting an about page is that it ISN’T about you. Clue her into what she could expect by working with a skillful, authentic boss like you.
- Finally, put that cherry on top and toss in a call to action. Where do you want to steer your reader next? Hint-hint: I’m going to guess you’d like to nudge them towards your services page here.
Write copy for your services page.
Work with me.
Whatever you call it, let’s talk through some tips as you start to write about your work with me page (and pro tip: if you’re needing to write more along the lines of a sales page for a course or digital product, instead of say, your calligraphy or photography packages, click here to read the blog post I wrote about that!).
I’ll hold back the tidal wave I could give you about sales copy, and give you the main tips—sound good? Again, type in your main goal of your work with me page at the top of this page of your Google Doc.
Now that you’re focused and clear on your goal, start writing copy that sells.
Similar to your about page, start with a line that paints a dreamy picture of life with your services.
Psychologically, our brains are wired to do two things—survive (imagine that) and burn as few calories as possible. That biological tidbit matters even for website copywriting: you need to SIMPLIFY your services page as much as possible for someone to understand.
After you’ve connected with your reader, you can list your service packages, give social proof with some testimonials, and provide pricing copy. Again, keep your cards close, and don’t use your sales page as the junk drawer where you include everything down the 8% markup you charge on vendor mark-ups.
The main goal is to convert them enough to just simply reach out—then, you can fold more detailed copy into your intro or welcome packet.
Bonus tip: We process things well in bite-sized groupings, so list 3-steps of your process, 5 ways you serve clients, etc. Use icons and brief copy to get the memo across.
Write copy for your contact page
How many websites have you visited and—so frustrated with trying to figure out how to just get in touch, you’ve just clicked off the page? I know I’ve done that!
Make it a cinch to track you down: Use the top right-hand real estate of your website to include a link to get in touch, and provide your contact form, email address, and maybe your business address—some of us still like to send snail mail, and it’s helpful to have!
Office hours and frequently asked questions can go on this page of your website too, or any copy like “please expect a reply within 1-2 business days.”
Write other pages of your website
Got more pages you want to write?
The remainder of your Google Doc can flesh out any other little copy holes like your blog sidebar copy, giving back page, start here page, resource library page, etc.
Ta-da! Now, you have a nice, neat website copy template to copy/paste into your website, or hand-off to a designer.
Before you copy/paste into your website, or hand-off to a designer, be sure to edit it—here’s a blog post I wrote on how to edit your website copy by your self. It may not be a bad idea to hire a copyeditor or recruit a friend to read your copy to see if it makes sense before you load it into your design.
Could you hire someone like me to do website copywriting services? Sure thing! However, I’m a big believer in learning to be the best copywriter for your business you can be, since you’ll always be writing, from captions and inquiry responses to website updates along the way.
Bottom line? Don’t forget that clarity beats clever all day, every day. That’s how you create a stronger connection with your audience, from your about page to your services page.When it comes to copywriting, clarity beats clever all day, every day. Click To Tweet
Click below to grab a sample Google Docs website copy template to get started writing your website copy!