Creating Compelling Copy for Your Small Business Website

woman writing on laptop and notebook

It is vital to create compelling copy for your small business website. When it comes to your small business website, the words on the page matter as much as the design.

Not just to explain your offerings to your customers but also so Google and other search engines understand what you do. We need these search engines to understand our small business in order to be found in what’s called the SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages.

Quick note about SERPs

For Google, there are several different types of results.

Typically, top of the heap is where the ads live or what’s also called PPC (pay-per-click). These are easy to spot once you know what to look for (Ad or Sponsored) and where to look:

Example of SERP, Air Conditioning Bend Oregon, PPC

For location-based businesses, the next set of results you’ll see is the Google Local 3-Pack. We’ll discuss how to land here in a later post but essentially, it’s all about optimizing your Business Profile on Google (formerly called Google My Business).

Example of SERP, Air Conditioning Bend Oregon, Local 3-Pack

Next up are the Organic results, which are the results that Google has deemed the most relevant to the search request. And this is where you want your website to show up.

Example of SERP, Air Conditioning Bend Oregon, Organic Search

The copy for your small business website informs not only your customers of your products or services but also it tells Google if what you’re selling is pertinent to the words being searched. The more related the copy on the page is to the words being searched, the higher likelihood of landing on page 1 of the SERPs, which is goal number one.

Before we dive into the anatomy of creating persuasive copy for your small business website, let’s discuss the different types of copy.

Copywriting vs. Content Writing: Which is Right for My Website?

You’ve got your copywriting and your content writing – but what does each mean and do you need both for your business website?

Simply put, copywriting is to sell whereas content writing is to inform.

Here are some examples of the different types of writing you may need for your business:

Copywriting vs Content Writing

So, you absolutely need copywriting for your small business website but you may or may not need content writing.

Now while you may not need content writing, we heartily recommend devoting funds and/or time to the practice of creating content for the sole purpose of positioning your business as the authority on your brand and industry. We’ll dive into content writing for your small business website in a future post. 

Planning the Copy for Your Website

Every business is going to have different copywriting needs for their website. Selling products means copy is needed for product pages and for each product description. A service provider is going to focus their copywriting efforts on the landing (home) page and pages that describe the services offered.

Regardless of your industry, there are pages of copy that every business website needs:

  • Home Page aka Landing Page
  • About
  • Products or Services Page
  • Contact

And those pages will have their own needed elements. For instance, your home page/landing page needs to capture the attention of your visitors in seconds while your products or services page will have more nuanced and detailed information.

Part of the planning process should be an overall analysis of your business and how you want to present it to the world at large.

  • Who is your audience?
    • Imagining your ideal customer aka your buyer persona will help you answer this question. HubSpot has a handy-dandy ‘make my persona tool’ that’ll help you get those answers.
  • What is the tone of your small business?
    • Those in finance and law are going to have a more formal tone than a wedding planner. A wedding planner will use more formalized copy than an escape room business.

Having these components of your business solidified will make it easier to puzzle out the copy for your small business website.

5 Elements of Good Copy for Your Small Business Website

There really could be a never-ending list of things to keep in mind when plotting out the copy for your site but if you keep five key factors in mind then strategizing what’s needed will be a lot easier.

Your Website Copy Should Answer Your Customer’s Questions

Regardless of your business, customers coming to your site are going to have questions and your copy should answer every single one.

Of course, the questions you answer are going to vary depending on your business so let’s look at a couple of examples: a product-based business and a service-based business.

Questions Your Copy Should Answer for a Product-Based Business:
Example – Candle Line

Questions your candle customers may have:

  • What are the candles made of?
  • What are the available scents?
  • Where can the candles be purchased?
  • Are they available for sale online?
Questions Your Copy Should Answer for a Service-Based Business:
Example – Mobile Food Truck

Questions your mobile food truck customers may have:

  • What’s on the menu?
  • What are the costs of the different food items?
  • Where is the food truck located?
  • What are the hours of operation?

This is the easiest way to start generating copy for your small business website – ask the questions you know your customers will ask and the answers are your copy.

Anticipate the Needs of Your Customer with Your Website Copy

Besides the questions your customers will definitely ask, you should also anticipate the questions they won’t ask. In other words, anticipate the needs your customers may have that your business solves. Let’s go back to our examples.

Needs Your Copy Should Anticipate for a Product-Based Business:
Example – Candle Line

Possible need-to-knows that your customers may have:

  • What is the candle burn duration?
  • How is shipping cost determined?
  • Is gift wrapping offered?
  • Are custom scents available?
Needs Your Copy Should Anticipate for a Service-Based Business:
Example – Mobile Food Truck

Possible need-to-knows that your customers may have:

  • Are any ingredients organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.?
  • Is the food truck available for events?
  • Are gift cards available?
  • Is there any merch for sale?

When you anticipate any possible needs your customers may have that your business fulfills, you’ve got yet another opportunity to create more relevant copy.

Keep Your Website Copy as Clear & Understandable as Possible

Now this may seem, like, DUH, obviously you want to keep your website copy as understandable and clear as possible. But you need to think like a customer and not as the expert you are – you’ll want to make sure your content matches where your website visitors are in the buyer’s journey.

Customer Journey Map Chart

For instance, certain industries use acronyms or abbreviations that may not be familiar to an average visitor.

Let’s say you offer accounting services for businesses:

If your website visitor is in the awareness stage and coming to your website to educate themselves then it’s probably not a good idea to sprinkle your web copy with abbreviations like AP, COGS, ROI.

When your visitor is in the retention stage, using the acronyms for Accounts Payable, Cost of Goods Sold, and Return on Investment in your copy could work. The copy for a visitor in that stage of the buyer’s journey will read easier since they are likely familiar with these terms.

Of course, the best is to make all your copy as clear and understandable as possible for all stages of the buyer’s journey so if you do use acronyms or abbreviations, consider including both – Accounts Payable (AP), COGS (Cost of Goods Sold), ROI (Return on Investment) – in your copy. 

Make it Easy to Find the Website Copy Your Customers Need

While this tip isn’t specifically about crafting copy for your small business website, it is about organizing and arranging your site copy in such a way that your visitors can easily find the information they need to find.

When a visitor comes to your site, navigating their way around should be very easy and intuitive. Let’s go back to our example businesses:

Website Navigation for a Product-Based Business:
Example – Candle Line

Imagine yourself needing a couple of candles and you have two different websites you’ve come across.

Which website navigation is going to lead you to the copy you need to read in order to make a decision?



Website Navigation for a Service-Based Business:
Example – Mobile Food Truck

You’re hungry and know you want tacos so you check out a couple food truck websites.

Which website navigation is going to easily lead you to the tacos of your dreams?



tacos al pastor

When you’re planning your website copy, keep in mind the organization of the copy that your customers will have to navigate.

Don’t Forget the On-Page SEO for Your Website Copy

Part of the website copy planning process is ensuring all your SEO pieces are in place.

But, first, what is SEO?

SEO definition

And what is on-page SEO?

On-Page SEO definition

Okay but what does that mean actually?

Basically, it’s the practice of improving your site and the pages on your site so they rank higher in the SERPs. There are recommendations galore on how to accomplish this but there are some basics that are always advised:

  • Create content based on keyword research but, most importantly, keep the focus on answering reader’s questions
  • URLs should inform
  • Create intriguing title tags & meta descriptions {avoid duplication}
  • Optimize images
  • Include internal links

We’ll get into each of these in future posts but, for now, let’s give a quick summary of each:

Create content based on keyword research but, most importantly, keep the focus on answering reader’s questions

Like we talked about earlier, your website copy should answer your customer’s questions – the ones you know they’ll ask and the ones you should anticipate they’ll ask. But you’ll also want to be sure to focus your copy on keywords that are relevant to your business as well as the specific page.

And keywords do not have to be a single word. In fact, using a key phrase will “often drive more targeted and specific traffic to [a] website.”

There are all kinds of keyword research tools out there so really you can just take your pick. Google’s Keyword Planner is a good place to start and Semrush’s 12 Best Keyword Research Tools article is helpful.

Another easy free keyword research tool is Google Search itself. There are a number of places in a Google search where you can pull ideas for keywords:

Additional Words Carousel
Google SERPs Additional Words Carousel
People Also Ask
Google SERPs People Also Ask
Top Stories
Google SERPs Top Stories
Related Searches
Google SERPs Related Searches
URLs should inform

Before anyone can even get to your site, the first thing they’ll see is the URL and that can help a visitor decide whether or not they want to click.

Which URL tells you what the website page is about?

Not only does the top URL slug (the words after the last backslash – How to Make Candles) tell visitors what that page is about but it also lets Google know what the page is about. Make it easy for Google to find your site.

The URL should inform, of course, but not do so in an overly wordy manner.

Like Google says, keep a simple URL structure.

Create intriguing title tags & meta descriptions - avoid duplication

Every page on your site should have an SEO-optimized title tag and meta description. The title tag is the clickable result that’s under the URL. The meta description is the descriptive text under the title tag.

Sagebright Title Tag Meta Description

The most important piece of advice Google gives about title tags is to “write descriptive and concise text.” Google does not put a “limit on how long a meta description can be” but the typical recommend maximum character limit is between 150-160 characters, which does include spaces and punctuation

Optimize images

Search engines ‘read’ websites and that extends to images. There are a couple of places you can optimize your images so search engines understand your site.

Let’s say you have a coffee shop and like coffee shops do, you’ll use an image of a cup of coffee.

Cup of steaming coffee sitting amongst coffee beans on top of burlap

Avoid what’s called keyword stuffingcup, mug, of coffee beans java joe espresso latte decaf – as that could cause your site to be viewed negatively by search engines.

Include internal links

Think of your site as a web or network, if spiders creep you out, and the linking you do within your site creates connections from one piece of relevant content to the next. These internal links provide an understanding of your site for the search engines.

But, of course, like with anything SEO, you want to be sensible and not just stuff internal links here and there.

Your internal links should provide a sensical path for your website visitors to take and, ultimately, make the experience of being on your site useful as well as enjoyable.

Easy-to-manage SEO is one of the many reasons we recommend WordPress to our clients. All the suggested SEO tips here and beyond are crawlability issues that WordPress has essentially built into the platform.

To Wrap It Up

Whether you’re planning a new small business website or wanting to do a refresh, be sure to keep your copy in mind. The importance of the words on the page is equal to the design and navigation of your website.

If you bear in mind the five factors we discussed, you’ll be sure to create engaging copy for your small business website:

  • Answer Customer’s Questions
  • Anticipate Customer’s Needs
  • Keep the Copy Clear
  • Make Copy Easy to Find
  • Remember the On-Page SEO

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