Content is one of the most important aspects of your website. The copy (words) you choose is the main vehicle for your message, which after all is the whole purpose of your website. Follow our top ten tips to help you choose your words carefully…
Capture your audience’s attention as soon as they reach the page. Consider what’s in it for them and reflect this in your copy. What will they get out of reading on? Use descriptive, eye-catching and thought provoking headings to lure them into the rest of your content; try using questions and relevant key words.
2. Keep it relevant
One good way to avoid waffling is to imagine you’ve just bumped into a friend you haven’t seen in a while, but they’re in a rush. You need to tell them something, so you need to get straight to the point. The average visitor stays on a web page for around 30 seconds, so make sure you tell them everything they need to know in that time frame.
3. Start at the end
Don’t make your audience have to trawl through paragraphs to find out what they need to know, because they almost certainly won’t. Start with the conclusion or summary, then use the rest of your text to elaborate.
4. Know your primary audience
Understand your target audience and write with them in mind. Use an appropriate tone and keep their needs at the heart of your copy. What do you have that they want? Give it to them or at least tell them how they can get it.
5. Consider secondary audience
Although you’re writing predominantly for your target audience, where possible, avoid using jargon that could alienate potential secondary and tertiary audiences.
Oh, and remember to always clearly explain/spell out any acronyms or abbreviations on all pages you use them.
6. Make it snappy
Stick to just one idea per paragraph and keep them short to break up the text. Remember that people typically don’t read web pages, they scan them.
7. Time to get personal
Using you, we and I adds relevance to your copy and helps to build a more personal, friendly relationship with your audience. After all, if you can’t trust your friends…
Wherever appropriate, use short bulleted lists rather than chunks of text. Most web users read the top two and bottom two bullet points before the rest, so put your key points there.
9. Proof is in the pudding
You’ll be the pudding if you don’t carefully proofread your copy, then proofread it again. If possible, ask someone else to do the final chek (oops).
10. Call to action
You have your audience’s attention, so use it wisely. Think about what you want your audience to do next. Make sure you offer clear calls to action. Here’s an example of a good one:
For more help with writing for the web, visit Group Dane.