Keys to Great Web Copy
This blog was updated on April 8, 2020 by Sam Von Tobel
One of the most overlooked aspects of any web design project is web copy.
Giving your website better visual appeal, better functionality or bringing it to the modern era are all very common reasons for a web redesign. However, very rarely do you see a redesign solely because of web copy.
There are two routes you can go when it comes to web copy: use the copy from your old website or start from scratch with a rewrite.
If you decide to go with a rewrite, it’s a great opportunity to reevaluate your site’s existing content and turn something that may currently be sloppy and bland into something that is an asset to your business and your website.
Every website deserves great web copy, so what are keys? Whether you are writing brand new web copy or evaluating your current site, make sure you focus on these aspects of web copy.
Keep it simple
In the Internet age, attention spans are at a premium. You will only have a person’s attention for a short period of time, so you have to make the most of it. If someone visiting your site is greeted with paragraphs of text, you don’t stand a chance of keeping them around for long.
Too much copy will do nothing but bog down visitors and turn them away. When it comes to web copy, don’t be cute. Keep the information simple, concise and straight to the point. Keep your copy in a format that can be easily scanned and processed by visitors.
How do you do that? You can learn some tips here, but a few easy ways to make your copy more digestible is to guide visitors with headlines that stand out, break down information with bullet points as well as emboldening important key words and phrases so that if visitors only process a few words, its those.
Be careful with that last one though. Too much bold-faced text and it loses its power.
Write copy that sounds like you
Your website and web copy isn’t just a way for people to get information about you or your business. In addition to being a way to inform visitors, your web copy is an extension of you and your brand that you have worked so hard to establish.
While you are writing, consider how what you are writing fits in with the rest of your marketing and messaging. Is it consistent? Does it sound like it is coming from the same source? Does this even sound like me or something I would ever say?
Copy with contradictory messaging or tones from the rest of your marketing on social media, email, print or television advertisement can be jarring and very confusing for visitors, whether they are already familiar with you or just getting acquainted. If you aren’t sure, you can always bounce it around others within your business or organization for feedback.
Don’t focus too heavily on SEO
Depending on who you ask, SEO is either awesome or basically the devil. Sometimes, both at the same time. Either way, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who says SEO isn’t important, and they are right. The importance and emphasis of SEO causes some people to do some pretty crazy things with their copy, including tactics like casting a wide net of different keywords and padding copy with them to no end.
Don’t do that. At the end of the day, this kind of SEO obsession will hurt you in several different ways. First of all, search engines will actually punish, not reward, keyword padding. Second, trying to juggle multiple keywords puts you in competition with more websites than you would with a smaller number of keywords.
Both of these contribute to hurting your Google ranking, but the final reason you should stay away from padding is the harm it can do to your reputation. Have you ever read someone’s website where they focus too much on SEO? The web copy just doesn’t sound right. It is like it was written by someone who doesn’t have a firm grasp on how normal people talk and can be really alienating to visitors.
Here’s my advice: stick to a couple simple keywords and just let them naturally find their way in.
Finding the right balance
This doesn’t mean, however, that you have a pass to go super light on content. Each page needs to read clearly and give good direction, but still needs to hit the right notes so that it gains visibility in search. It is a delicate balance for sure! There are a few ways you can work towards balancing a good word count, mixing in a good keyword count, while maintaining good readability and direction.
Let’s start with word count. While there are many varying opinions on “the optimal word count,” for landing pages, we usually recommend a minimum of 600 words. Now, that can seem like a lot for a page that may not necessarily need all that copy, but you can get creative on presentation to make pages that don’t need all that info seem as dense. Include the most relevant information front and center and cut it off with a CTA. Most people will stop reading there, which means stashing the rest of the copy, which may not be as relevant, is a good way to still include it without forcing your readers to sift through it all.
So how does your web copy stack up? Does it hit these points? Is it time to go back to the drawing board? Or, do you just need a little help from someone like me?
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How do you write good web copy?
Good web copy is written in a way that sounds natural. Don’t try to overstuff it with keywords, trying to appeal to Google search engine algorithms, and instead focus on making it best reflect your voice and style and easy to read so visitors have a clear path and understanding of navigating your website. Do bear in mind, however, good practices on word count and aim for at least 600 words per page.
This content is brought to you by Roundpeg, an Indianapolis marketing company.