Tips for Writing Great Website Content
Your website content is probably one of the most important pieces of your website. If properly executed, website copy (amongst other things) affects your search engine ranking, it provides a first impression to many customers, and it provides information in an accessible way.
So what’s the secret to writing good website copy?
Before we jump too far, there’s a few things you should know about website copy and visitors to your website:
- Web copy is scanned and glanced at. Not fully read.
- People are lazy when it comes to reading website content.
- Expect people to arrive anywhere on your website. Through search engine, links and social media, people can land on any page of your site.
- There are other factors that affect your content such as a clear, understandable sitemap and website structure, proper hierarchy and so on.
With that in mind, let’s dive in and look at some tips.
Put your most important information first.
As soon as people come to your website, tell them the first thing they need to know. Tell them the big picture, what do you do, or more importantly, what can you do for them. Your website is essentially their first impression.
Especially if people land on any page of your website, it's always nice to give an overview/introduction at the start of each section so they get the big picture.
Don’t beat around the bush.
Like I mentioned earlier, people are lazy when it comes to reading web pages. When you explain why your company is uniquely qualified to help your customers, be concise and to the point. Users don’t want to dig to understand what you’re talking about.
The same thing can be said for being clever. Don’t try to be clever or creative. Cleverness requires people to think.
Write content in an easy to digest way.
You want to write for all the scanners and skimmers out there. That means:
- Keep sentences short
- Use short paragraphs, four sentences max
- Use clear headlines to communicate what a section is about
- Use clear imagery relating to your messages
- Use subheads to summarize key points
- Use bullets for easy-to-scan points
Make your content search engine friendly
Having keyword-rich headings and subheadings will also make you copy more search engine friendly.
Some quick tips for keeping your content search engine friendly:
- Include relevant keywords throughout your text
- Include keywords in headings/subheadings
- Build links: Have links in your body text going to other pages on your website, use keywords in links, and don’t be scared to link to external websites
Use simple and familiar words.
Sometimes, in your industry, you might use specific terminology for things, but likely the general public isn’t familiar with these words. It helps to use Google’s Keyword tool to get an idea of what people are searching for.
If you do have more complex terminology for your industry, you might have to simplify the terms or explain what they are.
Check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
This can make you look unprofessional, so take the time to review your work. Tips for reviewing:
- Try printing it out. It’s always easier to catch mistakes when you have a physical copy in front of you.
- Have others review it (at least two sets of eyes should read your website copy).
- Try reading text backwards for spelling errors or read each word aloud. That way you really pay attention to each and every word on the website.
- Have a more robust spell checker on your system, something like Grammarly.
- Have a copywriter do the final fine-tuning.
Write for your audience
Who are you writing the content for? Who are the main visitors to your website or users of your product and service? Try making a user persona of what you think your ideal customer is, then try writing to them. A user persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.
To put together a user persona, try envisioning the following:
- Who are your users? (Think of age, level of education, job, where they work and live)
- What goals do they want to achieve by visiting your site? And why?
- What are some things they would be looking for?
Then, try being really specific and making a fictional character with these attributes. Here are more tips on putting together a user persona.
Use a genuine tone and voice
Just write in simple, conversational English. Sounding genuine and authentic will help you build trust.
- Use “you” instead of “I” to connect with your readers and put them first
- Use the same tone and point of view
- Provide relevant information
- Include a call-to-action on almost every page.
- Tell visitors what you’d like them to do next and lead them down that path. A good website design will have these designed and factored in, through clear user experience design.
To sum it up!
Hopefully this helps you produce great content for your website. If you're still in need of some guidance or help with writing your website copy, get in touch and we can set you up with a content document outline (a guide that tells you what to write about and how much copy to put on each page of your website) or a copywriter!