Top 10 Tips for writing better copy for your website
“To follow you I’m not content, until I know which way you went” – supposedly found scribbled on a tombstone.
This could be one of the best pieces of advice a writer can be given, especially when writing web copy. If your audience has no idea what direction your article or web page is taking, how can they hope to follow your line of argument or information.
Similarly, the Google algorithm is influenced positively by clear, planned writing which follows well related discussion on a given topic. This relationship increases the opportunities for better Google page rankings and subsequently more visitors will find you and love your site.
What follows is a simple list of solutions to better website copywriting:
Planning to write about your topic is an essential part of all copywriting tasks.
Use clear well understood language; don’t show off your ability to resurrect half the Oxford English Dictionary in a page of copy, use words that are unambiguous and generally well understood by the everyday person.
Keep your copy on topic, it is easier for your user to understand what message you are trying to communicate. It also makes it simpler for the search engines to understand the topic and place your pages higher in searches for users who are genuinely looking for something relevant to your text.
Keep your wording as main body text, don’t embed it into your images as it is impossible for the search engines to read and difficult if users want to reuse your words by copy and paste for future reference etc.
Understand why your users visit your site – for credible, relevant, useful content – therefore; keep your content fresh by uploading interesting, new information regularly. This will deliver added value to your visitor. By updating regularly, you will not only keep your visitors satisfied, you will also encourage the Google spider bots to revisit your site on a regular basis and index your new content. This in turn will make your pages more available to potential searchers.
Always remember that the real user of your content is the site visitor and not a search engine. This implies a commitment to providing user-useful content so, don’t stuff keywords into your content, don’t just write paragraphs which say nothing to fit in words you think people will search for.
Don’t just copy the same words onto multiple pages of your site. For example, if you have a product rich site, don’t start or finish every single product page with duplicate content with an ‘about the company’ spiel. It is boring for your user and looks like duplicate content to search engines which may cause these pages to become “un-indexed” in the search engines.
Never, ever hide text from users but display to search engines, this is done by having text on a page in exactly the same colour as the background. Search engines will black list your site and you may never get it back in a search results page – if your customers can’t find your website, they can’t find you. This is known as a black hat search engine optimisation technique and should never be used.
Avoid sentences and lists created to merely cover off all possible spellings of projected keywords. This could be something like “It is well known that search engine ‘optimisation’ can also be spelled ‘optimization’ and that there are many people who spell ‘search’ as ‘serch’.” This is a sentence with no relevance or use to potential site visitors, it is annoying and negative to search engines.
As we said at the outset, good (or at the least, some) planning is the basis for a quality article or web page. Understand your user, determine the messages you want to communicate and plan a well researched selection of copy. Start with an introduction which leads your reader into the topic. Follow up with clearly detailed paragraphs of information and finish with a summary which ties all of your ideas together.
Every opportunity you have to communicate with your audience is a gift, they have invited you into their sanctuary by landing on your website and staying there – don’t disappoint them, or make your users wish they hadn’t opened their door to you.