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Marketing | 5 essential principles of writing for the web


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By the Newsletter Team
Writing marketing copy for the web is not the same as writing in other contexts. Web writing requires a unique approach because the audience is very different: they have short attention spans, actively engage with your content and see through regular marketing rhetoric. Here are the five principles of writing effective and excellent web copy for your website or company blog.

Computer user1. Keep it short and simple
There is an almost infinite amount of content on the web, and web users have a very short attention span. Therefore, good web copy is short, simple and laid out for optimum readability – full of paragraphs, bolding, bullet points and spacing. Nobody will read a long block of text, no matter how good the content is. Rather split your content into shorter pieces and stick to simple, non-jargon words.

2. Be genuine and honest

Web users expect a personal, genuine and frank tone from your writing. Any attempt to embellish or hide information will make them mistrustful of your content – they will easily distinguish truth from hype. Address your audience as you would a smart business acquaintance – polite but informal, honest without being patronising.

3. Focus on the headline

Your headline is the number one reason people will – or will not – read your text. Since web users skim vast quantities of content every day, your headline has to stand out and grab their attention. Short, specific and intriguing headlines work best. Ask a question (“Is your software up to date?”), provide a solution (“5 ways to fix your leaking roof”) or give an explanation (“Why red wine is good for you”).

4. Have a call to action

A call to action is a statement that directs your reader to do something specific. Calls to action are vital for your web writing because they steer your readers towards the actions you want them to take. Without a call to action, they will simply move on to other things; with a clear call to “sign up now” or “follow us on Twitter”, they have a logical next step if they want to engage with you.

5. Create value

Quality beats quantity every time. Web users will filter out boring or irrelevant material and won’t visit your website again if they don’t find anything useful. Write blog posts, articles and other content that is entertaining, interesting and that creates real value for your readers – lists of tips or advice, simple explanations of complex topics and insider information are all excellent ideas.

Back to SmartyPants Newsletter - July 2011 Edition

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

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