Writing web copy isn’t like writing a white paper, academic article, or a ales catalog. In some ways, it’s similar to writing a blog…but different. Some of the writing strategies that make a good brochure work for web copy, but not all. Writing effective web copy may be more about knowing what NOT to write than what to write.
Identify Your Target Audience
Before you write web copy, you have to understand who you’re writing to. Who is it you want to reach? Who is your preferred prospect? Once you understand who you want to connect with you can concentrate on how to write to them. What is your audience looking for? What problems do they want to solve, and what questions do they have? Picture your audience as an individual. Talk to her as if she were sitting in your office.
Focus on the benefits
Most people don’t need or want pages of facts and figures, nor do they want a sales pitch on your products or services. If you want to keep visitors on your site, don’t tell them what your product does—tell them what it does for them! You can mention the feature (what it does) and the advantage (why it’s better), but if you want to reach people, focus on the benefits (what it does for them). Are you selling the benefits of your product?
Compel your readers to want more
There may be no more important website copy than headlines, subheads, and lists. The best of these are short and enticing. Think back to your target audience, and consider what they’re looking for, but keep in mind you only have seconds to capture and hold their attention. In some ways blog layout is similar to web layout especially with headlines, subheads, and lists. How to create compelling blog layout.
Don’t write too much
Keep it short and sweet. A web page isn’t the place to write the great American novel. Get to the point—quickly. In most cases it’s best to stay away from long paragraphs, exceptions may include customer testimonies and about pages, but don’t overwrite them. And please stay away from insider jargon and long multi-syllable words—use the simplest word. Want to be more engaging? Use smaller words.
Remember you’re talking to your target customer as if they were sitting across the desk from you. Don’t use stilted language. Don’t write like you’re an attorney presenting a brief. Talk to your customer–not at them, and have a little fun, show some personality.
After you’ve written the copy, edit it. Cut out every unneeded, superfluous word. Then edit it again for grammar and structure.
I’m not saying to keyword stuff your web copy to the point it’s awkward and cumbersome, but be sure to include the keywords your audience is searching for. If you’re not sure what those are check Google AdWords or search your product, then scroll to the bottom of the page and review related searches.
Writing web copy isn’t rocket science
But it is a science. Understanding your audience, and their expectations, shouldn’t be guess work. When the guess work is taken out, and the facts are documented, copy can be constructed to fit the needs, wants, and desires of your audience, and isn’t that what web copy should be about?
If you’d like some ideas on web copy for your site contact us, we’ll let you know the benefits of working with us.
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photos Alejandro Escamilla