Printed copy on the web – does it work?

One of the common mistakes made in business is using copy that may apply to printed collateral, on the web. It may seem easy, even logical to just ‘lift and shift’, however there should be some marked differences. Here’s a list of 10 tips to make your web copy more appealing and persuasive.

(copy = text!  Do you get funny looks from your non-marketing colleagues when you use the term ‘copy’?)

Extra, Extra – read all about it!

1. A winning headline

A winning headline is the determining factor whether or not your article will get read. Although commonly used, a list post (like the one used for this blog) is still very effective. The reader will subconsciously think “it won’t take me long to read 10 tips” so are more inclined to click through/scroll down.

2. Clear and concise content

You want to make it very clear what your article is about, so when someone is scanning web page they know instantly if your article/page is what they’re looking for.

3. Answer a question or offer a solution to a problem

If your headline offers a solution or answers a question –great! It makes it easier for the reader to find your article if you’re solving their problem. We’re in an age where people want fast answers and quick fixes, so make sure you can be found when they ‘Google it’.

Content is king

The difference between copy on printed collateral and web copy is that people READ printed copy, but SCAN web copy. Depending on your CMS (Content Management System) you may even have a limited character count. We recommend you-

4. Present your content in short, digestible chunks.

Much as a list post subconsciously has the reader deciding to read your article based on the length of time it’ll take, the same goes for short paragraphs. Try writing the message that you’re trying to convey down. Remove any unnecessary words and break down to 4/5 line paragraphs.

That way, it’s digestible, easy to scan the key words and phrases you’re looking for and doesn’t seem like a chore to do so.

5. Don’t overcomplicate things

Definition of jargon (noun) – special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.

Our advice is: don’t use jargon! Use a language that relates to all audiences. This doesn’t mean you need to ‘dumb it down’ but remember this simple quote –“if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

6. Direct your copy to the reader. 

Use ‘you’, ‘your’ so the reader feels like what they’re reading relates to them and only them. You want the reader to feel like you’re talking directly to them so imagine you’re having a one on one conversation. They’re more likely to engage with your content, and ultimately register/sign up or click through.

7. Present your core message ‘above the fold’. 

Keep your key points near the top, before the reader has to start scrolling down – this is where you lose people (regardless of screen size). According to Neilsen, up to 84% of users drop off after the fold. Sub headers are a great way to get the key points across, that will then entice the user to read below the fold.

8. Link to other relevant articles or pages within your site.

Like our interesting blog on practical SEO tips (something to bear in mind whilst writing your web copy)

9. Support your copy with good imagery or even an infographic. 

You can read more about Infographics in our blog ‘Don’t be infotragic: how to create effective infographics.’ 

10. Finish with a Call to Action

You’ve put in all the hard work and effort to keep the reader on your page so ALWAYS finish with a call to action. This might be an opportunity for the user to share the page on social media, sign up to your newsletter or visit your online store so make sure they don’t miss it!

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