Do’s And Don’ts Of Website Copy
Introduction Does your website copy sound stiff and unnatural? Are you using marketing-style language to sell, sell, and sell your reader the latest and greatest product or service? If your website is nothing but an empty box wrapped up like a pretty package, you probably need help with your website copy. Clear, compelling copy attracts customers and persuades them to stay and take a longer look at your site. And if you’ve written killer copy, they’re likely to return again and again. You might feel overwhelmed with where to start, but no worries. You don’t necessarily have to scrap all your hard work and start over again. A few fundamental rules will help get you on the right track to great website copy that works and will keep working for you.
Do write in plain language We often complicate writing with big words and jargon because we think of it as more sophisticated and academic. No one wants to look stupid, but use too much jargon and it’s indubitably apparent that we’ve achieved the opposite affect. Indubitably apparent? Huh? Present your information in a clear and factual way, so the user is not left feeling frustrated or confused. Do write the way you speak With the exception of some industries that need to apply technical or industry related jargon, most copy can be written using a more informal and friendly voice. Pretend you’re having a casual conversation and your website copy will come through with less effort and more sincerity.
Don’t be wordy Too many words weaken your message and make you appear less credible. Check out some of the options you can use to eliminate wordiness. • "At this point in time" to "now" • "Due to the fact that" to "because" • "With regard to" to "about" • "It is possible that" to "maybe" Do change nouns into verbs Nouns slow your reader down by making sentences longer. It’s distracting, especially to online readers. Check your website copy and change your nouns to verbs. • "Conduct a discussion of" to "discuss" • "Give consideration to"to "consider" • "Make the assumption of"to "assume" • "Reached the conclusion about" to "conclude" Do use an active voice Use an active voice to put your words into motion. Active: He won the Young Entrepreneurs award. Passive: The Young Entrepreneurs award was won by him. Do remove clichés Avoid the use of tired clichés. • Step up to the plate • Cutting edge • Market-leading • Industry standard • Increase by leaps and bounds • Time is money Do place keywords in strategic positions The most emphatic parts of a sentence are the beginning and end.
Before: The Monster contract will be a money-maker, despite our early concerns. After: The Monster contract, despite our early concerns, will be a money maker. Do apply graphic highlighting Underline, italicize, and bold are effective ways to highlight information. Also, organize a long list of thoughts by using headings and bullets. Do use repetition Use repetition to highlight and reinforce important terms or ideas and make them stand out. But word to the wise if you use repetition, use it sparingly or you may drive the reader away by boring or annoying them with the same message over and over. Here’s an example: “Invesp writing services can help with your marketing and promotional efforts. The Invesp team of writers holds degrees in English, Professional Writing, and Journalism. The professionals at Invesp are a dynamic group of published authors, congressional speech writers, journalists, freelance writers, and more. Check out www.
invesp.com. So who did you just read about? Hard to forget! Repetition is a successful technique to get your message across and capture the readers’ attention. Do write a great title or subtitle A good title makes it easy to determine the goal of the page copy. Here are some dos and don’ts for writing a good title or headline: • Keep titles short. Six to ten words is more than enough. • Lose the irony. The title should be a reflection of your content. Witty and indirect titles are often written out of context, increasing the likelihood that users will miss your page when searching for information. • Write a title that stands alone.
A title that stands on its own instantly tells the user what the webpage contains. • Use words commonly used by other websites. Your page will more likely be found during a web search. • Don’t underline. Underlined text is confusing because underlining is associated with hyperlinks. Some examples of a good title: • Letter Writing Tips for Effective Sales • Persuasive Writing: Hypnotic Titles • Top 10 Myths about small businesses • Vintage Clothing by Steven And there you have it. Some dos and don’ts of website copy writing that will get you on your way to great copy. Happy writing.
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