Writing Great Web Copy – Our Top Tips.
Copywriting is a specialist marketing skill, which takes years to master – and creating great web copy is a specialist area within copywriting…
I have a particular passion for it (I guess it goes back to all my years as a lawyer, analysing words and drafting documents…)
For anyone writing blogs or adding new web pages (or email newsletters), following our simple guidelines will make a huge difference.
It’s essential to start by being clear who your target reader is – and what you want them to do. Everything flows from this simple start point.
So, always write your copy with your ideal customer or potential customer in mind. If you don’t know who they are, it’s worth working on this.
Simple demographics are a good place to start – age, gender, occupation and income levels, plus lifestyle and interests. A great tip is to give them a name. So let’s do just that – we’ll call her Catherine perhaps. Or Cathy, or Cate.
Call To Action
Make sure you end by telling Cate what you would like her to do next: phone you, make an appointment, email you, apply for a consultation or visit your blog etc. It may be quite low key, but it still needs to be clear.
This is probably the no 1 marketing principle of all time and it may seem pretty obvious. Yet a complete absence of any “Call to Action”, even on home pages, is probably the commonest mistake we see… on website after website.
All your copy should be written with the desired end action in mind, so it flows naturally towards this.
Ideally, write in the first person and as if you are talking directly to Cate, to build connection, trust and a strong relationship.
This also means using the language you would use in conversation – avoid over formal or old fashioned phrases.
Here’s a common example: “whilst”. I can’t remember when I last heard anyone use this word when talking to anyone – but I can assure you, it’s very popular in written material. Every 3rd bio includes it.
Our next top tip, especially for anyone who has professional expertise, is no tekkie jargon. Swap all technical language for everyday phrases, which Cate understands and uses herself.
Vets, Doctors, Engineers and Lawyers, this is for you! No legalese, no acronyms, no medical terms, unless they are mainstream.
It’s all about the words people use in everyday situations. So Cardiology is ok. Cate has been watching medical soaps such as Casualty for years, and she goes to the gym and does cardio workouts. Even so, heart disease is better still.
Oncology is not. Just stop for a moment: do you really think everyone who owns a pet knows what it means? Well, I had to look it up the first time I saw it and I’ve got 2 degrees, plus fitness qualifications, as well as years of pet owning. Now consider the alternative: Cancer. Cate knows exactly what that is. (Of course, it’s a zodiac sign – her sister is a Cancer.) Seriously, she won’t be confused.
Just remember to focus on benefits not features. This is another often repeated marketing mantra, but it’s still easy to forget.
The essence of it is this:
Of course, you are very proud of your new scanning machine – and it cost your practice a fortune – but actually, Cate isn’t very interested in the technicalities, or its long German brand name (which she hasn’t heard of).
But she is very interested in a fast and accurate diagnosis – which means her precious pet will be treated more effectively and will recover faster.
Visual layout is an important part of good web copy: readability is not just about words. Short and Sweet is the rule here. Cate reads much slower online. So choose simple words over longer ones and shorten your sentences and paragraphs.
Keep to 3-4 lines per paragraph, use commas and add line breaks too, rather than start a new sentence at the end of a line. Plus of course, use headings and bullets and use colour for contrast.
Typically you only have a few seconds to make an impact and get your message across, so you need to maximise everything you do.
There is much more to great copywriting of course – from psychology to storytelling, but following these tips is a great place to start.
If you are looking for professional copywriting options for your new website, we can do this for you.