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Library  »  Categories  »  Elite Communications  »  Writing effective copy for your website

Writing effective copy for your website


Your website is only as effective as its ability to keep the reader’s interest in its content.  Traffic to your site is of little value if you cannot encourage your traffic to stay there; and you are unlikely to achieve reliable sales conversions if your copy lacks relevance, substance and appeal.  Your copy should be concise, informative and should clearly relate the benefits of your products or services back to your clients.  If it fails to meet these requirements, your website will be largely ineffective as a marketing tool.


Please note, if you require information about search engine optimisation and key word formulation these topics are covered in other articles.


1.       Know your objectives at the start

It is essential that you have a clear understanding of what you want your website to achieve for your business.  Without knowing your objectives it will be difficult to produce effective copy.  You must identify your target audience, tailor your offer to meet their needs and expectations and produce text that is direct, relevant and of interest to them.  The overall purpose of your website copy is to encourage your audience to respond to a clear call for action.


2.      Communicate the benefits related to your products or services

Approach writing your website text from your customer’s perspective; what do they need to know to reach a decision to do business with you.  Your customers are not so much interested in how you want to portray your business, as they are in learning about the solutions you can provide to them.  Remember, you’re not just selling your business or company, you should concentrate on selling your solutions (products or services), and that’s what your audience wants to read about.


Highlight the benefits which are associated with using your products or services and illustrate your company’s competitive advantage.  Prospective customers will be interested in how they will benefit from establishing a relationship with you.  In order to be compelling, your copy must communicate how your products or services are better positioned to more completely satisfy their needs.


3.      Keep it easy-to-read

Traffic to your website may have been directed to you from a search engine or link.  These curious visitors are hunting with specific objectives in mind and are looking for companies that can fulfil their needs faster, more completely and more cost effectively.  You want to make your website a rich hunting ground.


Prospective customers will want to find easy-to-read text which is informative and relevant to their specific needs.  They want reliable, trustworthy information highlighting the benefits of your products or services; you should provide that information in an easy to digest format.  Allow the structure of your site to break the copy into manageable chunks and use headings and sub-headings to direct the reader’s attention.


4.      The basics

Visitors to your website will often only scan your text initially, looking for relevant subject headings and specific information.  Use headings and sub-headings as signposts to draw attention to specific information about your products or services and emphasise points of interest with a different colour or font size.  You should also break your text into easily digested paragraphs or chunks.


Remember to make sure the font and colour are easily read against your background and that the formatting lends itself to quick scanning.  You should also ensure that the text is proofread vigorously.  Text with spelling mistakes, poor grammar and improper use of punctuation can erode your credibility and your professional image.


5.      Generate and maintain interest

It is vital that your copy attracts the reader’s attention; if your readers aren’t interested they will leave your site.  Ensure the most critical information is presented first and that your text follows a priority of importance.  Your page headings must be attention-grabbing and the subject headings and text that follows should be relevant.  Eliminate any unnecessary and irrelevant text to help maintain the reader’s attention throughout the page.


6.      Allow for reader-friendly navigation

The site must be reader-friendly and have clear navigation; it’s counterproductive if your readers feel as though they are stumbling about blindly trying to find relevant information.  Hyperlinks between pages must be clearly labelled and visible.  PDF files should also be clearly labelled and you should inform the reader of the type and size of the media being downloaded, if applicable.  Site maps are a convenient way to show the reader how the site is structured if it is a large site.


7.      Keeping it clean

Keep your page layout clean and simple; clutter will lead to confusion or irritation.  Use a standard, consistent format and maintain the same font type and size throughout the main body of the text for consistency.  Readers like a consistent approach, as it makes sense and doesn’t upset their ability to take in the information they need.


8.      Use clear and plain language

You should try to make your language as clear and plain as possible; use the language and terms of your customers where appropriate.  As well as being relevant to your customers, it will show that you have an intimate knowledge of your target market.  Use the intuitive and accepted naming conventions popular with your audience.  Avoid sector-exclusive jargon or language which is too technical; you must aim to make your approach as broadly appealing as is reasonable within your objectives. 


9.      Keep your web pages print-friendly

Keep in mind some people will print your pages to review later or use as reference material.  Where possible, it is an idea to ensure that your page layout is not too wide to print on a standard A4 portrait page.  Reduce any unnecessary vertical scrolling to read your web pages as well - sometimes it is unavoidable, just be aware of it.


10.    Keep your material current

Make sure your website content is both accurate and current. Your website should be checked with as much diligence as any database.  Remove any old or irrelevant information and be sure to add new products, services, articles or news onto your site as and when necessary.