Good copywriting can do a lot for your website. It can mean the difference between getting a visitor and making a new customer, so it’s worth investing in the services of a web copywriter or copywriting agency. But what is it that makes online copy really work and achieve its objectives? Here are just 10 ways to improve your web copywriting.
1. Break your content into chunks – It’s important not to overwhelm visitors to your website with too much information all at once. Break your content down into bite-sized chunks by using separate pages broken down further with sub-headers and bullet points.
2. Introduce one idea per chunk – As a general rule, stick to one piece or group of information per chunk. This will make your content easier to read and scan at a glance.
3. Use bold, not italics – If you want to emphasise certain words, don’t use italics as they are often difficult to differentiate from normal text on a computer screen. Bold text does a much better job of highlighting key points.
4. Write in an inverse pyramid style – Take a tip from news journalism and put the most important information first in your content. Follow this up with the next most important details, and then gradually expand on your theme.
5. Use a conversational tone – The web isn’t a business meeting. People respond well to conversational yet professional English. Do be careful of becoming too informal though.
6. Focus on a single goal per page – Don’t dilute your content by trying to cram too much into it. Each individual page should have a specific clear purpose, such as detailing your company’s background or outlining your product range.
7. Vary lengths – Keep the reader interested by varying the lengths of your sentences, paragraphs, bullet points and headers.
8. Write for your audience – In order to reach your potential customers effectively, you first need to know who they are and what they like. You can then adjust your style accordingly. The style of your copy will of course vary greatly depending on whether you’re writing for pensioners or single mums, for example.
9. Keep it simple – You have absolutely nothing to gain by making your content complex and difficult to understand in a bid to sound intelligent. On the web people value content which is easy to digest and that explains sometimes complicated subjects in simple to understand terms. Avoid jargon wherever possible, and never use a big word where a smaller more common one will do the trick.
10. Avoid clichés, hyperbole and screamers – Aim for a down to earth tone of voice in your content that people can trust. Phrases like ‘Best X ever!’ and ‘The only X you’ll ever need!’ generally ring hollow in the ears of web users, particularly if little evidence is given to back up these bold claims. As for clichés, they do little to enhance your content, and by finding more creative ways to express yourself you can give your copy a more distinctive and unique voice.