5 Tips for Writing
Web Copy That Converts

Madeline Slezak

Your company’s website is one of its most important assets.

Today, when someone is looking for more information on a company—what they do and why they do it—they instantly search the web. In an increasingly digital world, your website is the main hub of information for your company, and you want to make a powerful first impression. That means good content on your company’s website – specifically, the copy – is imperative for creating a positive and holistic brand experience.

The most important part of writing any copy – web copy included – is having clarity of brand and knowing who you’re writing for. So, above all else, you should make sure that your website copy creates a consistent brand experience that creates an emotional connection.

Keeping brand and audience in mind, this blog explores five tips for writing web copy that gives visitors what they’re looking for and, most importantly, makes them take action.

1. Put the most important information first.

2. Write for SEO purposes.

3. Be simple and persuasive.

4. Make sure the copy and design work together.

5. Optimize it

Known to many journalists as the “inverted pyramid,” this method of writing presents the most important, or newsworthy, information up front. This way, even if you only read the first paragraph, you still understand the story’s bigger picture.

If you write this way on the web, you ensure that even if the user leaves your site after reading the first sentence, they still got the most important information and know who you are and what you do.

Think of it this way: if you’re researching non-profits, the details you’re looking for might be what the cause is about, who it impacts and how to get more information. Those key pieces of information should be prioritized on the website, easy to access and listed before additional details.

Research suggests that only 16% of people read web pages word-for-word. Most people scan, picking out individual words or phrases. (source: Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox). So, what’s the best way to write for someone who is skimming over your site? Here are some tips to make your copy more scannable:

  • Use impactful headlines that summarize key points
  • Keep supporting copy short and concise
  • Make use of easy-to-scan bullet points
  • Find ways to visually represent your message, using images, icons and/or graphics
  • Use clear and engaging CTAs
  • Write with words people are familiar with and will be looking for

Don’t make things overly complicated. I find it helpful to write a first draft and revisit the copy with a fresh set of eyes an hour or two later, asking myself, “how can I simplify what I’m trying to say?”

Your goal should always be to drive the user to take an action – whether that means making a purchase, filling out a form or following you on Instagram.

An easy way to proof for this:

  • Shorten your paragraphs and sentences
  • Avoid repetition
  • Use the word “you” to address visitors directly
  • Use the active tense
  • If it’s important, highlight it
  • Put things in“layman’s terms” – avoid jargon and frilly language

It takes two to tango. It’s imperative that web copy and web design work together – from both a UI/UX standpoint and a development standpoint.

The aesthetic appeal of your website impacts the readability of your content and influences the user’s overall experience with your site. If a user can’t easily read and understand the text, they won’t read it. It’s that simple. At the on-set, think about how you want to present your information, and let that inform the design and development process. Here are some pointers for making your web copy more visually appealing:

 

Equally as important as writing copy that user can easily digest is optimizing content for search engines (like Google and Bing). Your copy needs to appeal to the end-user while using keywords and structure that rank well on search algorithms – otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

In a nutshell, SEO is a method of enhancing the effectiveness of your content for search engines to help it rank higher than content from other sites that target the same search results.

A good rule of thumb is to make a comprehensive list of the keywords most important to your business and make natural use of those keywords in your content. Don’t be afraid to use variants of those terms (synonyms, abbreviations, plurals, etc.). People are searching for those, too!

If you want more advice on writing copy for the web and how to improve your site, drop us a line – we’d love to connect.