16 tips for writing effective website copy
Web Copywriting Checklist:
16 tips for writing effective website copy
by Herman Drost
Most website owners focus on getting traffic to their sites
to generate sales, leads or subscribers. They figure the
more traffic you receive the more sales you will make. This
is only partially true because you still need to convert
the traffic into buyers. Focusing your efforts only on
getting traffic is like throwing mud at a wall. Some of it
will stick. Your web copy must be able to convert visitors
16 Tips for writing effective website copy
1. What’s your USP? Your unique selling position is what
makes your website stand out from your competitors. When a
person first visits your website they need to understand
its purpose within the first paragraph. If it’s not clear
to them they’ll leave and go elsewhere.
2. Stress the benefits Most people visiting your site ask
“what’s in it for me” therefore provide the main benefits
of your products or services within the first few
paragraphs. Don’t make the mistake of emphasizing features
instead of benefits.
3. Be specific Writing in general terms will only bore your
visitors. Instead focus your writing on making specific
points. It will help keep your readers focused.
4. Use headlines and sub headlines When people read content
online they usually scan the web pages to find information.
Use headlines and sub headlines to breakup the content and
draw attention to the main points on the page.
5. Write short paragraphs Instead of trying to say
everything in one paragraph break your content up into
short paragraphs of five to 10 lines.
6. Use bullet points If you have several points to make in
a paragraph use bullet points. It will make it easier to
read by drawing attention to these points.
7. Include action verbs Text can be very boring to read.
Use action verbs at the beginning of your sentences to grab
your reader’s attention. Examples of action verbs include:
Discover, how, get, etc. Another way to get readers
attention is by asking questions i.e. “are you getting a
lot of website traffic but not generating any sales?”
8. Write in a conversational manner Writing “corporate
speak” or in third person tense (such as we or our) will
only result in turning off your visitors. When writing your
website copy imagine having a conversation with a person
opposite you. Try to convey that familiarity into your
content. It will help break down the barriers between you
and your visitor.
9. Make use of images Sometimes an image says it better or
a lot more than written text. Avoid using images just for
the sake of having pretty pictures on your pages. Only use
images to enhance your content.
10. Use white space A cluttered web page is very difficult
to read. Make sure you include plenty of white space
between all elements on the page. For example add 5 to 10
pixels of white space between an image and the content.
11. Use web safe fonts Not all fonts you want to use are
installed on all computers. Stick with web safe fonts such
as Arial, Georgia, Verdana or a combination of these three.
Don’t use Times Roman font for the web. It won’t look good.
Use it for print material instead.
12. Include your main keywords Search engines find your
content by the keywords you use. Before you write any
content do keyword research to discover how many visits a
specific keyword is receiving each month. Include these
keywords in your headlines, sub headlines and main web
copy. Make sure you also include these keywords in the
meta-tags for each page.
13. Make use of anchor text This refers to text that
contains a live link. For example if you were writing about
camping equipment and wanted to link to camping locations
on another page “camping locations” would be your anchor
14. Encourage interactivity Search engines give credit to
how long a person remains on your website, therefore
include interactive elements within your content such as
videos, images and the ability to leave comments.
15. Create a clear call to action Instead of visitors
reading your content and leaving, ask them to subscribe to
your newsletter, download a free report and/or purchase
your product or service.
16. Proofread your content Spelling and grammar mistakes
make your website copy look unprofessional. Get someone
else to proofread it before releasing your content to the
public. If you can’t find anyone, let it sit for a few
hours then read through it again. Often you’ll discover
errors you never saw the first time.
Effective web copywriting is not difficult. Just keep this
checklist in mind every time you write content for the web.
The more you write the better you’ll become.
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