9 Best Practices for Website Copywriting
Regardless of the channels you use, though, there’s one element you’ll need to master for all of them: Copy. Copywriting is essential for attracting and keeping your audience’s attention, then telling them why they should choose your products or services. Whether you have an in-house copywriter or work with freelancers, it’s essential that your copy is an accurate reflection of your brand.
Creating effective copy is often easier said than done. It can be challenging to write content that’s both interesting to readers and furthers your brand’s goals. And while the exact approach you take depends on your brand, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that you’re on the right track with your site copy.
Call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about copywriting services from WebFX or keep reading for nine best practices you can use to improve your website’s copy today.
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1. Conduct thorough research
Before your start writing about a particular topic, product, or service, you need to make sure that you have as much information as possible. You should essentially be an expert on the subject — and the best way to get there is by conducting thorough research.
You can gather information by using search engines like Google to see what kinds of information already exist on the topic. Spend some time reading articles and blog posts, and if you have any questions after reading, do additional research to fill in the gaps.
The more comfortable you are with a topic, the easier it will be to write about it. Having all of the pieces from the start makes it possible to compose your thoughts and produce an engaging piece of content.
It also enables you to educate others. If you’re unsure of what you’re writing about, you can’t effectively pass knowledge onto your readers. But if you use your own questions to guide your research, you can help educate your audience as a result.
2. Write concisely
As you write copy for your site, keep your target audience in mind. Most of your readers will be looking for straightforward information or answers to a specific question, and you need to write in a way that helps them find what they need.
This also means you should limit or eliminate industry jargon. You can use terms related to your industry where they make sense, but make sure to define or explain them on your first usage for every page. You don’t want to confuse or lose the interest of your audience, and using language that they’re unfamiliar with is a fast-track to losing readers.
Keeping your copy clear and concise is the best way to convey information and retain your visitors’ interest. Focus on getting right to the point, and eliminate any potentially confusing language as much as possible.
Utilize the free Smog Index tool developed by G. Harry McLaughlin to evaluate how easy to comprehend your content’s text is.
3. Put your strongest points first
Many writers make the mistake of saving their strongest points for the end of a page. They write with the intention of “building up” to an answer or conclusion, with the goal that this structure will make more readers get all the way to the end.
Unfortunately, this isn’t how most users read online content. Many people will skim and skip through portions of an article looking for a specific piece of information. They may read the opening paragraphs and the first point, then skim through the rest — and if they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll simply leave.
If you put your strongest point first, you can help readers find exactly what they want right off the bat. Then, they can continue reading through the rest of your copy for supporting information. When you put your strongest argument first, you have a better chance of engaging your readers and keeping them on the page.
4. Focus on the benefits
A big part of copywriting is focusing on the benefits. As you construct your content and line up your points you want to touch on, you need to think of what the reader’s primary concerns are.
Let’s say you’re writing copy for a veterinarian’s office about spaying and neutering pets. If you want to appeal to the reader, you need to focus on how this choice could help their pet.
Instead of going into detail on the technical aspects of the procedure, you’d want to highlight information about how it can help prevent certain diseases and eliminate expensive veterinary bills in the future. This is much more compelling for pet owners who want to keep their pets healthy and save money.
And while this is a very specific example, it’s an approach you can take with all of the copy your write. Get into the habit of thinking about how the products or services you write about benefit your customers, and you’ll be much more effective in writing copy that resonates with your target audience.
5. Support your points
Any time you’re writing about the benefits of a product or service, you’ll need to support your claims with facts and research. A great way to do this is to provide data or statistics from respected sources.
Instead of making vague claims like, “many businesses experience success with content marketing,” use statistics to write stronger sentences like, “Businesses that utilize content marketing in their strategy experience six times more conversions than businesses that don’t.”
This makes your copy more trustworthy and more compelling to readers, because they’ll know you aren’t making claims out of thin air. It will also help you establish a reputation as a reputable source of information within your industry.
Incorporating statistics and data can also make you a better writer. When you have information that backs up your claims, you’ll find it easier to compose your content and make it stronger.
6. Add visual elements
You want to keep your readers interested in your content. If you simply post a page full of text, you risk losing their attention. Adding visual elements can make your pages more interesting and increase the chances that they stay longer.
One way to do this is to include photos. By integrating a few relevant photos on each page, you will break up walls of text and add visual interest.
You can include custom graphics and infographics in your text as well. This is a great way to give a visual element to the statistics and data you include in your text. It also makes it easy for readers to grab the important information from your content if they choose to skim through it.
One of the best elements you can add to your content is video. Video is great for engaging people. In fact, 65% of viewers watch more than half a video on a website.
You can keep people engaged with your content longer by including a video within your content. Video has a huge impact on keeping people on your page. It will get people to take more interest in your content.
7. Make it easy to read
When you are constructing your content, it’s important to format it in a way that appeals to readers. You’ll want to format your article so that it can be read and skimmed.
As you are writing, it is best to break your content down into small paragraphs. Instead of writing in an academic style, limit your paragraphs to 3-4 sentences. This will make your pages easier to skim and digest.
Long paragraphs can deter users because they make your content difficult to scan for important information. Small, manageable paragraphs are best for keeping your audience engaged.
You can make your copy even easier to read by incorporating formatting like bulleted lists. These attract users’ eyes and are more manageable for reading.
You can also format your articles with numbers. If you’re going to cover a specific number of steps or tips, for example, include that number in the title and number each point. Then you can structure your articles in a way that makes it easy for readers to skim and get the main points.
When you make your articles easy to read, you provide users with a better overall experience.
8. Create attention-grabbing headlines
Your headline is what attracts people to your article. It’s often the first thing they’ll see, and can be the deciding factor on whether they visit the page.
It is important to create a headline that will catch people’s attention. You want to entice them to click through to your page and read your copy.
You can test your headlines to see which ones draw more people in. You can try including numbers, writing them in the form of questions, or writing them with an element of mystery.
By creating a strong and interesting headline, you’ll get more people to read your content, and more value out of your copy.
9. Write strong calls to action
Calls to action, or CTAs, are essential in every piece of copy you write. They guide readers and tell them what to do after reading a page.
When most readers get to the end of a page, they leave — unless they’re specifically directed to do otherwise. You don’t want to lose out on leads simply because you don’t include a next step.
This is an opportunity for you to guide people in the direction you want. Whether you want readers to download something, make a purchase, or contact your business, you can tell them exactly what their next move should be.
When you write CTAs, make sure you give people a reason to take action. Don’t just say “sign up for our emails list!” without explaining why that benefits them. Tell readers exactly what kind of information they can expect to receive in their inboxes — and if it’s in line with their interests, they’ll be much more likely to sign up.
WebFX knows copy
Copywriting is essential for any digital marketing strategy. If you’re ready to improve the copy on your site, WebFX can help. We’re a full-service digital marketing agency with of years of experience creating effective campaigns for our clients.
Our copywriters will help you reach and engage your readers, then encourage them to take action. Our clients love the work we do, too — which is why we have over 1090 client testimonials. Check them out to see what it’s like to work with a top copywriting company like WebFX!
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