When it comes to planning your website content, you may be struggling to organize and plan—easy to do … website launches can be a BEAR of a project! Here’s the thing: a lash burning 64% of people shopping online said that the experience of shopping on a certain website is actually more important to them than the price point I would say it is high time that we skip that freak out session that we have about our prices being the thing that’s holding people back on our websites. Instead, we make sure that your website visitors have *exactly* what they need when they’re scrolling your website because it is just so confidently organized and planned as they navigate it.
But before you book that designer and go ahead and start your website refresh, revamp, or facelift process—you need to ask yourself:
+Do I have all the tools and assets that I need for this website revamp or refresh ready?
+Do I have the time that it takes set aside?
You know you need some sort of workflow of sorts teed up as you revamp your creative small business’ website…
What comes first, chicken or the egg? Where do you start?
Well good news, today I am going through these seven steps that you need to walk through to confidently organize and plan your website content and copy so you can avoid being overwhelmed in the whole process.
(Ps— this is part one of a little three-part series I’m doing on your website and specifically website copy. So be sure to hit the subscribe button on my YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next two videos!)
These seven things I’m outlining today are the same big keystone steps that I have taken more than 1600 students through inside my signature Copywriting for Creatives program. So pulpit here, it’s your turn.
No. 1 | Data Mining.
We’re going to start with the most unsexy part of the website content and copy process. Because like I said earlier, today’s buyer people like you and me want to be in control of our buying process— so we need to start by listening to the people.
I don’t know if you feel like this but I don’t typically go out ready with my credit card shopping with a list of problems in mind and looking for a solution. Instead I usually, no matter if I’m purchasing software or something for inside my house or whatever, I have some sort of predetermined solution in mind. I just need an expert to speak into me and say like, yep, you’re moving in the right direction or no, actually I would recommend XYZ— I just want to know I’m making the right choice.
How can your buyers know that if they don’t see themselves reflected back when they are on your website? If they can’t decipher that you are the very one that holds the solution to unlock whatever problems going on in their life. This is why we’ve got to start by putting out ear to the ground and listening to your clients and your customers and doing that research, deep diving into it.
It’s why Copywriting for Creatives alumni will go ahead and start by teeing up in scheduling surveys and interviews and all sorts of types of competitor research even before we start working on brand messaging.
Likewise, on the agency side of my business, we do different surveys or listening data mining types of things we like to do and we’ll pick at least three to four for each project. You can watch this video here to learn different ways of how to arrange a different research that you’re working on as you prep your website.
But I did want give you a quick peak at this research rainbow that my team and I’ve started working off right now—we file it inside our website content and copy planner!
We’re adding this into CfC too because it’s been very helpful as a way to codify and organize all the different types of things you’re gonna hear as you start to listen to people.
One more side note on this—if you have taken my online voice vibe quiz then you are aware that there’s four different buying and selling styles out there. You typically buy like you like to be sold to. Some of us love to hear about how we’re gonna make that ROI back. Others of us really need our heartstrings pulled and that’s gonna be what motivates us more to buy. Doing this research phase can also help you start to figure out, okay, there’s gonna be different messages that certain people need to hear at different points in my website.
Here’s a quick takeaway tip for step #1—if you haven’t before go to Ashlynwrites.com/quiz and take that quiz so you can at least go ahead and assess what your selling and buying style is. And you’ll go ahead and see the other three big archetypes that are out there. That will help you as you craft messages for your website content. If you’ve taken that quiz before too, comment below and tell me what results you get. I get the same thing every time I take my own quiz—it’s kind of interesting.
No. 2| Finalize your brand messaging style guide and determine your onlyness factor.
What so many of us do when we are trying to work on our website is we start by picking out that beautiful design or that template or picking out that designer instead of the website copy. And I get it, that’s fun but you probably heard me say this before—copy dictates design, not the other way around. What you think you want to say in the order that your clients or your customers need to actually see it in are usually two different things and that difference is big.
This is why I’m such a proponent of having your brand messaging style guide. If you couple that with what we talked about in step one you’ve got that data and that research done and now we’re figuring out what you wanna say and how you say it, what your style is.
Also, as we work through your brand messaging style guide we wanna find what I call with my CFC students your “onlyness factor”… essentially your USP or your UVP, your unique value prop or selling prop. I’m going to share some examples from my students that have come up with this so well. And what I love is that students like Ida and Tanya have said I could even stop doing some other work in CFC because that one message was so pivotal that once I figured it out, I was really able to book myself out because I could tell people why I do what I do the way I do it differently or better than my competition and why I charge what I do for it.
>>> That is a killer piece of messaging to uncover. <<<
Why does this work so well? ‘Cause we’ve got to figure out where these messages overlap and exactly what the people want and need to hear from you. And it’s gonna be a Venn diagram overlap of what you wanto to say and what they need you to actually say to them in your website content.
My takeaway tip here is to start your brand messaging style guide if you haven’t ever done that before, or if you’re like me and you’ve had one for years. Freshen it up, make sure that it has the UVP or the USP the onlyness factor of all your big offers as well.
No. 3| Decide how you’re gonna package your offers and direct traffic with your site map.
Essentially, you want to start with the end in mind for your website content and entire website—for each individual page of your website. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store without a list when you’re planning a massive party and welcoming a lot of people into your house—which is kind of what your website is—so you need an overarching plan and strategy for your website content as well AKA a site map.
Here is an example of a stationer and calligrapher that we have in the agency side of my business right now, So you can kind of see what I mean when I’m saying this word site map. It’s gonna map the user experience in the flow that somebody has when they land on your website.
The major reason this is so important is because it’s gonna help carve out exactly what the goal on every single page of your website is. If you’re not new here, then you know that I nerd out big time on conversion rates. A good landing page conversion rate is usually dependent on having one big call to action. Competing CTA is can confuse your visitors and the result there’s gonna be fewer leads or people filling out that work with me form or clicking on your purchase button or whatever.
One quick takeaway tip here—grab a screen shot of the image below—these are some basic conversion rates and the ones I like to give to clients as we’re working through and setting benchmarks for their projects.
The reason I love them so much is ’cause it’s gonna help you set reasonable expectations. It’s so easy sometimes to launch something or have a page go out there and be frustrated because it’s not working like you wanted it to. But kind of comes down to us sometimes and if we manage our expectations and we know what we can actually expect for a conversion rate, that can tip our things a lot.
No. 4| Gather your raw materials.
Next up in organizing your website content and copy is gathering your raw materials. This is copywriting formulas, testimonials that correspond with your offers. and then all sorts of copywriting templates. I try to provide these all the time. Wireframes for each of your pages and the website content and copy that needs to go in there. Headline, formulas, and templates, that kind of thing.
So you’re clear on who you’re speaking to, did that in step one.
Step two, you’re clear on what you want to say and what your message is. And thanks to the last step, you’re now clear on the number one action that you want them to take before they leave each page of your website.
So now let’s talk about some simple ways that you can pull things together so you can actually get to the website copywriting part. *Spoiler, that’s the next step.*
Maybe it’s just me but at least help my ego sometimes when I’m cooking, I like to set everything out and feel like I’m on a TV show for a minute or at least like I’ve just got everything in front of me and I don’t have to run all around the kitchen, pooling out ingredients as I cook—you should NOT feel like that when you’re writing your website copy.
You should have everything in front of you all together so you can quickly go through the website copywriting process. So this step four is actually gathering those things there at the ready.
I mentioned a copywriting formula or a framework. I’ve done ones on homepages and about pages and sales pages before. I’m also passionate about giving CFC students a good working framework for each big keystone page of their website. So that’s what I mean here. Don’t start with the blinking cursor, start with some sort of framework or template.
To note—these are less mad-lib style templates. So don’t think that as much as think framework and messaging hierarchy. You wanna say this, then come in with this message and so on and so forth until you work yourself down the page.
Another thing you’re gonna need are your testimonials pooled and ready to go. I honestly don’t think I’ve made any big purchase the past few years without looking for some sort of customer review or testimonial. Whether it’s checking out the Amazon reviews section or asking friends who loves their hairstylists so I can get a good rec. I wanna pull the people and I know I’m not alone on this. Social proof is a key element on your website no matter what you do. And if it’s missing, then you’re creative, small business just isn’t gonna seem as trustworthy as you are. But I’m telling you this from firsthand experience over the past few months, gathering testimonials, case studies and all of this social proof, it takes a minute.
I would recommend definitely spending some time pulling these together. Plus this is how you’re gonna be able to leverage those testimonials really well and start to think, okay, on this page this objection comes up all the time so, aha,I need a testimonial that specifically has somebody saying they felt like that and they tried it and loved it.
So you can go into your testimonial arsenal and you can pull that and then pop that copy on that page.
No. 5| Writing Website Content
At this point, it really shouldn’t take you that long ’cause you’ve done all the legwork in advance. You’ve started with those basic formulas. If you wanted to get fancy and stretch them out then you can do that now in this step. Again, hit subscribe because I’m going through again, my homepage formula and frameworks so you can hear about that. I’ll link ones I’ve done to my about page one. Again, I just want you to know that you’re not alone and you don’t need to start staring at the blinking cursor when it comes to writing these pages.
No. 6| Either pick a template or a designer … determine the imagery and video assets that fit.
Now we get to talk about the pretty stuff, the design. Here you can pick your template or your designer and determine the imagery and the video assets that are gonna fit into the buckets of your pages. Like I said earlier, copy dictates design, not the other way around.
I did a video too on how to pick the best template, design template for your website—you can watch that here—I am so passionate about you not having to start with custom work. I love custom work, I do custom work as a copywriter, but it’s expensive and you can build a really dang good seven figure business, I know cause I did it, on a template. The problem is a lot of people trying to build the brand before you build the actual business and I don’t want you to do that.
Build the business and the business strategy first.
Figure out how to hack it really good with these steps I’m going through. Figuring out your message. Figuring out your unique selling or value prop, your onlyness factor. Folding that into a beautiful website template. There are so many good ones out there.
Here’s a takeaway tip here. If you are working off of the template or working hand in hand with somebody who really speaks imagery and design, definitely get their two cents on what imagery should go where. I learned this the hard way. The first time I was ever able to outsource art direction or imagery for my brand, I was working with the art director and this is before she created assets and she was kind of looking to see what I may need. She said, “Ashlyn, these images are beautiful but they don’t connect at all to the copy that you’re trying to explain on different pages of your website.” Well, she was right.
Whether you’re gonna go full on custom here or template, I would recommend having some sort of an expert speak into things. I just found it was so helpful once I had the messaging all set to have somebody come in and say, this image goes here, this image should go here, so on and so forth. It was just a beautiful dance in combo.
No. 7| Edit, install, and keep it up for sale success.
Ok, the last step in our website content process to actually install the design that you have and get it ready to hit go. You’ve heard me talk about how the design is so very important and copy is so important as well. So finally here in step seven, it does become that marriage that dance back and forth where there’s some give and take.
Also in this step, you can go through an editing checklist and you can start to think about things like search engine optimization.
I just recently did a three-part video series where I talked about how to set yourself up for good SEO, copy and content. So make sure you tee those up next to watch. Your website is a living and breathing organism in your business. But if you do it right you should be able to have it be a sustainable piece of marketing in your business that you can get by on just doing some minimal updates every month on.
Now I know this was a lot, going through these seven steps to organize your website content, but if you want to get started, just go ahead and click here or down below—I’ve got my free Google Docs website copy starter template. This will at least get you moving in the right direction as your start crafting your website content. It’s about 24 pages but it’s gonna show you how to center in on some of the things we talked about. Like having one goal for each page, making sure you’re using good frameworks so on and so forth.
Again, click here or down below to grab that and now that you know how to organize your website copy, you’re gonna start writing it like we talked about in step six. So be sure to watch the next video I have teed up for you. I’m gonna give you my best tips on how to write witty entertaining copy even if you don’t think you’re funny. So your customers and your clients are delighted as they read your new updated website.
If you liked this video, click that like button and make sure that you hit subscribe and the bell next to it so you don’t miss these next couple of episodes I have coming out all about your website copy.