Usually when I first encounter a new client needing a website, they are excited about the prospect of having their very own website for the whole world to see. They are full of ideas on how the website should look, what color scheme to use, which logo they want on the site, but they often overlook the textual content, or Web-copy, they want to put on the site.
When it comes down to it, copy-writing for a website can seem burdensome. Most people can describe their organization or business in a few sentences, but obviously you need more than that to fill up a website.
Web-copy is different in the sense that not only are you providing information, you are often trying get people to do something like make a purchase, set an appointment, to sign-up for an event, or something similar. So what’s the best approach for writing copy?
Let’s start with a big DON’T. DON’T copy information from another site and simply paste it on yours. Google and other search engines can recognize when content has been copied, and will often penalize sites that have pulled content from another site.
Well then the next step logically is to simply re-word content from another site. True, this is how a lot of people approach their web-copy, and you won’t necessarily be dinged by search engines for doing this. (Although their algorithms are getting quite clever, so probably won’t be long before they figure that out too.) However, if you really want your site to stand-out, the best approach is to try to create fresh, unique content.
Who knows better about your business or organization than you? You probably spend most of your day there and spend most of your day talking about it. Pay attention to your conversations with your clients or customers. Listen to what they are asking and think about how you would answer that in writing. Often you will hear yourself say something and think ‘That would be great for the website!’. Well take a moment and write it down. Or you will forget. Trust me.
Do a little research. While it’s not a good idea to steal content from competitors, it is a good idea to see how they approach their web-copy. Watch for formulas like a heading, then a paragraph, followed by bullet points. Use opening statements that draw peoples attention and highlight key parts of your content with bold, italics, or even different colors.
Keep in mind you will have several pages to write on, so no need to put all information in one place. For example if you have a law firm and different areas of practice, create a page for each area of practice. Or if you have a jewelry store, create a page for each product you sell. In fact, it’s favorable to have certain keywords linking to other pages within your site (called internal links) as the goal should be to have visitors of your site ‘click-through’ to other pages thus becoming further engaged as to what your site is about.
Most importantly be simple, clear, and concise. It’s true that most web page viewers simply skim information, but about %16 actually read the content thoroughly, and they are probably the target audience that’s most likely to buy, subscribe, or enlist. Keywords and keyword phrases are still an important part of content and should be used frequently, but only in a natural manner. Keyword stuffing was one of the major crackdowns by Google last year and a lot of websites suffered.
Keep your paragraphs short. Like this one.
At the end of the day, you could always hire a copy-writer, but that is often an expensive prospect. Using your own knowledge and resources, you will probably end up with more content than you need (if there is such a thing).
If you ever have questions about copy-writing, please feel free to call Sadler Web Design at (602)460-5610 for guidance and suggestions.