Creating great web copy is an art that requires a lot of skill, knowledge, and research. But it’s not impossible! In this article, you’ll find nine rules for writing high-quality copy that people want to read and that ranks high in search engine result pages.
Here’s an overview:
Knowing your audience is the first and most important step in writing, well, just about anything. But you have to go beyond basic demographics. Knowing your audience on a deeper level allows you to create buyer personas. Does your target audience own pets? Do they have particular hobbies? Do they visit certain websites? These are the sorts of key questions to ask yourself to better understand who your audience is.
Once you know who your audience is, create web copy that serves them. Writing for the sake of writing or simply saying “we’re the best company – buy our products because they’re the best” isn’t going to keep your audience engaged for very long! Instead, you need to cater to them by asking yourself some questions:
Now that you know your audience and how to cater to them, make sure you do thorough research to get a full picture. For example:
This is also where you can fill in any gaps in your buyer personas and form a clearer picture of who your target audience is. You could also conduct interviews or send out surveys to get inside the mind of your target audience to help you create web copy that appeals directly to them.
Would you speak to your elderly neighbor using TikTok slang? Probably not because they most likely don’t use TikTok and would have no idea what you’re talking about! But if your target audience does use TikTok, you might use TikTok terms and phrases in your web copy.
As part of your research, explore any specific aspects of language used by your target audience. Mimic speech patterns, vocabulary, and sentence structures they use regularly to appeal to and build rapport with them. This functions as a type of persuasive language strategy you can use throughout your web copy. What’s most important though, is that you communicate clearly and effectively in a simple and easy-to-understand way. Here are some things to avoid:
What’s your brand voice? A clear brand voice reflects your brand’s personality, tone, and style in all forms of communication: emails, posts, videos, and web copy. It’s important because it allows your readers to get to know you and your business – which is also why it should reflect your target audience’s language. If they can relate to what they’re reading, they’re more likely to continue reading, interact with your business, and buy your products or services.
Having a clear brand voice is also important to ensure your web copy is consistent. For example, your company’s blog posts should maintain the same voice as your social media posts.
Research shows that people tend not to read web pages in their entirety. At best, they usually skim or scan a page to find whatever information they’re looking for. Creating skimmable copy makes your web copy useful to readers, mobile-friendly, and more likely to show up on search engines’ top results.
Here are some features of skimmable web copy:
While there is lots of advice out there on how to boost your SEO, one thing’s for certain: keywords and SEO are the bread and butter of web copy. They’re what gets your web copy front and center. Be sure to research which keywords are relevant to your web copy and aim for three to four per article or post. Use keywords at the beginning of your copy to catch readers’ attention and appeal to the allusive algorithm gods.
However, if you’ve carried out thorough research and have a clear idea of your target audience’s language, then you’re already on the right path to effectively using keywords and SEO in your web copy. By default, you’ll be using the language used by your target audience, which will help direct them toward your products, information, or services.
Take everything discussed in this article – your buyer personas, your target audience’s use of language, your brand voice, and creating skimmable copy – and put it all in a style guide. Style guides ensure consistency across all your copy and are a great resource for your writers and editorial team.
A style guide should include the following:
To learn more about how to create a style guide, read our full guide.
If your business has a high volume of web copy, ensure your editorial team produces consistent, high-quality, and error-free writing with a productive editorial process. And if it’s just you editing your own writing, be sure to read it several times and have a second or even third pair of eyes scan it for you. The content may be excellent, but nobody is going to read it if it’s littered with errors or difficult-to-understand language.
Need help editing web copy for your business? Then look no further! Here at Proofed, we’ve worked with thousands of businesses and streamlined their editing processes. Give us a call today to see how we can help you.
Interested in reading more about how to produce high-quality web copy that stands out? Read The Ultimate Guide to Writing Great Website Copy.
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