Often clients want to save money by writing their own web site copy. Sometimes they just feel like no one else knows their business as good as they do, so who better to write the content for their web pages? This may or may not be true – in most cases a professional writer is the best person for the job, but I can’t always convince clients to use a writer especially if the budget is tight.
Writing for the web is different than writing for any other medium. You need to be short and to the point – you only have about 3 to 4 seconds to capture the reader’s attention. If you don’t, they’ll hit the back button and be gone. Your copy needs to focus not only on what you do but also on their needs. If not, you may lose them.
Below are some tips that I like to give to my clients who want to write their own text.
1. Use your keywords in the copy
You and your website developer need to come up with a list of keyword phrases that are critical to your business and will be used to find your business in the search engines. These keywords need to appear frequently in your web site copy. Each web page should focus on a different set of keywords. You may want to write the copy first so that you can focus on your message and then go back and work the keywords into the copy.
2. Writing should be done simultaneously with the design.
Do not wait until the design is complete to begin your writing. Set a deadline and stick to it. Lack of content is the #1 cause of project delays.
3. Think of 2-3 critical points that you want the reader to leave with.
Start with an outline. Your critical points should be in bold or bulleted. The rest of the copy on the page should revolve around these points.
4. Keep it short and simple.
People tend to scan web pages, often just reading the bold print and bulleted text. Even the search engines love bold and bulleted text, so don’t hesitate to use it!
- Keep your copy short and to the point.
- Avoid writing long, involved paragraphs.
- Your goal is to write enough details to get the reader to contact you!
5. Focus on the reader.
How will the reader benefit from your product or services?
6. Avoid technical jargon and acronyms.
Your writing should be in layman’s terms unless your web site is intended for an audience of your peers. What might be common knowledge to you may be confusing to the average person visiting your site.
7. Consistent writing style is important.
If there is more than one person writing the content, the writing may appear to be disjointed due to different writing styles. Designate one person to be the editor. This person’s job is to make the writing style appear consistent throughout the web site.
8. Consider using a Professional Editor
Editing is less expensive than writing and you’ll be amazed at the results! You provide an outline of critical points that you want on your web site and have an editor mold it into clear, concise web copy. You focus on what you want to say without worrying about the finer details of how to say it.
Following these tips will help you to write quality website content to capture the reader’s attention and to get your pages ranked in the search engines for the keywords you’ve chosen.
If you have any other web site writing tips that you would like to share, please leave a comment below.