Want to improve the written content on your website? Check out these suggestions that you can implement today—fast and easy!
Hi there! I'm trying something new: a Monday Micropost.
This will be a quick-hit resource for you to make progress on a very discrete challenge, task, skill, etc. What it lacks in depth and breadth, it surely makes up for with brevity and actionability. (And, of course, I'm trying to always maintain my content quality standards!)
Writing Good Webcopy
OK, let's dive in!
You want awesome, impactful website copywriting. Perfect aspiration.
Instead of a belabored definition or articulation of what is or makes GOOD and BAD copy, we'll go straight to The List. You should get the idea of strong vs. weak web writing from each item.
11 Tips for Effective Website Copywriting
Write to your intended audience. Copy should be written to about the 8th-grade level for general audiences (and maybe a little higher grade level for professional or academic commercial content). Avoid jargon (e.g., legal or medical terms) and acronyms (e.g., ASCII or AIESEC) that might be unknown or confusing to your readers. Do not assume your readers know what the heck you're talking about. Also, be mindful if your audience is global (i.e., geographically dispersed, speaks multiple languages, has different cultural norms and references). 👪
Make sure your writing stays true to your brand and message. The words you're committing to paper (er, screen) should support your values, principles and priorities as an organization. They should re-enforce people's concept of who you are and what you're about. So, if you're writing for children, for example, you probably don't want to have swear words in your content. 💗
Keep your purpose central. Make sure what you're writing aligns to the whole purpose of creating the communication in the first place. Are you writing to inform, or to promote something you want someone to buy, or to organize an event? Your writing should guide the reader to the action you want them to take. You want to arm the reader with what they need (and what they came to your site for) and mobilize them to take the next steps. 🎯
Be mindful of the platform you're publishing on. What you post on Twitter isn't going to be what you say in that homepage intro video. Different media have different requirements and constraints, and speak to different kinds of audiences in different ways. Adjust your copy to fit each accordingly. 💻
Keep sentences short and punchy. You still need to provide some variation in sentence length and structure to keep the reader from getting bored, though. Brief sentences are easier to ready quickly. And they sort of force you to use simpler sentence structures. Also, try to only have one idea per sentence. 🩳 & 👊
Organize your text logically (from the reader's perspective). Use headers. Make paragraphs short. Include smooth transitions. Make sure you flow from idea to idea in a way that makes send to your audience. 🧠
Format text for scanability. People often don't read as much as they skim. To help them latch on to your takeaways, use—smartly—bolding, italics, blockquotes, bulleted and numbered lists, etc. Make sure you have an H1 header and some H2 headers on webpages. 👀
Use imagery. Yes, I'm including this even though this is a list about copywriting. Because it's THAT important. Your words are more likely to be read if your page/post contains pictures, photos, video, graphs, charts, tables, etc. Adding multi-media elements strengthens your content. It breaks up the monotony of text blocks. It also makes your content more accessible to visual learners. 🖼️
Spell check before you publish! And use great (free!) tools like Grammarly. If you have tons of spelling and grammar mistakes (that make what you've written confusing or detract from your message)—I'm not talking about stylistic freewheeling, but flat-out errors—you will look unprofessional. This can lead people to wonder if you know what the heck you're talking about. Personally, when I see sites that are so poorly written, I think the writer/business doesn't care about or respect themselves or those who are expected to consume the content. They're wasting our time. So, proofreading and catching those typos before "going to the presses" is key. ✔️
Make the most of what you've written. You have taken the time to create amazing content—don't let it just die in unread anonymity! Promote what you're writing on multiple pages on your website (cross-linking is your friend!). Tweak it and repurpose it or announce it) on social media. Merchandise your content wherever it makes sense and reaches your intended audience. 📣
Be consistent with your writing. Establish an editorial or communications calendar—and stick to it. This accomplished three key things. First, it keeps you and your team on task and on time. You'll always know what content you're publishing where and when. Very helpful if you're doing a campaign across web, social, email, and so on. Secondly, it sets expectations with your readers. If they see you post a blog post once a month, and you continue doing this, you come across as trustworthy and reliable. Third, regularly posting content on your website (and across the internet) builds your reputation score and expertise in the almighty eyes of the search engines (SEO anyone?). 📅
Make It Easier to Create Great Content
To facilitate the tips above, I recommend creating the resources below:
Communications strategy and plan
Persona profiles for visitors, clients/customers, partners, etc.
Journey roadmaps for visitors, clients/customers, partners, etc.
Copy style guide
Branding style guide
Creative brief for each communications program and/or project
These resources are living documents (meaning they will evolve over time and will need to be reviewed/updated periodically). They're cool, though, because they make it much easier and quicker to create rocking web copy—especially if you have a team of people working on your marketing communications. Trust me: they are worth the time and effort!
Know When to Seek Professional Help
Of course, if you want help with any of this stuff—or to have it taken off your hands entirely!—call me. It's completely understandable that this might be outside your comfort zone or you don't have the time or mental bandwidth to dedicate to it. I'm here for you. 😉
Words of Wisdom, Crowd-Sourced Style
What webcopy tips would you like to share? How are you honing your site content? Do you have any tricks that level-up your writing? Who do you think are icons of fantastic digital copywriting? Thanks!