Here’s The Very First Thing You Should Do Before Writing Your Website Copy

You made your website and wrote your copy once in a blue moon as you quickly had to get something up. But now it’s time to professionalize it.

Your business is becoming more than just a side hustle and you have to attract investors, partners, get more clients, or find customers.

What you say on your website, and how you say it, matters. It paints a picture of you, what you do for others, and how serious you are.

But while it’s tempting to focus on coming up with fancy words and metaphors, there’s one thing you should do before writing anything.

Because if you don’t do this, your website can be the most beautiful and easy to read, but it won’t help your business much.

 

Figure out what’s most critical for your business to succeed

The very first thing you need to find out: what’s most critical for your business to survive? And to achieve that: who should take what action?
Knowing this will help you determine:

  1. Who you need to reach first with your website, and
  2. What action you should nudge them to take.

Because, yes, your homepage doesn’t have to be hyper-targeted like a landing page. But you still need to structure the information, and in that process, you’ll need to make choices.

It’s why many web copywriting gurus like Henneke Duistermaat say you need to write your website with one customer in mind. To be clear: a person. Not “mid-sized companies looking to improve their digital product development process”.

Because you need to determine:

  • What tone of voice you’re going to use
  • What your CTA will say
  • What the tagline on your contact form will be
  • And what you’re going to emphasize on your website (Success numbers? Your mission?)

And while for many established companies the main goal is clear, for startups or companies in complex industries it might be different. Your business model could depend on several target groups. Like investors, partners, and B2C customers.

That’s when you need to pin down: who is most important to reach right now? And how can you optimize your website to achieve that, without alienating other target groups? It’s a difficult one, but necessary.

 

What this looks like

Here are examples of changes you could make to your website, depending on the target audience you’re trying to reach:

  • Looking for investors? Make sure you mention the stage you’re at, what you need, and hard numbers + other promising signs of future success.
  • Looking to attract partners? Be clear on your strategic direction, mention your partnership model and what’s in it for them.
  • Looking to get new users? Mention features, pricing, and make it as easy as possible to sign up with a big Sign Up button.

To make clear: your website should and tell what your product does and feature your story and concrete numbers.

But knowing who you need to target first will help you determine:

  1. What to emphasize
  2. How to structure your content to do so
  3. And what metrics to pay most attention to when measuring the success of your website

 

But what if everything seems important?

Now, what if you’re thinking “but I need to reach EVERYONE for my business to succeed! There’s not one target group that’s more important than another.”

In that case, it’s helpful to think about it in terms of business impact. Who do you absolutely need to reach for your business model to work? Or: who are the ones that, if they are not interested, you have to change your entire idea?

Because if you can’t reach them, you’ll have a long road ahead…

 

Website copy: a means to an end

Yes, your website copy should be clear, engaging, and pleasant to read.

But at its core, it’s about getting people to take action.

And if it doesn’t reach the right people and makes them take the right action, it’s not going to help your business a lot.

That’s why, before writing your website copy or hiring a copywriter, you should always define your top business goals first.

Because text quickly becomes vague, difficult to read, and boring if it tries to convey too many ideas at once.

So you want the things that you can say to benefit your company as much as possible. Only then it’s time to start thinking about those fancy words and bring out your thesaurus.

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