How to write web copy

Not everyone who is good at writing is good at writing web copy. Writing web copy is a specific skill that requires a set of rules and techniques in order to make it effective.

Keep it simple

People who read a complicated book have chosen to do so in order to stretch their mind and to gain new ideas. Long sentences, complicated grammar and intellectual vocabulary is suitable in this instance. However, reading on a screen is not like this. It is more difficult to read something from a screen than it is to read it on paper.

Most people who are flicking through a website are not wanting to be challenged in the same way as they would when they pick up a book. You have to write for people who find reading difficult, people who have English as their second language, tired people and people in a hurry. This means that your grammar and vocabulary has to be simple and your sentences must be short.

Keep it short

Don’t waffle. You are not trying to fill a word count for a school essay, you are trying to communicate a message to a potential customer. Get to the point as quickly as possible and avoid excess words.

Break it up

A large block or writing is off-putting and hard to follow. Web copy must be broken up into small paragraphs and with appropriate sub-headings. Ideally a paragraph will only be a few lines long. Sub-headings help people to find the correct information quickly and help them to follow the text.

SEO-ready

Web copy must abide by the rules of SEO and therefore have appropriate use of keywords. You should decide on your keywords before you write anything and fit them in naturally. The reader should not be able to guess at the keywords, but search engine crawlers must be able to spot them.

Informal

Web copy does not have to be formal. Often companies prefer a more chatty tone. This is less intimidating for a website visitor and can help to turn them into a customer as the company feels approachable. Using the second person also helps to make a website visitor feel tempted to contact the company.

Branded

Web copy should be on-brand. Whoever writes your copy must understand your brand and your brand messages in order to write in an appropriate manner to fit in with all your other marketing materials.