Writing great copy is one of the most useful skills a marketer can develop. After all, copy is a key element of successful internet marketing across the board, from emails with sky-high open rates to blog posts that get shared hundreds or even thousands of times.
Masterful copywriting plays a big part in the difference between a website that converts like crazy and one that simply falls flat, failing to engage potential customers. Case in point: in Conversion Rate Expert’s redesign of the Crazy Egg website, copy had a big role in growing the site’s conversion rate by 363%.
This resource guide provides links that will give you a strong foundation for writing great web copy. In order to write effective web copy, it’s necessary to understand the principles of copywriting as a discipline. So, this guide includes resources that are not specific to online copywriting, but, nonetheless, will help you build a strong arsenal of copywriting skills you can take to the web.
E-books, Articles, Infographics, and Guides to Get You Started with Web Copywriting
1. Copywriting 101 by Copyblogger – This 10-lesson e-book will teach you the fundamentals of how to excel at direct-response copywriting, which is, as Copyblogger tell us, one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing.
2. Copyblogger’s Copywriting Library – Did you like Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101 e-book above? You can find more free material in the copywriting section of their Marketing Library. These e-books will show you how to use great copy in your content marketing, email marketing, landing pages, and more.
3. The Definitive Guide to Copywriting – This 30,000-plus-word guide from Quick Sprout teaches you how to optimize your copy to increase website conversions. It leads you from gathering the information necessary to write great copy all the way to understanding how copy and design complement each other on your webpage.
4. Free Copywriting Worksheets by Copy Hackers – These 16 worksheets will help you get started applying everything you’re learning about copywriting to your business and website.
5. The Ultimate 101 List of Copywriting Awesomeness: For Startups & Small Bizzes That Want to Write Sweet Web Copy… Sans Pain – Take your time reading through this list of 101 Do’s and Don’ts for startups that want to improve their web copy. Think about how you can apply each one to your site.
6. 20 Killer Web Copywriting Tips – Internalize these 20 web copywriting tips and you’ll be well on your way to writing great copy for your website.
7. Introducing The 6 + 1 Model For Effective Copywriting (Better Than AIDA!) – AIDA, the popular acronym used in marketing and advertising, left out a few key ingredients for getting people to read your copy and take action. Find out which ones.
8. 20 Websites With Carefully Crafted and Convincing Copy – Learn copywriting tricks from 20 websites that are doing it right.
9. Copywriting Cheat Sheet [Infographic] – Using the same tone, style, and length won’t cut it when you’re writing copy for various online platforms. Learn how writing web copy differs from copywriting for social media and from email marketing.
10. How People Read Online [Infographic] – Understand how people read online. For example, “Eye-tracking studies have shown that when looking at text-based webpages, the eye gaze commonly follows an F-shaped pattern and that users spend 80% of their time looking at content above the fold.”
11. Grammar Girl – Now that you’re writing all that copy, you might need to brush up on your grammar. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing.
Must-Read Books on Direct Response Marketing and Copywriting
12. Tested Advertising Methods – A classic book on how to write effective copy, from the headline formulas that really work to the secrets behind ad copy that sells.
13. Scientific Advertising – A quick read by advertising legend Claude Hopkins that will bring you up to speed on the psychology behind great advertising; namely, why certain types of advertising work while others don’t.
14. How to Write a Good Advertisement – Another classic on the core elements of effective copywriting.
15. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells – David Ogilvy has said, “I don’t know a single copywriter whose work would not be improved by reading this book.” So what are you waiting for?
16. The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand – Breaking down your product or idea into words that are easy for everyone to understand is almost always a challenge, especially if you work in technology. This book teaches you how to communicate clearly and effectively with your audience.
17. Breakthrough Advertising – Dense and quite expensive, this classic is best for those who already have read the books listed above and are looking for a way to dig even deeper into how to write effective copy.
18. Copy Hackers – Copy Hackers has a special place in my heart because the Starter Bundle is the first copywriting course I ever purchased. Technically, it’s a set of e-books rather than a course, but once you’ve finished going through the set, you’ll feel like you’ve just been through copywriting bootcamp. What makes the Copy Hackers e-books so effective is that they are jam-packed with exercises you can apply to your website immediately.
19. Conversion Copywriting 101 – If the quality of the Copy Hackers’ e-books is anything to go by, you probably can’t go wrong with this program on conversion copywriting.
20. Fired Up & Focused Bootcamp – This Copy Hackers bootcamp challenges you to block off one hour a day for 20 days to tweak your site and emails with the help of video lessons from copywriting experts.
21. Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting – If the sales page is any indication of the kind of copy you’ll be able to write after finishing this course, then signing up should be a no-brainer. The program teaches you how to write direct-response promotional letters, but the skills you’ll learn can be applied to web copywriting, especially long-form landing pages.
22. Copy Hour – Copy Hour challenges you to spend one hour a day hand-copying high-converting headlines, letters, web copy, and advertisements written by top marketers and copywriters. This is an excellent way to take your copywriting skills to the next level fast, but only do it if you are sure you can make the time for it on a daily basis.
23. Kopywriting Kourse – Learn the basic tenets of great copywriting, from how to form an effective email for a sales prospect to the no-fail process for creating content that converts.
24. John Carlton’s Simple Writing System – This course has been recommended by many seasoned copywriting professionals; just check out the testimonials on the homepage.
The Best Websites and Blogs about Copywriting
25. CopyBlogger – The hands-down best place to get high-quality free information on copywriting and creating great online content.
26. The Gary Halbert Letter – This just might be, as copywriting legend Halbert states on the homepage, the most valuable website on the entire internet. Here you’ll find digital versions of the letters Halbert sent to subscribers about how to master copywriting. Not sure where to start? Check out Ryan MacGrath’s top five issues of The Gary Halbert Letter.
28. The Copywriter’s Crucible – Matt Ambrose writes detailed posts on all things copy, from SEO copywriting to website conversion, video copywriting, persuasion, and email marketing.
29. AdCopyWriting – Tutorials, articles, and courses on how to improve your copywriting skills (with a focus on web copy).
30. Copy Hackers Blog – This is an excellent blog on all things related to online copywriting.
31. Bencivenga Bullets – The archives of Gary Bencivenga’s newsletter on how to increase your on- and off-line response.
32. Nick Usborne – Nick Usborne’s blog is an excellent resource for learning how to write for the web.
34. The Copywriter’s Roundtable – A blog about positioning, sales, online copywriting, and more by direct marketing copywriter John Forde.
35. Copywriting on KISSmetrics – Articles about copywriting on the KISSmetrics blog.
36. Copywriting on Unbounce – Articles related to copywriting on Unbounce’s digital marketing blog.
37. Copywriting on ContentVerve – Articles about copywriting on the ContentVerve blog.
38. Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer – Ready to have some fun with all that copy you’ve been writing? This free tool determines the emotional marketing value of your headline and compares your score to the industry average.
How to Write Amazing Headlines
39. How to Write Magnetic Headlines – Copyblogger’s free, 56-page e-book is a great place to start learning how to write better headlines.
40. 4 U’s of Web Copywriting: Tips for Writing Great Headlines & Copy – Learn how to apply the 4 U’s in order to write powerful headlines and copy.
41. Can You Write a Better Headline Than This? Not Using Old Headline Formulas You Can’t – “Without a good headline, no one reads your copy.” That’s why expert copywriters recommend you spend 80% of the time (you dedicate to writing a piece) on the headline itself. This post teaches you how to apply the SHINE formula to ensure that your copy gets read.
42. How to Write Headlines That Work – Brian Clark himself lays out the eight headline categories that have proven to work time and again in one of the most popular Copyblogger posts ever.
43. 10 bitchin’ tips for writing irresistible headlines – Headlines that get attention, like the ones in this article, are almost impossible to ignore. Discover ten ways to write better headlines for the web. (For example, did you know that one expert says the ideal length for headlines on the internet is 65 characters?)
44. How to optimize headlines using the 65 character rule – Now that you’ve gone through the 10 tips above, you’ll probably want to know more about just how you’re supposed to squeeze all your amazing ideas into 65 characters.
45. 9 Steps to Write Your Ultimate Home Page Headline – The amazing Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers shows you how to write the most important headline you’ll ever write for the web – the home page headline.
46. Avoid the Headline Holdup: Learn How to Unplug The Bottleneck in Your Business – Learn about the different ways headlines show up across the web (as blog titles, in search results, etc.) and how this should affect the way you write headlines.
47. How To Make That One Thing Go Viral. Just Kidding! – The staff over at Upworthy is known for creating insanely viral content. What is their secret recipe? Amazing headlines are no small part. Skip to page 24 to learn about how they write their headlines, although I recommend giving the whole thing a read. It’s packed with useful insights for content marketing.
How to Write Phenomenal CTAs (Call to Actions)
48. 21 Call to Action Examples and 3 Rules for Effective CTAs – Follow these three criteria for creating effective CTAs, and you’ll see your clicks skyrocket.
49. High-impact Button Copy – How to write calls-to-action that convert [VIDEO] – Button copy can make the difference between a bounce and a conversion. Learn how qualities like relevance, specificity, and positivity in your writing can lift your conversion rates.
50. 14 Real-Life Examples of CTA Copy YOU Should Copy – See how other websites use copy to create CTAs that compel visitors to click.
51. 6 Proven Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Call-to-Action Buttons – Stop being lazy with your CTA copy! Get creative with these six tactics for boosting conversion.
52. What Makes a Great CTA? 10 Examples With Test Ideas to Improve Conversion – Follow along as the author critiques the copy in 10 CTAs and suggests tweaks to test.
53. 5 Tips On Writing Compelling Call-to-Action Copy [SLIDESHARE] – Pick up five excellent tips on how to write compelling CTA copy in this slideshare by HubSpot.
54. The A/B Test That Improved Call-to-Action CTR by 211% – See how one SaaS company got a huge increase in conversions with a small tweak in the copy of an important CTA.
55. [Case Studies] How Failed A/B Tests Can Increase Conversion Rates – You might think that creative twist in your CTA copy will boost clicks, but don’t just decide on a hunch. Test, test, test alterations in your CTAs to make sure you’re putting the copy that performs best on your site.
SEO Copywriting – How-To’s, Tips, and Best Practices
56. 10 Super Easy SEO Copywriting Tips for Improved Link Building – Copywriting is not simply what you do when you write for your homepage, product sales page, or your emails. If you want lots of shares and backlinks, your blog posts also should adhere to certain copywriting guidelines.
57. How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines – In this e-book, Copyblogger teaches you how to write for search engine optimization. Hint: the secret lies in creating amazing, highly-sharable content.
58. Top 10 SEO copywriting tips for getting high rankings – These 10 tips will help you optimize your content for search engines, resulting in free traffic and happy, loyal followers.
59. How Content Length Affects Rankings and Conversions – As Neil Patel says, “If you want more traffic and higher conversions, you should consider long form copy.”
60. 6 Killer SEO Copywriting Tips From @Copyblogger – Copyblogger’s Brian Clark sat down with HubSpot for this podcast to talk about how traditional copywriting techniques apply to creating great content.
61. How to Craft Phenomenal SEO Landing Pages That Rank and Convert – Much has been said about how to create high-converting landing pages for PPC traffic, but what about optimized landing pages meant to drive and convert organic traffic?
How to Write E-commerce Copy that Sells
62. E-Commerce Copywriting: The Guide to Selling More – Most online retailers rely on manufacturer’s descriptions to sell their products, yet high-quality product descriptions have been shown to increase conversions by as much as 100%. Learn the basics of writing copy that sells your products.
63. 9 Simple Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell – Shopify knows a thing or two about selling online. Here they give you nine steps to follow for writing product descriptions that convert.
64. Mobile Ecommerce Copywriting: How to be a welcome addition to your visitors’ mobile experiences – What makes for an effective mobile e-commerce site is very different from what works on your desktop site. Make sure the product copy that shows up on your customers’ little 480×320 or 60×120 screens is optimized for the mobile experience.
65. The 4 Pillars of Ecommerce Copywriting – Learn the four pillars of e-commerce copywriting and how they fit together to drive sales.
66. 7 common copywriting mistakes in eCommerce – Make sure you’re not committing any of these seven common copywriting mistakes that kill conversions on e-commerce websites.
67. Teardown Tuesday: Product Detail Pages Are the Gateway to Your Cart [VIDEO] – Watch Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers tear down a product page in this quick video packed with useful insights.
68. 6 Steps to Selling More [Infographic] – Discover six steps to selling more with great copywriting on your e-commerce site.
Conversion Copywriting and Landing Pages
69. A Practical Marketers Guide to Writing for Conversion – A guide to turning information from customer interviews and research into copy that truly speaks to your target audience.
70. How to Write a Long Form Sales Page – In the fifth installment of the Copy Hackers e-book series, you’ll learn how to write long-form direct response sales pages for your business.
71. How to Write Web Copy that Converts – 8 Simple Techniques Based on 4 Years of Research – Understand the deep psychology behind these eight techniques that will help you write web copy that actually converts.
72. 10 Super Smart People Talk Copywriting for Conversion – Links to 10 articles on copywriting for conversion by the best of the best in the industry.
73. How to write copy that converts [Video] – Learn how Joanna Wiebe made a few tweaks in the website of an addiction treatment facility…and got them a 26% increase in conversions as well as a waiting list. (Note: you’ll need a Mixergy membership to view the video.)
74. Conversion Rate Optimization on Unbounce – The Unbounce blog is full of in-depth articles on how to improve conversion rates through copywriting and design.
75. Anatomy Of A Perfect Landing Page [Infographic] – Learn how your copywriting fits into the anatomy of a perfect landing page.
Whew! These 75 resources should be enough to get you started on your way to becoming a web copy samurai. Are there any other resources that you think should be on this list? If so, please share them in the comments below.
About the Author: Chloe Mason Gray specializes in digital marketing strategies for startups and medium-size tech companies. She currently leads the marketing team at the Big Data company Ondore. Be sure to say hi to her on Twitter. You also can follow her on Google+.