Website copy plays a central role in a business’s online presence, and unlike other marketing content, it needs to be more evergreen. Think of website copy as the heart of your content; it should set the stage for who you are, what you do, and convey your style, brand, and voice. If you’re in the process of developing website copy, here are some essential yet easy tips to keep in mind to make it readable, engaging, and persuasive.
Tips for Creating Readable, Engaging, and Persuasive Website Copy
Website copy is crucial. On average, a consumer makes a decision about your website within a few seconds of landing on a website page. This means you have very little time to convince visitors to stay a little longer. Here are six easy tips to help you do just that:
Realize that your copy is scanned
Most people aren’t going to actually read your website copy, at least not right away, so important tidbits and optimized presentation is highly beneficial. A subtitle will draw the eye, and it needs to be clear and concise as to what it’s about. Quotes and other highlighted sentences can also be helpful. Make sure that the most important information “pops.” It should be easily scannable, and then website visitors can decide if they want to know (and read) more, or take action. Some ways to make copy easy to read and digest is by communicating information with headlines, using subtitles to add more information, using bullet points, and clearly communicating sales messages in these more noticeable areas.
Keep all copy in short, readable increments
You love your business—you know your business. You want to go on and on about how amazing your business is. Most people don’t care about the excess; they want the bare bones laid out clearly and concisely. Editing is your best friend when you write website copy. Your mantra should be short and simple. For example, short paragraphs, short sentences, short words.
Important information should always come first
If you know readers are going to drop off by the second or third paragraph, it makes sense to offer the goods up front. Your most important information should come first. You can achieve this by utilizing a more journalistic style. Answer the who, what, where, when, how quickly and efficiently; then expand.
Avoid passive tense, repetition, and over-complicated jargon, and speak directly to the visitor
When writing website copy, stay out of passive tense. You’ll want to keep it active, which is more action-inspiring. Also, repetition gets old quickly. Try not to use the same words over and over, or sell the same things multiple times on one page. Lastly, talk directly to your visitor using words like “you” and “your,” and talk to them in plain, simple language. Unless you are a highly-technical business with an extremely technical audience, there is no need to get over-complicated or overuse industry jargon. Think about what the customer wants to know and answer it as concisely as possible. Don’t make the audience guess by trying to be clever or witty or overly-academic.
Realize that visitors may land anywhere
There is no guarantee that visitors will land on your home page, so each page should let people know where they are and who you are, have a call to action, and be easy to scan.
Create an inviting visual balance with copy, font, white space, colors, and graphics
Nothing puts visitors off faster than a cluttered website. If there are lengthy blocks of words, jumbled images, loud fonts, or too much of anything, chances are your visitors will jump ship. While copy is an important part of the overall scheme, how it’s laid out is just as important as what it says. Make sure your fonts are stylish and readable, and that your website copy is placed thoughtfully in an inviting visual layout that encourages people to peruse and learn more about your business, or allows them to absorb the information swiftly.
Website copy will remain the same most of the time. Although it’s important to update or refresh it every so often, realizing that it is the core of what a business is. Today’s audience wants a website to answer their questions about a business. Think of your website copy as a way to do that clearly, concisely, and in a way that lets them know exactly who you are.