Effective copywriting for the web10th February 2012 / All, How To
When you come to write copy for your website you need to adopt a different mindset than if you were writing a brochure or newsletter. One of the key principles when copywriting for the web is to keep your copy short. People are happy to read lots of text in brochures, newspapers or magazines, but they are less prepared to sit and read reams of copy on web pages. People like to surf quickly from one site to another and tend to skim read bits of copy to get the information that they need.
Quality not quantity
A general rule of thumb is to keep it very succinct and aim to draft just 50 percent of the amount of copy that you would normally write if you were producing a brochure. If the web pages are too wordy and the reader needs to keep scrolling down, they are likely to lose interest before too long and look for another site.
If you want to provide the reader with more in depth, it is best to do this by providing hyperlinks to another page, or pop up box, where they can read more about a subject in greater detail if they want to do so. In this way, you are not forcing all visitors to have to read through the details of something that might only be of interest to a small number of people.
Another useful tip is to break up your text using sub-headings, so that the reader can rapidly scan down the page and find the information that he or she wants. This is one of the reasons why it is always handy to have a Frequently Asked Questions page as well, so that the reader can find the answers to their questions and be directed to the relevant page on the website. Always try to put yourself in the reader’s position and think about what it is that they really want to know.
Optimise copy for search engines
Web designers will tell you about the importance of putting keywords into meta-tags. These are effectively hidden words that tell search engines what a site is about. However, over the years meta-tags have been abused by web builders trying to ensure that their sites come up near the top of rankings, so search engines also look for the actual content of the pages, so you need to ensure that the keywords you would use to describe your business in the meta-tags are also featured in the actual body of the copy. The skill is to find a way of repeating the key words and phrases in a way that doesn’t appear to be contrived to anyone who is reading the pages.
Say what you are going to say and then say it
When trying your hand at copywriting for the web, it is important to get across the essence of what you want to say in the first paragraph, in the same way that an article in a newspaper does. Many people just like to skim read quickly, especially if they are searching to find products and service, and using this technique will ensure that even if they just glance over your site, they should be able to understand exactly what you are offering.
If you’re looking to get serious results out of your communications, you might want to consider hiring the services of a professional. Writing about your own business is no walk in the park, but thankfully there are plenty of writers out there specialising in B2B copywriting. They’ll be able to communicate your brand, your products or services, and most importantly, they’re equipt with the skills to tailor copy to suit a wide variety of platforms, including the web.
For more on this, read Why Use a B2B Copywriter?
If you would like to find out more about the web copywriting services we can provide at Nellie PR, please contact Ellen Carroll.