How to Write Web Copy for Your Designer

Your company is working with a designer. You’ve decided to write the website yourself. See how to deliver “design copy” that saves time and money.

A Nine-Minute Read

Why do you need the "Design Copy" guide?

Web design and copy are interlinked. Your copy’s structure and length will impact the website’s appearance. Similarly, the site’s design elements — like the font, size, and position of a headline — will affect how users experience the copy.

So, this guide will help you write for the designer you’ve hired AND:

  • Get a site that’s more beautiful, readable, and brand aligned.
  • Limit revisions so you can spend your time on other tasks.
  • Stay on schedule for your website’s launch.

All of that in nine minutes? What's the catch?

This guide won’t help you research, strategize, write, search optimize, or test your website’s copy.

We’ll assume you have those essentials of copywriting covered.

Instead, the guide focuses on PROCESS: steps to take and missteps to avoid with the copy that you give to your designer.

Follow this advice for a great-looking website, an efficient design process, and a timely launch.

Want a shortcut?

Have a professional copywriter handle your entire project, from “kick-off” to “go-live.”

Good news! There's a template.

At the end of this guide is a template that you can use to integrate everything you’ve learned.

(If you’ve already read this guide and just need the template, you can warp ahead.)


Okay. You're ready to get started with...

Six guidelines for writing "design copy"


Plan to write all-new copy (or to revise your old writing significantly)

New copy can boost your leads and sales

If your previous website wasn’t performing well, the copy may have been part of the problem.

Updating your web design AND writing new and better copy can improve your conversion rate.


You don't want to be "Dr. Frankenstein"

Let’s say your designer is planning an easy-to-read layout: brief headings and paragraphs, sections with columns, and a clear call to action.

However, your old copy has a single heading followed by several dense paragraphs.

You or your designer would need to chop up the old copy to fit the new site’s design. That approach would make it hard to create a cohesive, effective result — instead of a monster.

The alternative: use new copy that compliments the layout.

Old copy may not reflect current realities

Your company’s products, services, and markets may have changed over time. Just as importantly, the needs of your audience may have evolved.

Researching and writing all-new copy will let you address these fundamental shifts.



Decide together who will implement the copy

Will it be the designer?

This is the most common approach. It lets the designer make changes to the site based on the copy’s purpose and structure. Provide your writing in an editable document format. Typically, this means a Microsoft Word document or a Google doc.

Will it be your responsibility?

If so, you will need to know how to access the site and enter the copy. The designer may be able to offer training or resources for this step.

Are you transferring over some of your old content?

For example, you might want to move your blog posts and product descriptions to the new site. Find out if your designer can automate this process.


Establish the process you'll use for combining design and copy

There are different ways to sequence design and copywriting. Define your process in advance to keep your site's launch on track. Some options:


Before creating layouts or writing a single sentence, the designer and copywriter develop a strategy for the site. They use research to decide:

The website’s brand and the voice of the copy

How the site will lead visitors to conversion

The general layout and goal of each webpage

Design first

The designer finishes the website using placeholder text. After it’s complete, the copywriter begins writing, following the length and structure of the placeholder text.

Copy first

The copywriter finishes all of the writing for the website. After it’s complete, the designer begins laying out the pages, following the length and structure of the copy.

When possible,

use a collaborative approach

Sure, it requires more planning and communication, but it lets you:

  1. Complete your work simultaneously. Neither you nor the designer has to wait to get started.
  2. Avoid the revisions that come from trying to fit the design with the copy.
  3. Get design and copy that are aligned in their voice, brand, and strategy. The result is a higher chance of converting your visitors.


Know if you need to write more than headings and body copy

You may also need copy for elements like:

  • Links
  • Buttons
  • Product specifications
  • Form instructions
  • Confirmation / error messages
  • Meta tags to help bring web searchers to your site

Determine with your designer what your site requires and who is responsible for providing this additional copy


Make it clear which headings are at which level

A heading is a line of copy that comes before a content section. Headings help people find, understand, and see value in the information on a page.

Copywriters often refer to the top heading as a “headline” and the other headings below it as “crossheads.”

Check out this example:

Here's some heading copy for you

Let's put another heading here

Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here.

We could also have a heading here

Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here.

Howzabout a heading in this area?

Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here. Paragraph goes here.

Even without reading, you could guess that:

  1. “Here’s some heading copy for you” introduces a topic.
  2. The italicized headings go into details of that same topic. They are more specific.

You can assume this because the italicized headings all come after “Here’s some heading copy for you.” Plus, they share a similar style of weight, size, and, of course, italics.

The relationship between broader and more specific headings is called "hierarchy"

On a webpage, broader headings have higher levels. Heading 1, or <h1>, is the highest level. It should only appear once on the page, at the top. <h6> is the lowest level.

Designers style each heading level in a different way. In general, higher-level headings are bigger and more noticeable.

Ways to explain your hierarchy to your designer

As the copywriter, you convey the level of the headings so the designer can style them consistently. Options:

Use the “styles” feature in a word processing program

styles formatting

Manually give higher-level headings a larger font

High-level heading

Lower-level heading

Paragraph copy

Type the code before and after a heading



Paragraph copy


Communicate how you think the copy should appear on the webpage

If you write this:

bird 1

But you want this:

You might end up with this:

So, show what you mean

As the copywriter, you might intend for a certain phrase to be a heading, a caption, or copy in a button. You can communicate your intentions in several different ways:

Lay out your copy doc with tables and styles

Include section headings (e.g. “hero section”).

Add comments suggesting placement

The designer may choose a different approach to accomplish the same goal

It’s important for a copywriter to communicate intention. However, designers should have the freedom to make design decisions.

After all, clients hire designers based on their experience, training, and knowledge of best practices.

So, it just makes sense to trust them.

Here's how you can get started RIGHT NOW with design copy

If you plan to write the website yourself, you’ll need a copy document.

So why not start with a free template?

More than a basic Word document or Google doc, your design copy document is going to include all of the crucial details your designer needs:

  • Webpage, URL, and meta data for every page you create
  • Notes to explain your copy so your designer knows exactly how to use it
  • Layout tables and sample copy blocks. That way, you don’t have to spend time getting your alignment and indentations just right

Download the template for design copy

Thanks for reading

How to Write Web Copy for Your Designer​

by Kevin Preis

Want a partner for customer-winning web copy?

You need more than a great process for working with a designer. Like:

Company and customer research so you know what drives conversion

Website architecture to take the guesswork out of the visitor’s journey

Search engine optimization to increase your visibility in search results

Copywriting that defines your value, draws prospects, and drives sales


XC Consulting: Website


XC Consulting


Website Copywriting, Architecture


“Working with Kevin and Augmental was a cathartic experience.”

“Together, we refined my company’s purpose, points of differentiation, and audience. I’ve been amazed at how well he captured what my company does.”

Xavier Chang


XC Consulting

XC Consulting works with business leaders to define and improve their company’s processes. The consultancy approached Augmental for help engaging and converting more of the prospective clients who visit its website.

To achieve this objective, Augmental:

Performed research and client interviews. This analysis allowed Augmental to identify areas for improving the site.

Worked in partnership with D.Hill Design to recommended changes to the site’s structure, user experience, and messaging. This included simplifying navigation to encourage conversion.

Used a problem-agitation-solution approach to rewrite the homepage. Augmental re-centered the content to make the website visitor the “hero” of the story.

Re-wrote the “Services” webpage and other site pages to clarify what clients can expect and to demonstrate the value of the consultancy’s offerings.

Wrote new case studies to add authority and trustworthiness to the consultancy.

I can help your company with a project like this.


How to Write Web Copy for Your Designer


I can help your company with a project like this.

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