How to Craft Compelling Website Copy: Tips for Success

Gerri Knilans
6 min readApr 15, 2024


Effective website copy can transform visitors into leads and leads into customers. Despite its power to convert, website copywriting is often overlooked for other website elements such as design, navigation, user experience, and SEO. In a marketplace where every business competes for online visibility and attention, the importance of well-crafted website copy cannot be overstated. Your website copy is the voice of your brand, conveying your message, values, and offerings to target audiences. It plays an important role at every stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to decision-making and beyond.

10 Tips for Successful Website Copywriting

To ensure your website copy resonates and converts visitors into customers, here are some essential tips:

1. Make It Scannable.

People don’t read text on a website; they scan it. That’s because computer screens are designed for viewing, not for reading. According to web useability expert Jakob Nielsen, people only have time to read 20–28 percent of the words on a webpage. Additionally, scannable content boosts readability by 57 percent.

To create scannable text, follow these recommendations:

  • Keep paragraphs short. Write brief paragraphs, two or three sentences at most and fewer than 200 words. Long paragraphs create a wall of words that people will rarely take the time to read.
  • Use concise sentences. SEO prefers sentences of 20 words or less. Break long sentences up into two shorter ones and look for words that can be omitted without changing the message. For example, instead of saying “In order to write more concise sentences,” “To write concise sentences” is just as effective with fewer words.
  • Highlight keywords and phrases with bold type. Keywords and phrases aren’t important solely for SEO. They help readers quickly locate important information on the page.
  • Use subheads. Most readers won’t be interested in every word on the page. Subheads break up content logically and allow readers to quickly locate the information they are seeking.
  • Use bulleted and numbered lists. Lists consolidate important points in easy-to-read “bites.” For maximum impact, be sure lists are well organized and stand out from body paragraphs.

2. Make It Legible.

Readability extends beyond clarity and conciseness. The easier it is for visitors to read your text, the more effective it will be. Consider:

  • Font size. Fonts should be common, so they are readable on a variety of devices, and no smaller than 14px.
  • Line spacing. Crowded text is difficult to read, so aim for line spacing of approximately 24px.
  • Color contrast. There’s a reason most documents are created with black text on a white background — it’s easy to read. Be sure the font color has a strong contrast against the page’s background. Not all visitors will have their brightness setting on high, so experiment with different brightness levels to ensure readability.
  • It can be difficult to scan text across a wide screen. Consider using columns but be sure they translate to smaller devices like phones and tablets.

3. Keep It Simple.

”Just because you can use big words doesn’t mean you should,” says Paul Chaney, writer, author, and founder of Prescriptive Writing. “It’s best if web copy is written at an eighth-grade level.” Use tools such as Grammarly, Hemingway, or Yoast to evaluate content for simplicity and clarity.

Chaney also suggests sticking to one idea per paragraph and keeping the word count low. Nielsen recommends that web copy be about 50 percent of print copy. “If you thought you could take the copy in your print brochure and reproduce it on your website, think again,” says Chaney. “Cut, cut, and cut some more.” The optimal length for a webpage is between 400 and 600 words.

4. Avoid Marketing Buzzwords or Complex Language.

Industry jargon, acronyms, and buzzwords can make web copy difficult to read and understand. In a business environment where authenticity and transparency are paramount, avoid contrived, flowery, highly technical, and gilded language.

5. Write for People, Not Search Engines.

There was a time when web copywriters had to focus on attracting Google’s attention for SEO through keyword stuffing, excessive backlinks, and other techniques. That’s no longer true. Writing for humans is best. Create helpful, reliable, and reader-centric content and deliver a positive “page experience.” Google will figure it out.

6. Engage Readers with Great Headlines.

Most people will read a headline or page title, but only some will read the rest of the copy unless the headline draws them in. Chaney suggests Copyblogger as a resource for writing more engaging copy. “One article, entitled 22 Surefire Headline Formulas That Work, offers helpful headline-writing tips,” Chaney says. Other tools such as Monster Insights, CoSchedule, and Sharethrough provide rankings for SEO effectiveness, emotional appeal, and originality.

7. Take a Lesson from Journalists.

Journalists know that focusing on the five Ws and an H (who, what, when, where, why, and how) is essential. They help writers address the fundamental questions that every story or piece of copy should be able to answer. In addition, put the most important details first — using what reporters call the “inverted pyramid” style of writing.

8. Write Using Active Voice, Not Passive Voice.

In grammatical terms, active and passive voice represent the relationships between the verb and subject and/or object in a sentence. People naturally speak to each other in active voice, but it can be easy to lean toward passive voice when writing. Active voice improves clarity and readability. Here are two examples:

Active voice: The boy bit the dog.

Passive voice: The dog was bitten by the boy.

Active voice: Steve mailed a letter.

Passive voice: A letter is being mailed by Steve.

9. Make Sure Your Home and About Us Pages Tell Visitors Who You Are and What You Do.

All too often, visitors head to a website for the first time and quickly exit because the home page doesn’t effectively communicate what a company does and who they serve. Your home page should feature your company’s value proposition front and center. A company’s About page is one of the most frequently visited on any website. That’s especially true for first-time visitors. Use the About Us page to share details about your company, including history, mission and vision statements, values, and leadership.

10. Never Edit Your Copy Yourself.

“No matter how well-written and edited you think your website is,” Chaney says, “it is always a good idea to let another set of eyes review it.” Ask peers, colleagues, or even family and friends to review the website with a fresh set of eyes. If that’s not possible, a tool like Grammarly or ProWriting Aid can help spot typos, passive voice, and other clarity issues.

A Customer-centric Website Is a Must

Before writing a single word for your website, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of target audiences, their needs, interests, behaviors, preferences, and concerns. Create detailed buyer personas and buyer journey maps for each target audience. Armed with this information, develop copy that provides value, offers solutions, and guides visitors to take action. Remember, when a visitor comes to your website, they don’t care about your latest news, new hires, or office mascot. They only care about themselves. When website copywriters focus on the needs and interests of target audiences, they can create relevant, engaging copy that coverts visitors into loyal customers.



Gerri Knilans

Marketing communications strategist. The right message. The right medium. Guaranteed.