It takes only a split-second for a website visitor to decide if he or she wants to continue on with your page or click elsewhere. Internet readers are an unpredictable and finicky lot. How your website looks may be the reason why a visitor comes in the first place, but if your page does not page enough meat it’s not likely he or she will stay.
Your website’s design is driven by its colors, font styles and overall layout. But that’s just scratching the surface. It is the site’s actual content, in terms of words and relevant images that will have a lasting effect on your reader. Poor copy can make or break your site. This is why it’s not enough to focus your energy into the aesthetics alone. You will need the type of writing that hooks readers and keeps them coming back for more.
Grammar and spelling are very important to establishing your website’s credibility. By producing clean and flawless copy, you gain ground as a site that’s worth somebody’s time online. Taking into consideration your reader’s ultra-short attention span, you writing also has to be concise and direct to the point. Nobody wants to read meandering text.
Give your readers lots of white space. It can be off-putting for an online reader to see huge chunks of text in a page. Break paragraphs after every two to five sentences to let eyes rest. Use sub-headings and bold fonts to help them transition from one idea to another. These dividers also help readers quickly scan your page for relevance before actually diving in and reading the entire thing.
How To Write Web Copy That Matters
Writing that gets attention does not happen by accident. To produce consistent quality results, you will need structure.
- Decide where you want your article to go.
This is your overall plan. Before writing anything, first identify what your goal is and how to you intend to get there. Is your article answering a specific question? It is addressing a problem? Is it sharing important information?
Write down all your ideas first and choose the key points that you will be focusing on. If you’re working with a team, this is the phase where you brainstorm. Decide what main ideas it will dicuss, who the primary audience will be and the general flow. This is also the part where you make a decision on how you want your website to look, so you can also map out an appropriate length and writing style that meets the design criteria.
- Make an outline.
An outline can be in bullet form or structured in a way that presents the introduction, main body and conclusion. Often, writers forego writing an outline and think they can just wing it as they go. This is where many go wrong. Having a solid guide from the start will ensure that you stay on point and don’t go off topic.
- Write your draft.
This part will be the first time you will be stringing words together to bring your ideas to life. If you have previously made a working outline, then this part should come easy. If you are working with a team, it will be smart to just assign one person to take care of bringing all content in one place. In addition to the usual formatting tasks, he or she can also lend fresh eyes to the piece and make sure that nothing from the outline is missed.
- Revision is key.
Don’t expect your first draft to be perfect. Part of writing quality content is acknowledging that your work will undergo two or more revisions. Even award-winning writers are not spared from having to revise their work several times before the final product is published.
These include proofreading for spelling and formatting errors and copyediting for grammar and flow problems. One trick that many professional writers recommend is reading the text out loud to yourself. This method often lets you spot the errors or off-sounding phrases from your article because you can “hear” how things flow. Another is to set it aside, give yourself a break and just come back to it later with a fresh pair of eyes. Better yet, get an editor.
Of course, you cannot discount sheer talent and a flair for words as a major element to writing killer web copy. Still, it really does not take a genius to build content that gets attention. This is where a clear and systematic strategy comes in.