Whenever I write any kind of copy for websites, whether it’s an about page, a service or work with me page, a sales page, email sequences or opt-in, it doesn’t matter, I’m always going to follow these following tips.
In fact, I’ve been following these patterns for so long, that it actually took me some time to remember what they were, because they’re so ingrained into my head and my entire writing process.
You should follow these five tips for effective website copy, anytime you are writing anything, like the kind of stuff I just mentioned above, however I know that sometimes, it’s okay to break any one of these. I trust you to make that call when needed.
Effective website copy is always conversational. I want you to think about when you’re writing any piece of copy and this is again really good for people who are stuck in corporate, academic or boring sounding writing, and you feel like you just can’t write in a conversational way.
I want you to picture that when you’re writing, you’re sitting down in a cafe with one of your best friends, talking about this topic. It could be an interesting topic, such as blog post SEO tips, or it could be a very dry topic, like legal matters for property management, however there’s a way to make anything sound conversational.
I want you to ask yourself, would I say it this way if I were talking to my friend? I actually want you to read the writing out loud and ask yourself would I ever say this or does it sound totally ridiculous to say out loud?
An audience of one
Tip number two is think about one person every time you write. I always think of just one person every time I write effective website copy. For instance, a blog post or a technical document.
When you think about that one person or as I like to call them, your audience of one, then it inspires you to really have a conversation with that person and it becomes a lot easier to know what to say.
I think a lot of what stumps us, is we’re trying to talk to too many different people and we know that if we say any one thing, we’re alienating all the rest of the audience, which actually isn’t true.
My third tip is use words like they will run out. The first part of the writing process is to do a brain dump of ideas and words, so you can get all of your ideas down on the screen.
However, then the challenge is to cut down all of your copy, so it is tighter and makes better sense. You should cut it back, as if words are a finite resource, until you know that there are no superfluous words in any of your articles or copy.
Tip number four, always format for easy reading. What I mean is I want you to use more headlines, sub headlines and lists.
The key here is to use these elements sparingly because the other flip side of this and I see this happen a lot, is people overdoing the headlines and the lists, and when you do too much of it, it actually loses the entire effect. It can be difficult when the topic is quite technical or you need to show lots of detail, such as setting up your own self managed super fund, or legal advice for new entrepreneurs and the like. You want to remember that effective website copy is where you do it enough to really call out the points you wish to get across, most.
Lucky last tip here, writing tip five. This follows on from the tip before. This is really true with online writing versus more traditional writing. That is, to stick to short paragraphs.
People are very short on time, online. They’re distracted with many devices and interruptions and you’ve got to stop pushing large blocks of text at them.
There you have it. My five tips for writing effective website copy. I hope you loved it, and found at least one rule that you’re going to go and implement right now.
All five of these tips can make a really big difference in the effectiveness of your writing. Focus on one at a time, until they all end up being habits.