Web Design: Tips for Effective Copywriting For Web Sites
Writing good copy for web pages is a necessity these days. Good web copy is unique, well written and interesting like any other written copy but with due allowance for the target audience, the nature of web pages and the requirements of search engines.
Make your Copy Stand Out From The Crowd
First and foremost: your copy must be worth reading. Obvious, I know, but most of the time this is not the case these days, the internet is overflowing with poorly written copy mostly written in the name of SEO.
Everybody now wants their websites to be prominent in the search engines, which is fair enough. As Search Engines generally respond better to more rather than less and are particularly influenced by links then in the name of SEO poor, regurgitated copy is published here, there and everywhere. But what is the point of attracting visitors through good search rankings if they are turned away again immediately by poorly written copy.
So stand out from the crowd, make sure your copy is worth reading, if not you are unlikely to get any benefit from your efforts.
People don’t read long web pages. Wrong – people will read what interests them if it is well presented.
It is often suggested to me that “people don’t read long web pages, they put them off and consequently they want short web pages with little content for their website”. This is just wrong and isn’t going to lead to an effective website. Most people will scan or skim looking for things that spark their interest and then read more when they spot something they are interested in.
So it is more about the way copy is written and presented than about how much there is. It needs to be easy to digest.
- We generally expect to find out everything we would like to know about a product or service, or business or trade or whatever by looking at websites.
- A couple of paragraphs is not likely to impress anyone looking to research you, your company, your services or products.
- Search engines are more likely to take interested in more substantial copy.
Your copy needs to scan well, interest and draw in the reader.
Capture interest immediately with a good title
This is where everyone starts so capture their interest quickly otherwise they will pass you by. So your title must grab their attention and promise them that your copy is worth reading. Spend time on this, it is the key factor in getting your content read.
Great content with a poor title just doesn’t get seen.
Good titles often begin with or include:
- How to …
- A guide to … (beginners, complete, quick, DIY)
- 10 top tips … (any number, handy tips, tricks, hints)
- Questions you should ask …
- A checklist …
- A review of …
- 5 best … (any number, worst)
Titles: Human readers v search engines – so which is it?
Sometimes there appears to be a conflict but there need not be if copywriters are prepared to allow for the basic search engine requirements:
- Titles are written straight-forwardly using the common language of the human visitor and searcher
- Including keywords people might be searching for
- Avoiding clever wordplay that a person would spot but a search engine would miss.
- Longer titles are considered acceptable – 2 or 3 words doesn’t leave much scope.
How to improve scannability with sub-headings
Sub-headings should be clearly visible, capture and interest readers, encouraging them to read your copy. So these headings need to stand out and inform amongst the body of your copy. Plenty of white space and short paragraphs will help the overall effect.
A wall off text will not get read – making it difficult for people is just going to send them elsewhere.
How to draw readers in with sub-headings
Sub-headings are teasers giving a taste of what is to come. The aim is to spark interest and get you to read more.
Think about benefits and rewards for your readers, what are they going to gain from reading your copy, what are you promising them? Thinking in these terms, peppering your headings with ‘teasers’ and the ‘promise of benefits’ to be gained allows you to create sub-headings that ‘motivate’ readers to look for the ‘win’ for them in your copy.
People are often looking for the answers to questions so make it easy to spot what they are looking for by relating to those questions in your title and sub-headings.
Can sub-headings appeal to people and search engines?
As with ‘Titles’, for SEO, you need to use words and phrases that people are searching for. So your headings need to be on subject and include keywords. There is no reason why your headings cannot therefore appeal to do both with a little thought.
10 Top tips for effective website copy writing
- Who is your target customer = focus on them
- Be yourself = People buy from people they like, can relate to, get what they are saying
- Benefits = Think what is in it for your prospective customer
- Be helpful = Freely provide information
- Questions = What questions will be in the mind of your prospective clients – provide the answers
- Keywords = What is the common language of your prospective customer – use it as keywords
- Create credibility = Show knowledge and experience, think reviews, get testimonials
- Clear message = What is your point? Make it obvious, get to the point fast – use clear headings
- Thought process = Walk your visitors through their decision process, then provide Call To Action
- Eliminate friction and confusion = Make it easy for prospective customers to decide if you are right for them.
You might also like to read:
- Optimising your Copywriting for Search Engines
- 10 things to write content about for your website
- What can you do with your website?
We aim to be friendly and informative, providing all the support and guidance you need to steer you clearly and effectively through the web design process and ensure that you end up with a great website.
If you need help with your website please feel free to give me a ring. Regards
Michael Spencer, Web Designer and WordPress Specialist.
firstname.lastname@example.org – 01263 722058
Epsilis Website Designers – Mundesley, Norwich, Norfolk and Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire