How To Write Effective Website Copy

Writing for the web is a skill like any other – and like any skill it takes time to master. But once do, you then have all the tools to write compelling copy that can help you to sell your products or services. If you remember all the basic rules of writing from school then you are already off to a good start, but remember that writing for web is not the same as producing a formal essay. You’re writing for people like yourself who want to be entertained and may have short attention spans.
Here are just some of the rules you can apply to ensure you produce really strong web copy:

Know Your Audience: Where many companies fail is that they have not taken the time to understand their customer base. It helps to do a bit of market research to find out what kind of content will appeal to them and how it should be pitched. This does not necessarily mean ‘dumbing down’, but it does mean understanding what their priorities are, what issues they may want to address and whether they would rather be spoken to formally or informally.

Keep It Simple: With the above in mind, unless your audience prides itself on its specialist, niche interests you should avoid using jargon at all cost. Most people don’t concentrate very hard on online content: they want simple, clear language that is easy to digest without having to think very much. Long, heavily worded sentences, even if they are ‘technically’ well constructed, will soon send visitors to your website looking for something they can process more quickly.

Grab Attention: People won’t past your first paragraph unless you give them a good reason to. So what do you do? Simple, come up with really attention-grabbing headlines for your website text and make sure you convey the most important information straight away. This is not a piece of creative writing for which you need to build up suspense: people just need to know straight away why your products and services are the ones to go for. So make sure your first sentences have a persuasive call to action and give customers an offer they can’t refuse!

Structure For Web: It’s not just about the content of your copy either: it’s about how it’s laid out on your website. Forget what you’re learned in the past about composing paragraphs. When you write for web go for short paragraphs (no more than one or two lines if possible) and use plenty of sub-headings. When people are scanning websites they tend to take in information much better if it is presented in small chunks. Haven’t you ever found your eyes quickly glazing over when you’re presented with a huge paragraph of unbroken text on a website?