10 Tips for Writing Web Copy That Works

June 14, 2010 | Tips & Tricks

On the web, content is key. Apart from the design, there’s a textual aspect to creating websites that not everyone takes advantage of in order to generate solid traffic. Writing can be difficult enough, let alone for a medium like the web that is instantaneous and geared toward constant diversions. Here are some basic tips for writing web copy that will make a difference to your audience.

1. Keep it simple.

It’s probably one of the most difficult challenges when writing and designing, but constructing clear and simple content is the key to making your audience understand what they’re reading. When in doubt, try formulating sentences out loud or explaining concepts to someone who doesn’t know anything about them. It will help you extract the kind of information that’s so basic it can truly inform visitors to your website.

2. Play on words.

A sense of humor is a great way to engage readers and connect with them. Our everyday language is full of puns and poetry, so exploit it wherever you can!

3. Use words people use.

If you’re really interested in improving the visibility of your site on the web, write about things in the language that your users use when they search for content. When I visit a website, I’m (typically) not interested in reading an instruction manual. Save the technical stuff for your sub-sub-subpages.

4. Be yourself.

Write honestly about the products, services, and information you offer.

5. Use verbs before adjectives.

Verbs actively communicate content. Adjectives can be flowery, confusing, superfluous, unnecessary…

6. Build pyramids.

Ever noticed how newspapers tell you the most important information at the beginning of an article? When writing web copy, construct an inverted pyramid by summarizing at the start and embellishing as the text goes on. That way, most visitors to your site will get the point immediately and those who want more information will know where to find it.

7. Answer key questions.

What do your customers/visitors/community want to know? Instead of giving them a lot of irrelevant propaganda, satiate their curiosity with useful answers.

8. Titles aren’t just for the royal family.

Include relevant words or concepts in blog titles, page titles, anchor text, and so forth. Make them interesting. A great title will make Internet surfers click.

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