Do your visitors spend less than ten seconds on your web copy? Are your posts even being read? While no amount of cover up and formatting can make up for bad writing, you can make your content more appealing and engaging with the following five tips to improve your web copywriting.
1. Don’t Save the Best for Last
Front-load your copy. Say what you mean to say up front because most visitors won’t make it to the end.
You’re not writing a novel where you can build up suspense and end on a cliff hanger. Nor is this a joke where you set the stage before you deliver your punchline.
Give the punchline first. State at the very beginning of your page what you’re going to talk about, otherwise they’ll never scroll below the fold to find out the rest. You have to show your cards first before people will stick around to see what else you’ve got.
Remember, you have mere seconds (if that) to engage your reader.
2. Use Subheaders and Lists to Break Up Your Text
People scan when they read on the web. With so many websites out there, web users decide if your page is worth reading by quickly scanning your page looking for clues.
Most web users are searching for quick answers to their questions. They “grab and go,” so they’ll skim your web content just long enough to either find their answer or determine there’s an easier place to look.
To make scanning easier, make good use of subheaders and lists.
Subheaders Mark Sub-sections
Subheaders are the key points of your text, and a friendly road map through your copy. They’re the quickest visual cue on the page that clues visitors into the location of the content they’re seeking.
One tactic for writing compelling web copy is to start with an outline and make sure that the headers and sub-headers you use tell the general story, or provide a good overview of the article. So if a user only scans the headlines, they’ll get the gist of the post.
Lists for Speed
Both numbered and unordered (bulleted) lists make scanning especially easy. Use lists anywhere they’re appropriate, but especially when you’re actually listing several things.
Lists help you:
- break up text
- ensure easy scanning
- convey relative importance
- follow logical steps.
See how much easier it is to scan the list?
3. Format Your Paragraphs Into Bite-Sized Morsels
Break up your paragraphs into shorter, punchier text.
Big blocks of text send people reaching for the back button or simply make their eyes glaze over.
We don’t expect to read the Great American Novel on a website. And especially with smaller fonts, long paragraphs can become a bit of an eye strain.
Also, don’t be afraid to use one sentence as a paragraph. If you want to make a point, shorter sentences (and paragraphs) make a bolder statement.
4. Write Liberally But Edit Mercilessly
I make an outline and then write like my fingers are on fire. I write my first draft as quickly and recklessly as I can, just to get something down, even if the grammar, logic, spelling, or content isn’t perfect, or really even passable.
Once I’ve got a first draft, I’ll go back and edit a few times from different perspectives.
When editing, cut the fat fast. If you find yourself rambling at the start of your copy, cut it out. Take your mouse, highlight over the entire thing, and smack the delete button. It’s a freeing feeling.
Most people do a lot of ‘throat clearing’ when faced with a blank page. They write about the weather, or about themselves, or start rattling off a fluffy introduction to fill the space before they really get into the meat of the copy.
No one wants to read a half page of throat clearing, so cut it out. Start your content when you start to say something of value to your clients.
Your opening will be much stronger.
5. And Don’t Forget, It’s All About Them
Even when you write an About page about you, it’s really about them. Your clients.
Clients look at About pages to know who you are (legitimize your business) and why you’re a good fit for them, and they read the copy on your website to find out how, when and where you can help them.
Clients are looking for solutions to their problems. They couldn’t care less how they can help you. They want to know that you’re thinking of their problems and have solutions.
If your is copy peppered with I’s and me’s, it tells them who you really care about the most. Instead, try to use words like you and yours and speak to your customer, not about yourself. When you’re talking to your clients, they’ll listen. They’ll read.
If you need help crafting content that really catches people’s attention, we can help you with your copywriting so that your clients know that you really care about them.