In theory, writing web copy doesn’t sound like it should be that hard. You just sit at your computer, write what your product does, and share it with your site visitors, right?
Unfortunately, there’s a bit more to it than just writing a basic product description. Your site visitors can likely find products similar to yours with a quick Google search, so you need to hold their attention and convince them that your products are going to be the best possible thing for them. You need to thoroughly explain what you do without being too wordy, and you need to encourage your readers to take action without sounding too pushy. Good web copy is a careful balancing act, and it doesn’t come easily.
The best way to improve your web content writing is to keep practicing by writing multiple versions and testing them using web analytics. Before you do that, though, you need to understand some of the basic qualities of effective web copy. Here are 6 key ingredients for successful web writing.
Focus on the Audience
The number one rule of copywriting is that it’s not about you, it’s about your reader. When you’re drafting your copy, think about who your ideal customer is, and then write for them. Think about the aspects of your products that are most going to appeal to them. For example, if you’re marketing an app that allows users to find delivery food services in their area, you might focus on ease-of-use to entice young people who want to perform more transactions on their phone rather than going to a computer.
Make sure that you never lose sight of your audience as you craft your web copy. One method you might try using to keep yourself on track is employing the word “you” so that you’re having a conversation with your audience. For example, you might try saying something like, “You’ve worked hard, and you deserve high-quality dining without the hassle” instead of “We provide high-quality dining without the hassle.”
Clear Benefits to the Reader
This was touched upon in the above section, but it’s worth emphasizing. Instead of just explaining why you think your product is great, you need to clearly explain how your product is going to benefit your reader. Remember, your average site visitor isn’t going to care about how great you feel about what you’ve made—they’re going to want to know what’s in it for them.
The amazing things that your products can do for your readers should be front and center on all your web pages, and you may want to consider using bolded text or bullet points to make those benefits even easier to find.
Writing That Fits with the Company Style
Just as there are many different styles of poems and prose, there are a myriad of tones that you can use for your web copy, but in order to be as effective as possible, you need to adopt a tone that fits with your brand image. For example, if you’re a fashion retailer that produces graphic tees and you largely target customers between the ages of 16 and 25, you’ll probably want to adopt a casual tone in your web copy and maybe even show off a sense of humor (as long as you or your copywriters are confident in your ability to write humor). If, however, you create hiring software that you sell to large businesses, you might want to adopt a more straightforward, frank tone that shows you’re serious about meeting businesses’ needs.
Some people who are new to writing web copy assume that the best way to promote their product is to use tons of flowery, poetic adjectives. While some adjectives may be appropriate, don’t overload your sentences with descriptors. Aim for short, punchy sentences that aren’t going to lose you readers, and don’t be afraid to mix in single clause sentences. When you do use adjectives, steer away from bland terms like “good” and “bad” and instead opt for powerful words that appeal to the senses like “vibrant” and “sleek.”
One good way to test whether you’re being too wordy is to read through each sentence and see if the meaning stays the same when you cut adjectives (or even whole clauses). If the meaning doesn’t change, then it’s time to take out the unnecessary text.
Your readers are quickly going to leave your site if they feel like your web copy was generated by a robot. Don’t be too dry, and avoid stuffing your web copy full of keywords just to improve your SEO rankings. (Google’s latest algorithm focuses more on quality writing than keyword density anyway, so if you focus on keywords you’re really just shooting yourself in the foot.)
Wondering how to make your writing voice sound more natural? Consider telling a story in your web copy, or vividly explaining a problem that your readers might encounter that could be resolved with your product. Avoid industry jargon and SAT vocab words—just have a normal conversation with your readers.
Call to Action
No web page is complete without an effective call to action. Once you’ve convinced your readers of the benefits of your product, you need to clearly explain to them what they can do to get it. Your call to action needs to be highly visible and concise. Don’t be afraid to include a call to action both towards the top of your page and at the end—you want to remind your readers what they should do and make it as easy as possible for them to take action.
There’s quite a bit of room for creativity in your web copy, and you’ll want to tailor it to fit your specific company and products, but make sure that you’re keeping the above 6 qualities in mind in order to appeal to as many customers as possible.