Top 10 Tips For Writing Compelling Web Copy

Writing for web is different to writing for print. We’ve distilled the following top ten tips for creating compelling web copy – drawn from over ten years’ experience.

Remember that when browsing the web, visitors want information. They are more likely to scan text than read it. Your job is to make that information as accessible and relevant as possible.

1. Put Key Information First

Put the most important information first. Web copy should clearly state the main point in the first paragraph – details can follow.

People are often put off by long articles. Brevity is key to web writing – which leads nicely onto one of our favourite quotes, attributed to everyone from Jane Austen to Winston Churchill – Apologies. If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.

When it comes to writing, shorter isn’t always quicker. Being concise is an art. If you must have a lot of text, think about telling people how long they can expect to spend reading.

2. Keep a Clean Layout

Use bold headings, white space and a clear structure. This will make your website look good and an attractive site means people will stay longer. Break up long paragraphs with subheadings – people will find the information they need faster. Remember that writing is visual – it hits the eye before the brain.

3. Use Simple Writing

Keep your writing plain and simple. Avoid complex vocab and keep sentences short. Aim for three sentences per paragraph – and definitely no more than six.

4. Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Keywords are the main subject of the web page. Get into the habit of identifying words people will search with. It helps readers find the content they want and pushes your website up the search engine rankings.

But avoid keyword stuffing. Overusing keywords to boost your SEO can damage your rankings – never underestimate Googlebots! Understanding keywords is important but making your writing sound natural is what matters most.

5. Actions Speak Louder Than Words

You might want to include a call to action (CTA). They don’t always promote products or service – they can signpost new resources. Being clear about what you want from your page will help you put the right CTAs in the right place.

 

“Apologies. If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Jane Austen

6. Link Up

If you’ve pulled ideas or information from other websites, you need to reference them, even if you just hyperlink the phrase so readers can click through to the source. This is good web etiquette, and also makes it more likely other sites will return the favour. Linking to other pages on your website – or to your social media accounts – is also a great way to retain your audience for the future.

7. Consistency Is Key

Having your own voice is critical for web writing. It stops you getting lost in the noise. So be consistent. Writing style, colour, font, tone of voice and even font size should be the same across your website – and preferably across your whole business. Consistency from social media to printed collateral will give your business a more professional look and feel.

8. Check Your Grammar

Proof read everything you publish. Then do it again. And when you’ve done that give it to somebody else – mum, neighbour, friend, colleague – to proof as well. The smallest mistake can kill the best content.

9. Write For Humans

We know you know this, but don’t forget that your audience is not a search engine. Too many people get hung up on SEO when they should be writing for their readers. And to grab their attention your writing needs to be relevant and engaging. So be clear about who you are writing for. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about why they want to visit your web page and how they want to be spoken to.

10. Be Yourself

Our final favourite tip when writing for the web is: be yourself. Trust us – it’ll make life a whole lot easier. Trying to write like someone else is not only exhausting – it doesn’t work. You’ll struggle to stand out from the crowd. Readers are not stupid; they can spot flam a mile off. Authenticity is key. So find your own style – one that shows who you are and why you are writing – a style that’s right for your brand or purpose.

Put this together with our other tips and you’ll be on your way to web writing glory.

So there you have it: B1’s top ten tips on writing for the web.

And if writing for the web still isn’t your bag, or you just don’t have the time, don’t despair. We have a skilled team of copywriters, brand strategists, and general web-nerds who can help get your voice heard.

Call Emily on 020 8481 0146 to discuss how we can help.