5 tips for effective Web copywriting

August 9, 2012

If it looks like your Web page is going to be a lot of work to read, visitors are quick to hit the Back button. What Web readers want is easy-to-read, scanable content.

But you’ll be fine as long as you keep these five tips in mind when writing your Web copy.

1. Start with the conclusion

Think of it like an inverted pyramid. The meat of your Web copywriting should be at the very top of the article or Web page. People don’t like reading all the way through a long article or Web page. If you stick the most important points at the end, most of your visitors may never see it.

2. Use lots of lists

Web readers love lists because they’re easy to scan. Lists are also easy to understand without having to read every word in the article.

  • Scannable
  • Easy to understand

3. Be concise

If a good copywriter can convey a thought in 100 words, a great copywriter can do it in 50. Nobody has enough time these days, so respect your readers’ time and get to the point already.

Quick tips for being concise:

  • Don’t use two words when one will do.
  • Cut out flowery segues.
  • Just say it. Get to the point.
  • Eliminate non-essential adjectives and adverbs.
  • Don’t repeat yourself. Reading the same thought twice is a waste of time.

Try reading your writing out loud. We speak more directly than we write, and hearing our words spoken might reveal some awkward or convoluted sentences.

4. Use short paragraphs

It’s hard to read long, dense paragraphs on a computer monitor, which is one reason why paper books are still so popular. Even relatively short paragraph of 100 words looks like a lot of text on a computer monitor.

  • Have only one thought in each paragraph
  • Don’t be afraid of paragraphs that only have 2-3 sentences.

5. Write good headlines / titles

Readers decide whether or not they want to invest more time reading your article based on the title. The title of your Web page or article shows up in search engine results, links from other websites, RSS feed readers, and (hopefully) hundreds of other places online.

Consider the following headlines:

  • Start Exercising
  • 5 Easy Ways to Get Some Exercise Today

They can both be the title of an article offering tips for getting more exercise, but the second headline will receive exponentially more clicks because it tells the reader exactly what they can expect from the article. It also promises ease and immediate results. Everybody likes easy results.

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