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Writing good copy for your website

2nd October 2017

2-minutes read

Getting the words right on your website is important because the way your visitor engages with your content significantly affects the success of your site. Follow this guide to get it right first time.

Preparing your website copy

Know who you’re writing for before you start and don't fall into the trap of writing for yourself. Remember: your website exists for your customers, not for you.

Writing the copy

Good writing should go unnoticed – you should write to inform, not to impress. Using complex words or long, involved sentences doesn't help your reader. Bear in mind that most visitors scan, rather than read, your website's content. Clever grammatical constructions are pointless.

Visitors don't necessarily arrive on your home page and make a predictable journey through to the page you’re writing. They might arrive on this page directly from Google, so don’t assume your visitor has prior knowledge acquired from other parts of your site. Repeating yourself across a few different pages isn't something to worry about.

In all likelihood, your website copy needs to be persuasive, almost with a feeling of a sales pitch about it. After all, you’re trying to convince your visitor to stay on your site and read what you have to say. Take a marketing approach to your copy: talk about the benefits of what you do more than the features. People are more interested in what you can do for them rather than simply what you do.

Include key information immediately, perhaps in a lead paragraph or summary at the top of the page. You need to put across vital information straight away.

Forget what you learned at school: on your website, one sentence often equals one paragraph.

Write short, snappy sentences and keep each one to a single paragraph.

Just like this.

Unless you have two short sentences. In which case, they can share a paragraph.

Using subheadings in your website's content

Subheadings and pull quotes break up the look of your page, which is important.

A block of unbroken text is hard to scan, so people often skip past it.

Use different elements to make your page more visually appealing as this improves the chances of keeping your visitors' attention.

You can also use helpful tools such as this headline analyser to improve the impact of your page’s title, subheadings and pull quotes.

Bullet points are useful when you want to get key information across quickly.

When people reach the end of a web page, they are at a dead end. Don’t leave them in this cul-de-sac: offer links to related information and calls to action that encourage the visitor towards a measurable outcome.

Editing your website copy

Having written your copy, leave it to "settle” for a day or two before editing. Apart from obvious grammatical errors, look closely for occasions when you’ve used jargon or strayed away from copy aimed at your target audience.

And when your content is live on your website, ask us to run our SpellChecker tool as a final check for any typos!

Jeremy Flight

Jeremy Flight

Technical Director

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