Poor copy can spoil a great website
I’ve seen a couple of examples of badly written copy on websites recently, which is all too often the result of a rush to get a website designed and live. In these cases, copy is often simply pasted onto a new site, with little thought to the importance of good, keyword-enriched content.
So, it set me thinking, do companies know the value of having good quality content throughout their websites?
In this blog, we give some ‘good practice tips’ for website copy:
- Write for the user – not the search engine
There are many examples of websites which have been written specifically for the search engines and are therefore not very reader-friendly. It is important to make sure your content is readable and flows well and is not too widely littered with company or brand names or, indeed, too many keywords. Google recognises ‘Keyword stuffing’ and will downgrade websites in search engines that do this overtly. If you need help with writing website copy to suit your customers and the search engines, give our web copy team a call on 01709 300130.
- Keep the content concise
There’s no need to labour the point. Website visitors, and that includes your customers, are skim-readers who usually prefer to review information quickly, without getting too bogged down in the detail. For example, if you want to quote industry legislation, create a separate downloadable document to link to, rather than including pages of heavy going content.
- Check and re-check grammar and spellings
Companies spend lots of time and effort making sure their copy is spell checked and grammatically correct for their brochures and printed literature, then often don’t give it enough consideration on their website. It’s really important to make sure that spellings, grammar and punctuation are correct on website copy. Once it’s written, ask a couple of other people to check it over for you to make sure nothing has been overlooked.
- Start with conclusions at the beginning of your page content and work backwards
Professional web copywriters often structure their content by starting with the most pertinent facts and findings that would normally form the conclusion. The rest of the content should be used to explain these key points introduced at the start. This ensures you engage the reader on the page instantly.
- Write with authority, position yourself as the experts in that subject area
Your website is your opportunity to position yourself as the experts in the field and to demonstrate your expertise. Copy should be assertive, positive and optimistic, giving you the opportunity to shout about your products and services, accolades, awards or innovation within your business. Make sure that you include case studies, as they are the greatest endorsement that your business could have. That includes asking customers for permission to quote them – you don’t need to use your contact’s name, just the company name if you are concerned about giving away information to competitors. Also it is worth the effort of sourcing good, high quality imagery to accompany any case studies.
- Make sure your content is readable for the audience
This may sound obvious, but make sure you keep your target audience in mind when you write your web copy. Most importantly, your content needs to be engaging as it’s these visitors to your site that you are trying to convert. Keep the tone conversational, rather than too wordy - and avoid jargon.
- Be specific – where it matters
One of the tricks with content is to be specific where it matters. This is particularly important from an SEO point of view. For example, too many websites make sweeping statements that are, in fact, meaningless to the reader and to the search engine. For example, ‘we are a roofing solutions provider, we cater to all our customers’ needs.’ This could be rephrased for a roofing company, along the lines of “We are a roofing tile manufacturer that manufacturers roofing slates and tiles that we supply and install for homeowners, schools and office buildings…” This is much more reader and search engine friendly.
- Use relevant images to enhance your copy
Make sure you carefully select images that enhance the message you are trying to get across, rather than detract from it. Ensure that images are good quality, as they have a direct impact on the appearance of your site.
- Keep the copy well ordered
Use ordered lists but make sure you limit yourself to ten bullet points or less. It is important to focus on one subject per paragraph and to include internal subheadings that make scanning the text easier. If your headers and sub headers are keyword enriched, it will make your copy more search engine friendly.
Keep sentences short and uncomplicated. Avoid conditional sentences, for example, “Should you be looking for cryogenic valves for the marine sector, make sure you get in touch with our team who could help you...” this sounds unnecessarily complicated and could be difficult to understand.
- Back up the copy with facts and figures – for added credibiilty
The internet is great for giving small businesses the same platform to showcase themselves as much larger businesses, helping to make it appear larger and more credible. Give your website added credibility by backing up statements with facts and statistics.
For more information on our web copywriting services, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01709 300130.