9 Copywriting Hacks That Will Turn Your Website Visitors Into Customers
The words on your website have the power to turn browsers into buyers. Sure, a killer design, speedy loading times, and stunning photography are important.
But, as Donald Miller points out in his acclaimed book, StoryBrand: “The fact is, pretty websites don’t sell things. Words sell things.”
So, in this post, I’ll provide you with 9 simple (but often neglected) copywriting hacks that will put you ahead of the competition.
By the end, you’ll know how to transform your website (or your client’s) into a customer-converting machine that pumps out serious profit!
Sound good? Let’s jump in!
What is Website Copywriting?
In a nutshell, website copywriting is about writing digital content for homepages, landing pages, blog posts, product pages, and everything in-between.
Excellent copy engages readers, communicates your value proposition, and drives readers to take actions that help your business.
The words you choose and how you structure your copy can have a monumental impact on how many prospects your website converts.
Why Web Copywriting Matters
Crafting customer-driven copy matters because it:
- Allows you to speak to customers in a way that resonates
- Changes the way customers feel about your brand
- Convinces prospects that your products or services are worth buying
For example, look at how men’s health brand Hims builds a rapport with their audience by speaking in a way that feels like they ‘get’ them:
Hims (and all other brands with excellent web copy) understand that their website is a kind of virtual salesman that connects their ideal customers with the solutions they provide.
In other words, the copy on your site is the sales pitch you deliver to every visitor.
There are many arms of web copywriting, such as social media copywriting, email copywriting, PPC copywriting, and so forth. In this guide, we’ll focus exclusively on writing better copy for your website. That said, many of the principles apply no matter what type of copy you’re crafting.
9 Simple Website Copywriting Hacks for More Conversions
Now that you understand how vital website copywriting is, let’s learn how you can make yours better.
The following hacks will help you upgrade your website’s copy with minimal effort.
1. Offer a BIG Benefit in Your Headline
A website’s headline contributes to conversions much more than people think. Most website headlines go wrong by failing to offer the reader a clear benefit.
On your website, you want your headline to give readers a window into what you do and paint a clear picture of how your product or service will improve their lives.
For example, electric toothbrush brand Quip opens with “Better Oral Health, Made Simple.”
Notice how they don’t use product-related copy like “The best toothbrush on the market.” Instead, they focus on the key benefit of using their products.
You don’t need to be super-creative with your headline. Instead, simply ask: “What is the biggest benefit of using my products or services?” and go from there.
As a rule of thumb, keep your headline brief. Generally, under eight words is a great length for most readers.
And, again, don’t underestimate how important your website’s headline is. As advertising legend David Ogilvy famously said: “Five times as many people read the headline as the body copy. When you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent 80 cents of your dollar.”
Pro tip: Not sure if your headline is compelling? Use CoSchedules free headline analyzer to whip your copy into shape. Shoot for a score above 70, and you’ll be good to go!
2. Use Your Subheading to Explain What You Do
So, you’ve captured your visitors’ attention with a juicy benefit-led headline. Great.
Next, you want to add a subheading that provides the specifics of what you or your products do.
Here’s a great example from the email marketing specialists Mailchimp:
Your subheading should be descriptive and, like Mailchimp’s, packed with even more benefits
The company uses: “Mailchimp helps small businesses do big things with the right tools and guidance every step of the way.”
So, they’re explaining what their software does, but they’ve also cleverly included two benefits that small business owners care about:
- Making an impact by doing big things
- Getting the guidance SMB owners need to succeed in a digital world
To come up with similar great subheadings, try:
- Expanding on your main headline but adding 1-2 more enticing benefits
- Limiting the length of your subheading to about twice the length of your main headline.
Basically, you want to imagine the ideal outcome for customers and then paint a picture of that with your product or service at the heart of it.
3. Grab Attention With the First Paragraph
Master copywriter Eugene Schwartz was known to spend an entire week crafting the headline and first 50 words of his advertisements.
Why? Because, once you’ve hooked readers with a killer headline, you can’t take your foot off the gas.
Every word, sentence, and paragraph needs to command your reader’s attention.
One way you can ensure this is by using the inverted pyramid technique.
The inverted pyramid technique involves putting all the most exciting and important information upfront in the first few sentences.
A practical way to implement this technique is to start your copy with a short sentence like this one from Copyblogger:
See how this sentence captures your attention and encourages you to keep scrolling and read the rest of the stuff on the page?
That’s precisely the same effect you want to create on your site.
Some ways to create an instant hook for readers is to:
- Frame a question in a way that gets them saying “YES” internally
- Tactfully poke the reader’s biggest pain points.
- Say something that gets the reader excited.
Remember, no matter how brilliant your product or service is, readers won’t make a purchase unless you get them engaged with your copy.
So, start with a bang!
4. Nail Your Messaging Hierarchy
The way you structure your messaging on your webpage is crucial for guiding more visitors towards conversion.
A solid messaging hierarchy allows you to anticipate the questions in your customer’s head and answer them at the right time.
Here’s an example of messaging hierarchy for Google Pay that helps convey the most important aspects of the product:
While this copy architecture is impressive, you don’t need to go to such extremes.
Here’s a more straightforward hierarchy from the folks at Copyblogger:
- What do you do?
- Okay. Why should I care?
- Do other people care?
- I’m skeptical. Show me how you do what you do.
- Okay, cool. But how will my life improve?
- Interesting, but is it safe for me to trust you?
- Okay, I’m interested. What should I do next?
Structuring your message like this will help you address your reader’s concerns and nudge them towards converting as they move down the page.
5. Swap ‘We’ For ‘You’
One of the biggest copywriting mistakes people make is talking too much about themselves and their business.
But, hold up. What’s wrong with talking about yourself? After all, this is your website, isn’t it?
Well, as Steven Pressfield eloquently points out in his excellent book of the same title: “Nobody wants to read your Sh*t.”
Seriously, imagine you went on a date, and the other person talked only about themselves. The chances of a second date are slim, right?
Well, the same is true on your website. If you’re talking too much about your business, you’re ignoring your reader. And nobody likes to be ignored.
For example, compare the following two web pages — as you read them, pay close attention to how they make you feel.
First up is this company-centric page I found on a UK-based branding agency’s site:
This isn’t overtly bad copywriting, I think you’ll agree. But notice the difference between what you just read what Mailchimp has written here:
See the way that’s much more engaging?
Thankfully, there’s a nifty tool called the customer focus calculator that’ll help you figure out how customer-centric (or company-centric) your website copy is.
Use it to keep your copy focused on your reader.
6. Focus On Benefits Over Features
We’ve discussed the power of benefit-led headlines, but including benefits elsewhere is just as important.
Lots of companies mistakenly push the features of their service upfront. And, while these are important, the benefits are often more compelling.
For example, when Apple launched the first iPod, they could have used a feature-led headline such as:
“Has the capacity to store up to 1GB of MP3s”.
But that’s no fun. So, instead, they went with:
See how this advertisement focuses on one of the main benefits for the customer? I mean, what consumer in 2001 didn’t want 1,000 songs in their pocket?!
Here’s another example of benefit-led writing from the nutrition company Huel:
In truth, customers care much more about what your product can help them do instead of what your product actually is.
To quote UX designer Samuel Hulick: “People don’t buy products; they buy a better version of themselves.”
To figure out the core benefits of your product or service, write out all of the features that come to mind and ask why they matter.
This simple exercise will help you flip your features into benefits and pull out the real value that you offer to your customers.
7. Simplify Your Language & Format Your Copy
If your website is teeming with meaningless jargon like:
“We design and implement enhanced frameworks that deliver synergistic solutions for end-users.”
…then something has to change.
This type of complex language doesn’t impress your readers — it just makes them think you’re cold and inaccessible.
In fact, there’s evidence showing that the easier your message is to understand, the more intelligent and competent your readers will perceive you to be.
So, how do you write more simply?
Easy, when writing your web copy, imagine that you’re communicating your ideas with a room full of school kids.
Go through your copy with a fine-toothed comb and weed out:
- Unnecessarily complex language
- Long-winded sentences (aim for 20 words or less)
- Extended paragraphs (Limit paragraphs to 2-3 sentences)
Then, make sure your formatting is on point.
According to Nielsen Norman Group, readers only consume about 20% of the content on your pages, so use bullet points and sub-headings to break up the text wherever possible.
All this might sound silly if you’ve been writing corporate-speak for a while, but ‘writing for kids’ will make your language and formatting much easier to understand.
And, when your readers understand clearly what you’re saying, they’ll be more likely to accept and agree with your ideas.
Pro Tip: Use the Free Hemmingway Editor to chop down lengthy sentences and swap complex words for simpler alternatives.
8. Include Testimonials & Specifics
As social creatures, we trust others’ opinions — even if those opinions come from total strangers on the internet.
So, tap into this psychological quirk by showing customer testimonials loud and proud on your website like support software Gorgias does:
But don’t just stop there.
Another thing humans love is specific numbers, figures, and statistics. There’s something so much more convincing when there’s a number thrown into the mix.
For example, check out this benefit-led number-focused headline from CRM software Pipedrive:
See how the statistic of ‘28%’ enhances how compelling this headline is?
Adding social proof and specific results wherever you can will power-up your copy, build trust, and boost your website conversions.
9. Use a Powerful Call to Action
Whether you want to build your email list, drive app downloads, or upsell your customer, you won’t get there without the right call to action (CTA).
The problem is that most businesses opt for a simple call to action like “sign up”.
The issue with such CTAs is that they don’t give the reader any motivation to act.
For instance, here’s an excellent example of a CTA from KlientBoost, which offers something juicy to the reader with “Get Your Free Marketing Plan.”
You can see how much more enticing this CTA is than “request a callback” or “contact us,” right?
So, when crafting your CTAs, ditch boring old CTAs and think about how you can give your readers the impetus to click.
Upgrade Your Website Copywriting Today
Basecamp’s Jason Fried put it best when he said: “Most copywriting on the web sucks because it’s written for the writer, not for the reader. Write for the reader. That is all.”
Whenever you sit down to write website copy for yourself or your clients, imagine you’re chatting to your ideal buyer over a cup of coffee.
Tell them about the benefits of your product or service and, most importantly, what’s in it for them.
When you do this and use the techniques above, you’ll see your conversion rate go from average to outstanding in no time at all.