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Published on November 19th, 2011

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Blog: Top tips for copywriting for the web

There are hundreds of thousands of websites out there and this figure is rising by the second. Try a simple Google search like “pubs in Hampstead” and it will probably yield far more pages and hits than the total number of pubs in the UK. Even if you are more specific, you will still be left with superfluous sites and content.

This increasing competition means it’s becoming more important to differentiate yourself, so online content must be fresh, relevant, informative and persuasive. Here are a few tips on how to write sharp and engaging copy for the web.

Personal tone

Unless you are writing hard news for the wires, impenetrable paragraphs penned in the third person are fading out. The web is extremely personal and content should not alienate the readership. Also, remember to keep it simple. There’s nothing more off-putting than visiting a website and not understanding the lingo. Remember, not only are you looking to keep people on your site, you want to attract new readers. Try and avoid “buzz words” and marketing speak because people find it annoying. After all, it’s a website and not a press release. Always remember your audience.

SEO

If you have your own website and yet do not know what this means, then start learning now. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and could be the difference between your site popping up on page one and not showing up until page 7. Put simply, it’s about keywords. This might seem obvious, but wording is very important. If you want to draw in surfers, you need to flood your page with keywords that will draw the right people to your site and keep them there. See? It’s easy.

Scanning and stop signs

People read newspapers and books, but they tend to scan websites because there is so much distraction – pop ups, adverts, that word document you were working on and millions of other websites. It has been proven that people prefer bold headings, short bursts of text and a good balance of space. Your web copy should be all of these things so that if a reader is in a hurry, they can scan your information easily. Hopefully, they will encounter a headline that makes them stop and compels them to read it.

Break up text

Nobody wants to read blocks of text with nothing pretty to look at. Pictures make a big difference to the aesthetics of the piece and how readers connect with what you write. You can also use sub-headings where appropriate.

Take a break and read aloud

This can’t be stressed enough. Take a break from writing every 10-15 minutes and come back to it with fresh eyes. You won’t believe the amount of errors you make until you read it cold.

Reading your words out loud helps your writing flow more. If your writing does not sound conversational, it is way too rigid for web writing.



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