Copywriting for the Web is very different than copywriting for print. First and foremost, depending on your scenario make sure you do your research. If you hiring a copywriter to write content for your Web site make sure they have experience with Web copywriting. Or if you are writing your own content for your Web site make sure that these best practices of Web copywriting are followed:
Web site Users Don’t Read Your Web Pages
Your Web site visitors rarely read your Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking and choosing individual words and sentences. In research on how people read Websites it’s determined that 79 percent of our users scan and only 16 percent read word-by-word.
A new study has been released that users read email newsletters even more abruptly than Web site pages concluding that emailed newsletters are the best way to maintain customer relationships on the Internet.
Scannable Text is the Most Effective Way to Communicate
Depending on the content depends on how it is organized. Make it your Web content user friendly so your users can find the information they are looking for easily.
- Highlight keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
- Use clear and concise sub-headings (avoid “clever” ones)
- Apply bulleted lists where appropriate (for example, like this list)
- Emphasize one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if your information is cluttered)
- Write using the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion (opposite of what you were taught in grade school)
- Minimize your letters/words (too much information will overwhelm your user, say straight and to the point, as if you were breaking up with someone)
Credibility is Key
Your Web users may questions as to where the information on your site came from and whether it’s legit or a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. You can increase credibility by using high-quality graphics, excellent writing and outbound hypertext links. Including links to other sites showing other legitimate authors who have done their homework can help.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Effective Copywriting for the Web. Next up, I’ll provide examples of improved copy for the web. Feel free to post comments to any web pages you’d be interested in my feedback on or find me on Twitter.