The 7 Steps to Great Web Copy.
The words you select for your website should be given as much time and consideration as the site’s appearance and design. There is little point in creating the most visually breath-taking website if the words sat atop the pretty pictures are uninspiring, misspelt or full of waffly jargon.
If you’ve been tasked with writing the content for your website, take a peek at the 7 steps below before taking to the keyboard:
1. Establish your website objectives.
Before you turn on your computer, consider exactly what you want your website to achieve for you and more specifically, what action do you want visitors to take? Whether this is ‘find out more about me’, ‘purchase my products’, or download my catalogue’, your overall objective will dictate how you craft your copy.
2. Identify your customers.
Can you identify your average customer? Or the type of customer you’d like to target? Your copy will need to speak to those people so ensure the words you choose are appropriate for the audience you’re seeking. Regardless of who you’re targeting, keep your content professional; not stiff but certainly not too informal.
3. Avoid hyperbole, jargon and bamboozlement.
The objective of your website should be to present your business in the best possible light and to turn that great first impression into a measured response, e.g. a sale.
The quickest way to fail that objective is to irritate your customers with inaccessible language i.e. language last used in Elizabethan court. You’re not looking to showcase your mastery of the English language nor demonstrate your enormous vocabulary. No one likes a show-off.
Avoid incomprehensible jargon known only to a select few and steer clear of hyperbole: nothing is ‘unique’ or ‘original’, unless you have actually pioneered something NO ONE else has.
4. Keeps things simple.
Visitors to your website do not need to know how much you love the Great British Bake-off or whether you have a Collie called Bruce. Neither do they care where you worked in 1975.
They want to be able to find out the information they seek, as quickly and as simply as possible, so save the lengthy bios for your autobiography.
A warmly written ‘about us’ page is great, but if not written succinctly, don’t be surprised if visitors fail to read beyond the fourteenth paragraph.Content on your website should always be accessible, simple and brief.
5. Capture the personality of your business.
Whilst your beautifully designed website will already be doing its bit to capture the essence of your business, the words you use on your site will dramatically affect how your business is perceived.
With the right words, you can encapsulate the atmosphere of your business virtually. You’ll want visitors to leave your site knowing exactly what you’re about.Therefore, write with spark and personality; and be yourself.
6. Check, check, triple-check your spelling and grammar.
Blindingly obvious? Unfortunately not. I frequently stumble across websites with misspelt words and incorrect grammar. The English language is a complex fellow and I doubt anyone out there truly has a full grasp of all the rules; rules which change over time. However, the basics of correct spelling can be simply mastered with an English dictionary and a teeny pinch of effort.
How will your customers feel if you can’t be bothered to cover the basics? If you’re unsure of the correct use of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, have a peek at one of the many grammar-check websites available.
NB: 1980s, does NOT have an apostrophe. Neither do 60s, 70s or 90s. This is a common mistake usually seen on pub posters advertising their ‘80’s NITE’.
7. Blend search engine keywords with sculpted copy.
As Google and pals suss out whether your website is worthy via the use of relevant keywords (terms entered into a search engine to find your type of business), your copy needs to be search engine friendly.
This is an enormous subject which will be covered in much further depth in future Cornish Pixel blogs. However, as a starting point, you’ll need to ensure you sprinkle your copy with cleverly placed relevant keywords.
For example, as we’re a web design agency in Wadebridge, Cornwall, our site needs to frequently mention the keywords someone enters when searching Google for a Cornwall web designer. But there is more to this than plastering our site with WEB DESIGN CORNWALL.
If you go overboard with the keyword density, you’ll put customers off. You’ll need to strike the delicate balance between sounding sharp and appeasing the search engine Gods.
Dissertations could be written on search engine optimisation, so keep your eye on the Cornish Pixel blog where future posts will provide everything you need to know about SEO.
Writing for the web has its own set of rules and if you’re looking to compete favourably in the online world, you’ll need to adopt these basic principles.
But if you’d rather eat socks than write your own web pages, drop us a line. As well as our Cornwall web design, e-commerce websites and SEO services, we provide copywriting advice and support. Visit www.cornishpixel.com for further information.
Thanks for reading. Please do leave a comment in the box below if you’d like to share any writing gripes.
Have a good day.