How to Write Welcoming Web Copy

When you land on a website that you’ve never been to before, you probably make a series of quick subconscious assessments. Are you where you want to be? Is it easy to find what you're looking for? Do you feel welcome on the site?

Lots of things contribute to a welcoming web experience:

  • a clear sense of hierarchy on the page
  • a familiar navigation system
  • responsive design (especially if you’re accessing the site from a phone)
  • aesthetic appeal
  • friendly, helpful text

Think about your company's website. How is it doing in each of these categories?

Today, we want to focus on the last category: web copy. What can you do to make your text more welcoming? Here are a few tips:

1) Focus on your visitor.

We live in a post-trust culture. People no longer believe you when you tell them your company is the best, the most experienced, and offers services more cheaply than anyone else. So don’t make that your headline. Instead, choose to focus on your visitors. You’ll find this attitude of generosity more fulfilling, and your visitors will feel welcomed by it.

Don’t say this: Serving Chicago’s Premier Hot Dog for Over 27 Years.

Say this: Hungry for hot dogs? We’re ready and waiting to serve up your favorite American classics just outside Millennium park on the corner of Madison and Michigan Ave.

2) Talk about your "Why."

Again, we live in a post-trust culture. When you say your product is the best, most people won’t believe you. Instead, highlight your “why.” Why do you make your product or sell your service? What are the values that inform your product or service? Use your values to build common ground with your visitors. Simon Sinek says it this way, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.”

A good product is important, but it’s not enough. You need a why.

Don’t say this: We use state of the art kitchen equipment to cook our award winning meals.

Say this: We believe in the American Dream where hard work is rewarded. We're rewarded by serving you and you’re rewarded when you taste our delicious hot dogs. 

3) Keep it scannable and whimsical.

Are you reading this article or are you scanning it? Most people only scan the things they read on the web. By breaking your text down into sections with subheads and lists, you make it easy for people to scan and absorb content. And if your copy is whimsical, they might even have fun while they’re reading.

Questions to ask your site.

Do you think that your website needs a dose of welcome? Why don't you head to your home page and ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you talk about your "why"? Is it clear what you believe?
  • Does your message prioritize potential clients? When you talk about yourself, do you do it in a way that highlights a help or service for the visitor?
  • Is your copy easy to scan? Are there long chunks of text that need to be broken up?
  • Is it conversational? Whimsical?


Resources We Found Helpful: 

Simon Sinek's Ted Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

9 Simple Tips for Writing Persuasive Web Content  

10 Web Writing Tips