Many small business owners struggle with creating their website copy – especially for their very first website. I know that I did!

It took me literally months to scrape together the copy for my first website (the few pages that there were in it!) I agonized over it, studied other sites, and then ultimately wasn’t happy with the results.

I didn’t even get up the courage to put any text on my home page for the first couple of years of my business – just some graphics.

But, since then, things have gotten easier. I no longer avoid writing copy for my website, because now I have a few “secret weapons”.

  • The first thing that I did was to take some of the pages that I thought were pretty important, and have them professionally copywritten. I chose to do this with only a couple of pages on my site: my “About Me” page, my “About My Company” page, and my “Processes” page. I’ve actually changed both of the “About” pages since this, but, I’m still using the Processes page.

Sure, it was a bit expensive, and a bit of an undertaking in itself. But, once I did my research and found a writer with a style that I liked, and that I thought matched the personality of my business well, the process was really quite easy.

She asked me a few questions, and came back with some truly stunning work. I had a couple of changes, and then she handed the copy over to me to post on my site. It made me feel so much more put-together and professional to have those couple of pieces up on the site, and gave me an “anchor”–a frame of reference and a voice for writing the rest of the pages of my site in.

  • Next, I realized that writing online wasn’t permanent, and that sometimes just having something was better than not having anything on a page. So, instead of going for something permanent and completely finished (and driving myself a little nuts in the process), I just strive for something that will work for now, and is grammatically correct, and get that up there.
  • That way, the content is off my desk and working for me, and people can start asking me questions about it. Their questions ultimately let me improve my content to make it better address my clients’ needs. And, that makes for more effective copy.

  • I remembered the power of outlining. Now, the exact method of writing that works for you might differ from mine. But, I thought about writing all those papers in high school and college, and how it wasn’t a terrible experience (at least not as terrible as writing my website seemed to be at first). And, what I was doing differently with the website copy was that I was trying to sit down and write a page beautifully, from start to finish, in one continuous sweep. I was agonizing over each word, trying to make sure that I was choosing it correctly. And, that was slowing me down and driving me insane.
  • Another approach that works perfectly well for website copy is presenting thoughts and ideas in bulleted lists. They work particularly well because many people tend to In fact, I wrote this piece by outlining and then filling in all these bullets.

  • I gave up on trying to sound “business-like”. I had this notion that since I was writing business materials, I had to write in a very sophisticated way. It wound up bordering on corporate-speak sometimes – very fancy language, with big words and sweeping ideas.
  • But, I have a small business, and while I’m professional, I’m not necessarily corporate. I even got a few comments from my clients that when they got me on the phone and had a conversation with me, it seemed like they were talking to a different person than the one who wrote the website. And, that split-personality effect certainly wasn’t what I was aiming for. So, I decided to write more like I speak, and found it to be much easier.

  • I invested in a proofreader. While I’m OK with not having the most buttoned-down language on my website, I do want to appear professional and intelligent. So, I have someone make sure that all my commas wind up in the right places.
  • I got a business coach. My coach reviews pieces of copy that I’m unsure about and offers additional perspective and a voice of experience on many of the writing issues that I encounter.
  • I realized that if I was still struggling with a piece of copy, maybe it wasn’t time to add that page to my site. I don’t have to have every type of web page on my site right at this second. If I’m writing something and I get really stuck, then it might just not be time yet to have that page on my site – or it might not work particularly well for me or my business. And, that’s OK.
  • I hope you find these suggestions helpful, and that they start you off on the right foot for writing your website!