In order to gain the undivided attention of your website’s users, you need to write good website copy suitable for the platform. This short article here will give you a simple overview of what you can do to get used to writing good website copy that will not tire or exasperate your readers.
Why write good website copy?
I hear you ask: is it not possible to use the copy that you already have for that ready-made press release – or pamphlet you recently created – to save time? You can do that, because I can’t stop you from copying and pasting the same copy. But this would be a big mistake.
Having managed to actually get users to your website (which is becoming increasingly difficult as more people’s time online is on social media), you must strive to provide them with best possible experience.
Basically, when they come to your webiste, people want to achieve a task quickly and simply. They do not want to browse for long and guess where to find content that’s relevant to them.
Easy practices to learn
I probably sound like a stuck record on this website, but it is an important point so I’ll make it again. Before starting to create any piece of content, ask yourself:
- Who? Who is this content for? How is engaging with your content going to change their world for the better?
- What? What do they want to achieve on your website? What are the main tasks?
- How? What steps must they take to perform a specific task on the website? What kind of experience offered to them?
Consider these for a while. Please put yourself in the shoes of the user; think of a that website you use often. It is then easy to see the need to write good website copy to guide users to the right place.
The format of your copy
An essential part of your digital copy is how it looks on the screen. It’s essential that you use at least three things, namely:
- Useful sub-headings
- Short sentences, rather than long-winded, multiple clause ones
- Short paragraphs, no more than two or three sentences.
The aim here is to break the text up and make it easy on the eye, and to guide the eye of the user. People tend to scan (or scroll on a mobile screen) to find the correct information, rather than reading everything in a traditional way. Other techniques such as the use of lists and highlighting keywords also helps this goal.
The language of your copy
Use simple language, in the form of Plain English. If you use too much technical vocabulary, or vague terminology, then users will quickly get turned off.
This is not about dumbing-down or some sort of race to the bottom. There isn’t anything that can’t be expressed in a clear and concise manner without using jargon. Remember: closing a web page is much easier than reaching for the dictionary!
Getting straight to the point
A webpage should not be written in a traditional story format with a beginning, middle and end. Think of turning this on its head, and getting to the point immediately; you can explain the context and terms or conditions after that.
Writing good website copy is important
There’s nothing wrong with using your copy from another medium as a basis for your online copy. But if you do that, you must re-edit it for the sole purpose of using it on your website.
This sounds like extra work, and to an extent it is. But if your website is important to you and your users, then it is vital to spend time to do it right.
This article was a quick look at some of the main points for writing good website copy. Do you have any more good points that you can share? Please let me know in the comments below.