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Seven tips for writing great web content

Your web content needs to do more than just present information. A website is your virtual sales rep, capable of spruiking your business or product twenty-four-seven. Great web copy (copy = written component) plays a huge part in engaging visitors’ attention, boosting your search engine rankings and reinforcing your brand.

Writing copy for your website is different to other forms of business writing. Why?Most people quickly ‘scan’, rather than read, web content. 

Visitors to your website are searching for information or products. They make quick decisions, so your copy needs to grab their attention immediately. Only when they feel they’ve found the right information will they stop and read.

People are unlikely to stay on web pages with a standard ‘we try harder’-type message – they want specific information that’s relevant to them. Consumers are always seeking the ‘benefit’ associated with a product or service. They want to know, ‘What’s in it for me?’ So when crafting your copy, be sure to always emphasise the consumer benefits. 

Here are a few more web copywriting tips to get you started:

Know your target audience

  • Why are they visiting your website?
  • What information are they looking for?
  • What problem are they trying to solve?
  • What benefits can you offer them?

Keep it simple

The sheer volume of information available on the internet means people rarely read website pages word for word. Instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. So keep the copy – particularly on the front page – clear, simple and enticing. The aim is to get visitors to click through to subsequent pages where you can present more detailed information.

Reader dropout rate:

  • After 300 words = lose 50% of readers
  • After 500 words =  lose 80% of readers
  • After 1000 words =  lose 95% of readers

Information hierarchy

Each page of your website should have a purpose. When planning the copy for each page, ask yourself ‘What is this page really about?’ Keep your copy on-topic and always place the most important information at the top.

Formatting

Web pages must be easy to read and get the point across quickly. The page will be scanned, not read, so write and set out your copy so that visitors can access the information at a glance. 

  • Use clear, compelling headings and subheadings
  • Break information into short sections
  • Split long sentences but retain a variety of sentence lengths
  • Use bullet points.

Headlines and sub-headings

Grab attention with strong headlines and sub-headings. Visitors will read these first and they need to be interesting and relevant enough to make people stop and read the content beneath. Keep your headers short, yet descriptive.

Get the tone right

Your website will showcase and reinforce your brand, and your writing style and the word choice will work cohesively with your visual branding cues such as logos,
colours and design.

Web copy should be friendly, conversational and inclusive rather than formal or technical, so ditch the big words and long paragraphs. People buy from people, so think of your website as a sales rep, chatting about your business. Your content should represent dialogue between you and the reader.

Wherever possible, include the word ‘you’, rather than ‘we’. This makes the copy more personal and quickly encapsulates the benefits you can offer, as shown in
this example from hia.com.au:

'By joining Australia’s largest national association for the residential building industry, you will access a huge range of industry products and business services designed to help you manage, operate and grow.'

Improve your SEO

When you are writing your web content, remember that you’re aiming at two audiences – your potential customers and the search engines. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a crucial component of all web copy as it affects your website’s placement in natural search engine results.

Search engines typically index a website based on keywords contained within the copy, but it’s important not to compromise the readability of your content by peppering it with too many keywords or by using keywords out of context. Identify the keywords that people searching for your product or service are likely to type into a search engine. Then strategically work these into your copy – ensuring that their inclusion remains relevant throughout.

Need more help? A professional copywriter can help you create content that incorporates keywords to maximise your site’s SEO.