If you're involved in the ever-changing world of SEO, content sharing, and engagement, you've probably read tips for better web copy a hundred times. I hope you've also compiled a list of your favorite techniques to use when writing copy for a website, especially if you're always writing for the same one. Consistency is a wonderful thing.
I have, below, my personal checklist for writing exceptional web copy. This list is what makes my writing so impeccable, so intriguing, so...brag-worthy. Well, maybe not all that, but these tips DO help me organize my copy into something worth reading.
People don't want to read long-winded, encyclopedia-esque paragraphs. That's comparable to listening to someone read the Dictionary
. It's a direct correlation; I studied it. So, unless your target demographic would love to have someone read them the Dictionary, don't write that way.
Think of your copy as a conversation between you and the reader. The most interesting conversations are quick back-and-forth interactions that deal with the issue head on. Don't beat around the bush; be direct and conversational. Always think, "If I were face to face with this person, how would I explain my point?" A great tip: write everything out in a "stream of consciousness"
and then convert that into manageable copy.
Lists are a great way to break up monotonous copy. If you find yourself writing an extensive paragraph that can be turned into a list, turn it into a list!
Lists are great for web copy:
- They are easy to scan.
- They break up copy to give readers a break.
- They are great for drawing attention to imporant pieces of information.
- They can be used for almost any scenario.
I once heard it was impossible to have too many lists. I wouldn't push that theory and try to prove it wrong, but let it reassure you when you think you may be pushing the envelope. Heck, this entire blog post is a large list.
This is addressed in every "write good copy" post I've ever seen. Whether you're blogging, writing an "about" page, or filling up content on your home page, it's all about the keywords. Many times, I see articles encouraging writers to plug in keywords as often as possible. I take a slightly different approach; I believe natural writing encourages keywords on its own.
For instance, let's imagine I'm selling coffee cups.
I would not write: Our coffee cups are the best coffee cups because our coffee cups keep the coffee in your cup warm all day so you never have to have cold coffee in your coffee cup.
I would write: We make our coffee cups with the goal of keeping your coffee warm all day. Enjoy!
The point is, the former is horrible to read and many search engines will realize your are keyword stuffing. Always remember to impress your customer first and the search engine second.
Use Legit Links
Remember when I said to keep your writing short and conversational? Imagine you're telling a story. While telling your story, if you're a decent story-teller, you don't sidetrack to explain every bit of information. The only time you stop the story to explain a backstory or define something is when the listener asks you to. Do the same when writing. Instead of side-tracking to explain a concept, link to it. If the reader understands, you don't need to waste time explaining; if the reader doesn't understand, (s)he can follow the link and return to the story.
On that topic make sure you are getting quality backlinks to your website
, but that's another subject.
Don't Try Too Hard
This may be the most important piece of advice I tell myself every time I write. Don't force anything. Trying to create random links is obvious. Trying to stuff keywords is obvious. Your readers enjoy quality information. Don't think too far past that.
What are your best ideas for creating great content for your website?