When it comes to writing web content, you want your copy to capture the attention of potential customers. You want to create a level of engagement where they trust in your services and are prepared to establish a lasting, working relationship.
Yet how do you go about writing web content that both catches the eye and sticks in the mind? That engages visitors and encourages them to respond in the way you want?
The trick is incorporating the tips below on how to write for the web, and making them work for you.
Ten Unmissable Tips To Follow When Writing Web Content
Tip One: Don’t Treat Your Web Copy Like Printed Text
Whilst it’s always important to understand what makes your web visitors tick, treating them the same as someone who loves to read printed text is a big mistake. Why? Because web copy is not read. It is scanned.
In fact, the average web reader spends as little as 5 seconds assessing a website. They don’t have the time to spend minutes browsing. Their goal is get the info they need and fast.
For that reason, it’s important that you make the most of headings, sub-headings and bullet point lists, so that users can pick out key information as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Tip Two: Lead With Your Most Important Information
You already know people scan rather than read on the web (we mentioned it above!), so you should realise that this makes it even more essential that your most important information is as close to the top of your page as possible.
Unlike an essay – where your most important points are listed in the conclusion – when writing web content it is essential that your product offerings, services and benefits are clearly identifiable at the start so there is no confusion over what you can do for them.
If anything you should treat it like an inverted pyramid, starting with a basic statement about what you do/offer, before expanding into the details and providing them with background information.
Tip Three: Keep It Simple
Don’t try to be too clever or creative when writing web content, as it’ll generally go unappreciated.
Instead keep your statements simple, self-explanatory and obvious, so visitors can acquire all the information they need at a glance. Remember – your company is not the only one they are considering – so no matter the temptation to incorporate clever phrasing, don’t do it.
Tip Four: Aim For The Quick Glance (AKA Write For Scanners)
Only 16% of people take the time to read whole web pages word-for-word. The rest simply scan and review your site at a quick glance.
This is why you need to ask yourself the following questions whenever posting online:
- Does your headline clearly communicate who you are, what you’re offering and what you’re about?
- Do your sub-headers summarise your key points/benefits?
- Do your bullet points work to reduce the length and ‘wordiness’ of your copy?
Tip Five: Be Wise With Your Keyword Choices
When searching for a product/service with a particular goal in mind, our eyes are naturally drawn to particular keyword phrases.
For instance, if you’re looking to go on holiday, your searches will consist of cheap travel options and hotels. Your word choices will focus on location, expenses and ultimately your needs.
This is the same of your potential customers. They will go onto Google with particular search terms in mind, and will base their decision on which website best caters to their goals.
Taking all this into consideration, we recommend utilising Google’s Keyword Tool to help you research the most popular search terms used by your customers, so you can then integrate them into your copy and target the right audience.
IMPORANT TIP: Do NOT overstuff your copy with too many keywords. Search engines are smarter than you think and know when you’re trying to artificially boost your page rank. Overstuffing leads to penalties, which leads to you being harder to find online. It’s not worth it. Instead choose one or two keywords and write great content around them.
Tip Six: Treat your Web Visitors Like Lazy People
As we’ve previously mentioned, web visitors have not got the time to read, nor do they want to invest that much effort until they are certain you are the one.
For that reason, try to make your copy easy to read and understand:
- Keep paragraphs and sentences short
- Avoid unnecessary words and jargon
- Don’t use passive tenses
- Try not to repeat yourself (unless for deliberate effect!)
- Always address your visitors directly with the use of ‘you’
Tip Seven: Be Realistic About Your Visitor’s Journey
Not every visitor will arrive on your home page. Bear in mind that depending on their needs and what they have searched for, they may click-through to a different page on your site.
Because of this, treat every page on your website as a potential entry point. Make sure they are easy to scan and that the key takeaways are clearly presented.
Similarly, each web page should contain a call-to-action that directs users to the next stage of their journey – whether it’s to a different page, signing up for your email newsletter or making a purchase.
PRO TIP: To see how people arrive at your website, go onto Google Analytics, select site content and then landing pages.
Tip Eight: Aim To Make An Impression
Successful websites don’t just focus on the written content. It is about a user-centric design too. But, it is how your copy and content sit within your design that is the true challenge as poor layouts will make things hard to read and deter visitors. You should try to strike a balance between content and design to make your website as appealing as possible.
Failure to recognise the impact web design can have on the readability of your text can seriously damage how your site is perceived.
To help you achieve the right balance, we recommend the following:
- Replacing text with photographs and videos where possible
- Using different font sizes (headers and sub-headers are traditionally bigger)
- Emphasising quotes/testimonials with coloured boxes or different fonts
- Playing around with bold text, CAPITALISATION and italics to highlight key/important points (don’t go overboard)
- Breaking long headlines into shorter ones and following them with a sub-headline
- Swapping paragraphs for bullet points where possible
At the same time, try to de-clutter your page and introduce more white space. This will make it easier to read, scan and understand.
Tip Nine: Don’t Try To Be Something To Everyone
FACT: You can’t win over everyone, so forget the extensive vocabulary and fancy words. Instead remember ‘who you are’ and be confident in what you do.
Your content is the ambassador for your company – so keep it simple, keep it concise and be specific. Not everyone is an academic.
Tip Ten: Keep Your Site Error Free
There is nothing more off-putting when reading web copy than tripping over spelling errors, poor grammar and bad formatting. So, before you even think about publishing any content, read and re-read the draft of your proposed content to ensure there are no silly mistakes.
If you can get someone else to proofread/edit your website copy – perfect. This will add a valuable fresh perspective. If you can’t find an outside party, then try not to write and edit on the same day. Instead put it away overnight and read it anew with fresh eyes the next day. This will allow you to spot unwanted gaps in your copy and make the appropriate amendments.
If you’re unsure on spelling or a word’s correct usage, then use sites such as Dictionary.com. This handy tool will stop you from using words in the wrong context and also help you to avoid meaningless buzzwords.
Writing Web Content: Bringing It All Together
Combine these top 10 tips with relevant, valuable content and you have got all the ingredients for creating eye-catching content that converts.
Just remember: stay on topic, write for your audience, use keyword research wisely and avoid simple mistakes. Do all this and you too can make a lasting and memorable impression on your website visitors.