Your web design copy needs to entice, inform and encourage visitors to your site to act, all within the limited attention span of the average web user. It’s a tall order, but keeping the following guidelines in mind should help you to create effective web copy with ease.
Be a Problem Solver
Your customer only cares about one thing: what’s in it for them. What can you offer them that no-one else can? What do you do better, faster or cheaper? How will you make their life easier?
Always write with your customer’s needs and desires in mind and put the biggest attractions about your services up front and centre. One trick is to avoid writing in the first person. Statements like “We offer low prices every day” are less effective than “See how you can save.”
Less is More
Today’s consumer is flooded with marketing and sales messages virtually everywhere they look, and their patience for sifting through content to find vital information has worn thin. Your website message needs to be compelling enough to grab their attention within just a few seconds.
Keep copy short and focused. Have a very specific purpose for each paragraph and be ruthlessly frugal with your words. John Lennon is quoted as saying “When you’re drowning you don’t think, I would be incredibly pleased if someone would notice I’m drowning and come and rescue me. You just scream.” Make your words scream off the page to your visitors.
In addition, include call to actions at the start of your website pages where they will be seen by even the most impatient of visitors, and keep language and word choice easy to understand.
Identify Natural Keywords
Forget SEO for a moment and think about keywords in their more literal context. What key words or phrases will your visitors have used to find you? These should have a genuine place within your website copy. Use keywords naturally in your text to avoid it sounding artificial. If you need to think about how to fit a keyword into a page the chances are it doesn’t belong there in the first place.
Following the rule of matching one web page to one keyword (or close variations of that keyword) will let you keep your content focused and relevant.
Make it Easy on the Eye
How your copy is laid out within your website design is just as important as what it says. Most website visitors will quickly scan a page before actually reading the text. Headings and bold text can instantly attract attention and highlight key information.
Limit the amount of information on each web page by focusing on a single topic and break up large paragraphs of text with sub headings, images or bullet points to make it more visually appealing.
For each page consider what information your visitor wants first, and lay out the copy so that it is easy to “digest”. Also try to avoid copy running on “below the fold” of the website where visitors need to scroll to read it as a large percentage of people simply won’t bother to do so.
Go Back to School
Remember that final step before handing in your homework or an assignment? Checking your spelling and grammar is even more important in the real world, where errors can make you appear unprofessional.
As well as checking the basics, have friends or colleagues read over your copy to make sure it is easy to read and the concepts are clear.
Stay up to Date
Your website is not a “set it and forget it” marketing tool. It should be a dynamic and evolving online presence for your business.
You wouldn’t create a shop window display and then never change it. Likewise, the contents of your website design should also be frequently checked and refreshed to keep it up to date. Updates can reflect new products or services, additions to your staff or other changes in your business.
With more and more companies updating their website with fresh content on a regular basis customers and search engines alike see quality website copy and regularly updated content as an indicator of how successful a business is. The content of your website is so important we have ranked it number 5 in our report: The 11 Essentials for a Successful Website Design.