Top 10 tips for good web copywriting

With apologies to those who have read my stuff  in other places, here’s the first in an occasional series of me re-publishing my own content. I’d like to think it’s useful to have all my work aggregated in one place. Well, I say all my work, mabe not Metaphysical Racing or The Sweary Name Generator. But never say never…

Anyway, I wrote this one a couple of years ago but I think it still stands. Doubly so for social media even, particularly points 1 and 10. Enjoy:

Web copywriting

Good copy on the Internet can be hard to find. The skills people have gained in offline marketing don’t always translate cleanly to the web. Here are my top 10 tips for writing good web copy:

  1. Keep it short and simple.
    People read differently online. They scan, looking for information. Make it easy for them. Paragraphs should be no more than four short sentences long.
  2. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
    As with any good marketing, repetition is the key to getting your point across. It’s also vital for those all important search engine listings.
  3. Think about the layout.
    Good web copywriting isn’t just about supplying the text. It’s important for writers to understand the layout of the site. Is that enough words? Too many?
  4. Understand your audience.
    You can indulge yourself writing witty, tongue in cheek banter on a gaming site Your financial services audience, however, will see that as unprofessional.
  5. Write about the benefits.
    Your customer is already in the shop, they don’t want a sales pitch. All they want to know is “What are you going to do for me?”
  6. Use the pyramid system.
    Boil your key message down to headings and summaries. Then go on to explain further. Newspapers journalists have been doing it for years.
  7. Proof read.
    It’s so easy to publish content online that there’s a tendency to rush things out. By the time you notice a mistake think how many customers have seen it.
  8. Keep content fresh.
    Don’t just put your website together and then forget about it. Visitors will only come back if there is something new for them to see.
  9. Provide links.
    Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers. Linking to other websites will improve your search engine rankings and increase traffic.
  10. Focus on the customer.
    The Internet is a very personal medium. Visitors want you to talk directly to them. Don’t talk at them or over their heads. Keep it conversational.

The bottom line is that customers visiting you in the virtual world have different needs and expectations. Surfing the web can be annoying sometimes, for a hundred reasons and it’s important that your site feels like a reassuring place for them to visit.

It’s also important to think about the copy on your website as early as you possibly can. That way the designers and developers who build it for you can fit it all together properly. Leaving it until the last minute will lead to delays and extra cost as things have to be moved around to accommodate it.

Remember, there’s a lot of competition online. Give your customers what they are looking for on your site and they will return again and again. Make it hard for them with bad copy and they will head elsewhere to get it.

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