Outlining & Planning Your Website Copy: Part 03 of the Copy Series

Let me guess: you’re either an aspiring copywriter sharpening your mental tools, or you’re a small business owner that finds writing grueling and difficult. And if it was up to you, you’d never write a single word for your small-but-mighty biz again . . . let alone website copy.

If you’re the former, keep reading, because this post will help you develop proven techniques to strengthen yours and your clients’ copy. If you’re the latter, this post is a helpful guide to writing your own copy, even if it’s not your area of expertise.

Because copywriting is more than the words you see on a screen or ad. It’s research, planning, testing, and writing. And if you follow the practices and tips I outline in this post, you don’t have to be a word wiz to write website copy that sells.

You’ll learn how to plan and outline your website copy with ease and confidence, so when it’s time to start writing you know what to say and how to deliver your strongest messages. And you’ll also discover my 6 tips to writing high-converting copy that speaks to your ideal customer and drives actual results.

* As a quick disclaimer, this post is Part 03 of the copy series. I HIGHLY recommend you read the other two posts (Post 01: Researching Your Ideal Customer & Post 02: Creating Your Ideal Customer Avatar) before diving into this value-packed content.

01: Review your research & make sure you know who you’re talking to

As I mentioned above, this post is the third installment in the Copy Series. In Part 01, we discovered how to research your ideal customer. And in Part 02, I taught you my exact process for creating your ideal customer avatar. These first parts of the series are ESSENTIAL to creating website copy that converts.

So if you haven’t already, check out those previous posts and complete the exercises I included in them. That way, you’ll have the foundation to crafting your website or landing page copy.

When reviewing your research, pay close attention to these four essential things:

  1. Your ideal customer’s pain points and struggles
  2. Their demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)
  3. Their interests and hobbies
  4. And the way they communicate (phrases, slang, tone, etc.)

You want to know EXACTLY what your ideal customer is struggling with and what their current situation is. This step is the key piece of the puzzle to getting your website visitors to have those “she so gets me” moments. 

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02: Craft your unique value proposition (UVP)

Your unique value proposition is the most important statement or headline that will hang out on your website or landing page. And I see so many business owners (and even professional copywriters!) struggle with this significant piece of the puzzle.

Why?

Because they don’t fully understand what their UVP is and the information that should be woven within it.

So, here are the three things your UVP should have:

  1. What you do
  2. How you’re different than competitors or market standards
  3. A hook to keep your visitors scrolling

Also, you want to make sure your value proposition is clear, direct, and leaves little room for confusion. You may feel compelled to craft something witty and catchy. But make sure it clearly communicates your value above all else.

In addition, your UVP should correlate directly with your ideal customer’s pain point.

For instance, we offer copywriting, web design, and branding services. So, our UVP is “All-in-one solution for your website woes.” Most industry professionals only offer one or two of the services, so business owners have to find individual experts to piece together their website. It takes them more time, and they’re typically not happy with the end product.

Because we offer full-scale services, all of their website needs are met. And everything is designed and created in-house, so the end result is cohesive, consistent, and fully aligned with their brand and vision. Plus, it won’t take months to complete one website.

In our UVP, I address what we do (websites), how we’re different (all-in-one solution), and a hook (woes). After reading the UVP, our visitors want to keep scrolling to figure out exactly how we’ll handle all their “website woes.”

Here’s a super-effective practice to discover your UVP:

  1. Grab a sheet of paper and pen
  2. Make a note of your ideal customers struggles and pain points at the top of your paper
  3. Draw a quick line down the center of your sheet of paper
  4. Make a list of all the products and services you offer on the left side
  5. Make a list of how you’re different from competitors (this could be product features, brand values, payment requirements, etc.) on the right side
  6. At the bottom of each side, sum up your services and unique values in 1 sentence
  7. Merge those two sentences together
  8. Free-write different alternatives, and try to keep your new single sentence between 5-12 letters long
  9. Once you have about 20, choose one that best represents your business

If you’d like a pdf version of this worksheet, you can download it here.

And, just like that, you have a UVP that speaks to your ideal customer’s pain points, conveys what you do, and expresses how you’re different.

03: Determine what main action you’d like your visitors to take

You created your website for a reason. And that reason extends past simply showcasing your products or services.

Right?

If you’re squirming on your chair — or couch — right now, that’s totally okay. Because I see this all the time: websites that tell their visitors what they do and even provides past examples and compelling imagery.

But the visitor doesn’t know what action to take.

They scan through the services, browse through the products, glance at the portfolio. But at the end of all that scrolling and clicking, they don’t know their next step.

In the website world, this is a HUGE no-no.

Every single web page on your website should have a clearly defined AND direct conversion goal (aka the action you want each visitor to take). Let’s look at an example:

Say the purpose of my website is to sign more clients (conversion goal). So, I want my visitors to book a free consultation after they engage with my site (action). That is the main purpose of my website — to acquire more leads.

In order to prompt this action, I create a form at the bottom of my homepage with a clear call to action to book a free consultation. My visitors know exactly what to do once they finish their scrolling. And they don’t have to waste precious cognitive time to guess.

So, before you start writing your website copy, ask yourself which main action you want each visitor to take when they land on your website. And make this action clear.

Another quick thing to note: try to avoid distracting your visitor with too many competing actions. I reserve the bottom part of my web pages for booking a consultation. Because the top and bottom thirds of each page are the most important. So, your main action should hang out in BOTH places.

Here’s an example of the top and bottom third of my homepage. In the above the fold section, my CTA is ‘Book a Free Consultation.’ And in the bottom third, my CTA is again to book a free consultation, AND I even provided a form to make their conversion journey easier.

Now it’s your turn. Write on a piece of paper or in a Google Doc what action you want your visitor to take. Then provide your call to action (book a consultation, add a product to cart, sign up for a newsletter). And brownie points if you map out your visitor’s conversion journey.

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04: The Four Pillars of High-Converting Copy

Copywriting is strategy wrapped up in intentional sentences. And any good strategy needs a plan, an outline, and a format.

Enter my four pillars of high-converting website copy. These are the elements that ANY good website will have. And each pillar has two important parts. 

First, you’ll answer what you do AND what your ideal customer is struggling with. This will include your unique value proposition and the exact services/products you offer. And, as we’ve already learned, your UVP will touch upon your ICA’s struggles. You’ll then use the sub-heading under your UVP headline to further address these struggles and clarify how you’re the solution.

Second, you’ll answer who you are AND who you serve. Typically, in 90% of the websites I create, I have a short bio section under the above the fold area. That way, the visitors can quickly learn more about the business owner and who they serve.

You want to make sure your homepage bio is short, to the point, and addresses your visitor. Here’s a look at mine:

I’m Cassie, a designer, writer, and creative soul that builds high-converting websites for ambitious entrepreneurs. And I’m all about making stunning websites available for all boss ladies — no matter your business size or budget.

This bio addresses who I am, what I specialize in, and my target market. And it also touches upon a pain point many of my clients have — a smaller budget. As they scroll down the page, they’ll see that we have customizable service packages for different budget types.

Third, you’ll answer why you offer this AND why your ideal customer needs it. So this could include a quick line outlining your purpose. For our business, it’s expressed in my bio and in other parts of my website. Here’s a couple examples from my homepage:

  • “You’ve worked your buns off for your business. And your biz deserves an on-brand website that’ll connect to your audience AND get real results.”
  • “And I’m all about making stunning websites available for all boss ladies”

In both these examples, I discuss why I created this offer. My visitors have worked hard to create their businesses, and I want to give them a website that’ll get them real results. Because, well, they deserve it. And I want to make stunning websites accessible to all boss babes.

In addition, you’ll include why your visitor would be missing out if they didn’t purchase your product or book your service. Here’s another example from my homepage:

Imagine this: your dream client or customer lands on your site, and they immediately feel a connection to your business.

They resonate with your design, they engage with your copy, and they find value in your products or services. 

And they take action, because they KNOW you’re the solution to their challenges. Then they come back for more, knowing your brand speaks to them in a way they can’t ignore.

In this sample, I’m giving my visitors a glimpse into the reality they can have if they book my services. And if you can create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), then you’re taking this one step further and giving your copy a major boost

Fourth, you’ll answer how your visitor can book your service or purchase your product. And this all falls back to having a strong call to action and a clear next step for your visitors.

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05: Use a conversational tone

If you take anything away from this post, let it be this: use a conversational tone in ALL of your website copy.

Have you ever landed on a website, read the first line, and wanted to take an immediate snooze?

Yeah, me too.

And we want to avoid dry, stuffy, or overinflated language AT ALL COSTS. Stay away from the thesaurus. And stay away from complicated sentences or long, drawn-out ideas.

Your copy should be clear, easy to read, and in the language of your ideal customer. 

Once again, this is where knowing your ICA is soooooo important. Because, if you don’t know how your ideal customer communicates, how can you create a connection with them in your copy?

So, if you’re at a loss for which tone to use, go back to your research. Read through comments, reviews, captions, etc. from your ideal customer. And adopt that same tone in your own copy. Once you find a tone that works for your business and target audience, then you have your brand voice. And you’ll use this voice in all of your messaging (website, landing pages, emails, social media, etc.)

It’s very important that you don’t skip this step. Because it’ll stand at the foundation of all your copy.

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Final Thoughts

Whew, I’ll give you a quick moment to wipe the sweat from your brow. Cause this post, well, it was value-packed — hey? 

But now you’re equipped with the information and practices to start outlining and planning your website copy. And we all know what happens when you have a clear, concrete plan . . .

Success.

If you liked this post, I’d love for you to leave a quick comment below and tell me your biggest takeaway. Also, don’t forget to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest, so you can stay updated on all my new content and see those behind the scene shots!

Oh, and one last thing: sign up for my newsletter and receive 10 free — yes, free! — stock photos every single month that you can use absolutely anywhere. Plus, you’ll be the first to hear about any exclusive deals and promotions!

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