18 Website Copywriting Rules Every Business Owner Needs To Know
Published on 12th June 2018
You are probably already aware of how important an effective website can be to your business.
A 24/7 advocate for your company, it’s often the first place that people will head to find out more about you, your products, or your services, and to decide whether you can offer what they’re searching for.
However, a professional looking design and a great user experience will only get you so far – it’s what is written on your website that really determines whether you sink or swim in the highly competitive world online.
With well-written web copy, you can convey instantly to potential customers that you are a trustworthy, professional, and interesting company that is worthy of their time, engagement, and ultimately, their hard-earned money.
Get it wrong however, and you could seriously hurt your chances of winning any new business at all.
Fortunately, we’ve put together this helpful guide to teach you everything you need to know about creating brilliantly written website content that turns visitors into customers:
1. Know your audience and do your research
When you know who you’re talking to, it’s much easier to know what to say and how to say it. Before you start to write your website content, make sure you know exactly who your target audience are and what will appeal to them, and then apply this to everything you write.
2. Always put the most important point first
Remember that most people tend to skim-read web pages - your website visitors should therefore be able to find everything they need in the first few paragraphs. Start with the key information, and then go into more detail in the paragraphs that follow.
3. Write in a language that everyone can understand
Your website copy needs to be as simple and concise as possible. Just because you know what your industry’s jargon means, doesn’t mean your customers will – keep your copy accessible by explaining things in a way that all readers will understand.
4. Break up your text
On the internet, a sentence is a paragraph – ditch the lengthy passages and start breaking your copy up into easily digestible snippets. This will make it much simpler for people to scan, and means that your visitors won’t be put off by large chunks of text when they land on your page.
5. Pay attention to your headlines
A good title will engage your readers and encourage them to keep reading, so it’s imperative that you put some serious thought into each one. Every headline needs to grab your visitors’ attention, tell them what to expect in the rest of the text, and make them excited to read it.
6. Let your personality shine through
The key to writing for the web is to make your copy professional, yet conversational. The most effective websites tend to use a more informal style of writing that mirrors the way their customers talk and helps to make the brand appear more personable.
7. Keep your copy audience-focused
What you write needs to be of interest to your readers, so make it about them, not about you. Address them directly by referring to ‘you’ and ‘your’ throughout the text, and concentrate on the benefits of your products and services more than the features or specifications.
8. Don’t forget to link up your text
Including internal links – links that go to other pages on your website – throughout your copy is hugely important. This will help you direct your visitors to other relevant or related content, and is convenient for them as they then don’t have to go searching for more information.
9. Make use of subheadings
This is another great way to break your text into manageable sections. Subheadings will add structure to your content and provide potential customers with instant information as they skim your copy, making it easier for them to find exactly what they’re looking for.
10. Divide content up with bullet points
Writing in list form will make your copy more interesting for visitors, as it adds variety to your page layout and presents key information in a way that they can immediately skim read. After all, people are far more likely to purchase something they can learn about quickly and easily.
11. Think of every page as a landing page
People browsing your website will not do so in a linear pattern, so don’t assume that it will always be your home page that visitors will land on first. Make sure every page contains easy to scan information about who you are and what you do, as well as links to help them navigate.
12. Search engine optimise your web content
No matter how great your website copy is, it’s worthless if no one’s going to see it. Research which keywords you should be including in your text to rank highly in search results – but take care not to overdo it, as your copy still needs to read naturally to be effective.
13. Reinforce your writing with visual content
A picture paints a thousand words, especially in the context of your website. Use images alongside your web copy to bring your site to life, break up the text, add visual interest, inform your readers, and reinforce the core messages found within your text.
14. Answer questions and solve problems
On the web, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd to be heard. To do this, your web copy needs to show potential customers that you can and will fix their problems – show what unique insights and benefits you can offer that differentiate you from your competitors.
15. Tell your readers what to do next
Don’t just leave your website visitors hanging – let them know exactly what you want their next step to be by ending each page with a strong call to action. Whether you want them to buy, subscribe, enquire, or share, leave out the guesswork and make your intentions clear.
16. Use proper spelling and grammar
All it takes is one mistake to damage your credibility and make you look like an amateur. Proofread your website copy thoroughly – and then proofread it again – to ensure that you won’t be losing out on any new enquiries due to easily avoided spelling and grammar errors.
17. Go easy on the emphasis
Underlining, bolding, and italicising text is an easy and effective way to draw attention to important information, but too much of it and you risk turning your web copy into a dizzying display that distracts rather than attracts visitors. Use sparingly if you really want to emphasise your words.
18. Maintain a consistent formatting style
Decide on a set of copywriting guidelines to apply to every piece of website content, and then stick to them. This will ensure that your copy has a uniform look and style on every page, which will help to bolster your website’s reputation for professionalism and quality.
It may take a while to truly master the art of creating effective web copy, but it will be well worth the effort - by following these 18 simple rules, your written content has the potential to add value to your website, increase awareness of your business, and most importantly, convert your visitors into customers.
Need a brilliantly designed website to complement your expertly written copy? At it’seeze, we provide professional web design services throughout the UK and Ireland, so if you’re looking for a website that will help you succeed online, we can help.
If you’d like to learn more about our services, or even if you just want some friendly advice on how to improve your current website, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today.
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