How to write content for your website that people will read
Anyone can have a website, but not everyone can write copy that wins customers.
First and foremost web copy is scanned. Or glanced at. Not read. In our fast paced, technology driven world we have very little spare time. Patience is not a virtue online and with one click your readers can go to your competitor. Copy for web needs to be straight to the point, with the most important details first.
Keep it Simple
Simple statements often work best. Steve Krug wrote a great book about human-computer interaction and web usability called ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. Don’t try to be creative or clever as this requires people to think. Trying to make people think on the web is like trying to un-boil an egg. It won’t work. People on the Web are hunting for information. So keep your web copy as simple as possible.
Write your text for Scanners. Research suggests that only 16% of people read web pages word-for-word. Most people scan. (source: Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox).
How do you write for Scanners?
• Bullet points
• Meaningful sub-headings
• Short sentences and paragraphs.
Don’t treat your web visitors like Professors who enjoy reading complex text. Write for lazy people using simple words and phrases, avoid jargon and unnecessary repetition. Short is best:
• “We are Enthusiastic.” “We are keen.”
• “It’s your opportunity.” “It’s your time.”
• “Participate in.” “Try out.”
• “A great achievement.” “A great win.”
Write a first draft then edit it, chip away at unnecessary words. Make it shorter, more engaging and more persuasive.
Visual appeal is important, consider larger font sizes for the most important points and try out bold, italic and capital font to catch the scanning eye. Adding images or videos can quickly help visitors ensure they are in the right place whilst they scan your copy.
Know Your Target
Before you write anything, know your reader- from age, gender, employment, education, income and lifestyle. The more you know the better. Visualise your reader and your writing will be more persuasive and seductive.
Innocent are a UK based company who make smoothies and juices. Their language style and tone is straightforward and simple.
Their engaging and easy manner begins in the navigation, ‘things we make’ is a simplified alternative for ‘Products’.
Focus on the reader and how your service/product is solving their problem. Take each feature of the product and translate it in to a benefit for your ideal reader and use it to win your customer.
Your copy should result in an immediate action- an enquiry, a phone call, an email, a purchase. An action that takes the reader to the next step in the selling process, make sure your reader knows what next step to take.
Writing copy is hard, writing simple copy is even harder. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again and keep going until you get the result you’re after.