Web Copywriting Checklist: 16 tips for writing effective website copy

web copywriting

Most website owners focus on getting traffic to their sites to generate sales, leads or subscribers. They figure the more traffic you receive the more sales you will make. This is only partially true because you still need to convert the traffic into buyers. Focusing your efforts only on getting traffic is like throwing mud at a wall. Some of it will stick. Your web copy must be able to convert visitors into buyers.

16 Tips for writing effective website copy

1. What’s your USP?
Your unique selling position is what makes your website stand out from your competitors. When a person first visits your website they need to understand its purpose within the first paragraph. If it’s not clear to them they’ll leave and go elsewhere.

2. Stress the benefits
Most people visiting your site ask “what’s in it for me” therefore provide the main benefits of your products or services within the first few paragraphs. Don’t make the mistake of emphasizing features instead of benefits.

3. Be specific
Writing in general terms will only bore your visitors. Instead focus your writing on making specific points. It will help keep your readers focused.

4. Use headlines and sub headlines
When people read content online they usually scan the web pages to find information. Use headlines and sub headlines to breakup the content and draw attention to the main points on the page.

5. Write short paragraphs
Instead of trying to say everything in one paragraph break your content up into short paragraphs of five to 10 lines.

6. Use bullet points
If you have several points to make in a paragraph use bullet points. It will make it easier to read by drawing attention to these points.

7. Include action verbs
Text can be very boring to read. Use action verbs at the beginning of your sentences to grab your reader’s attention. Examples of action verbs include: Discover, how, get, etc. Another way to get readers attention is by asking questions i.e. “are you getting a lot of website traffic but not generating any sales?”

8. Write in a conversational manner
Writing “corporate speak” or in third person tense (such as we or our) will only result in turning off your visitors. When writing your website copy imagine having a conversation with a person opposite you. Try to convey that familiarity into your content. It will help break down the barriers between you and your visitor.

9. Make use of images
Sometimes an image says it better or a lot more than written text. Avoid using images just for the sake of having pretty pictures on your pages. Only use images to enhance your content.

10. Use white space
A cluttered web page is very difficult to read. Make sure you include plenty of white space between all elements on the page. For example add 5 to 10 pixels of white space between an image and the content.

11. Use web safe fonts
Not all fonts you want to use are installed on all computers. Stick with web safe fonts such as Arial, Georgia, Verdana or a combination of these three. Don’t use Times Roman font for the web. It won’t look good. Use it for print material instead.

12. Include your main keywords
Search engines find your content by the keywords you use. Before you write any content do keyword research to discover how many visits a specific keyword is receiving each month. Include these keywords in your headlines, sub headlines and main web copy. Make sure you also include these keywords in the meta-tags for each page.

13. Make use of anchor text
This refers to text that contains a live link. For example if you were writing about camping equipment and wanted to link to camping locations on another page “camping locations” would be your anchor text.

14. Encourage interactivity
Search engines give credit to how long a person remains on your website, therefore include interactive elements within your content such as videos, images and the ability to leave comments.

15. Create a clear call to action
Instead of visitors reading your content and leaving, ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, download a free report and/or purchase your product or service.

16. Proofread your content
Spelling and grammar mistakes make your website copy look unprofessional. Get someone else to proofread it before releasing your content to the public. If you can’t find anyone, let it sit for a few hours then read through it again. Often you’ll discover errors you never saw the first time.

Effective web copywriting is not difficult. Just keep this checklist in mind every time you write content for the web. The more you write the better you’ll become.

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