Writing for the web is MUCH different that how we learned how to write in school. It’s much less formal and WAY more conversational.
There are some easy things you can do to make sure that what you are putting out there on the digital screen is awesome. It’s time to write better web copy!
Tend that White Space
White space is the “nothing” on the page, which may or may not be actual WHITE. It’s the space around your paragraphs, the space around your images, etc.
When writing for the web, you want lots of it.
No one wants to come to a page and see a huge block of TEXT. So, give your copy some breathing space.
That means writing shorter paragraphs. Some will be just one sentence long, which is PERFECT!
When you first start writing for the web, it will feel weird at first. But, trust me, keeping a lot of white space around your copy will make your web pages so much easier to read.
Break Up Your Page
This is especially true for longer pages – like for your product & services sales pages – you don’t want a ton of copy just going on and on forever.
Use heading to make headlines bigger and bolder.
Like this (heading 1)
or like this one (heading 3)
Or you can break up the space by giving it EXTRA whitespace, which I talked about above.
Or use a horizontal line:
Or, on longer pages – like your sales or even your about page, with some themes you can give a whole block of text a different background color. (see this sales page for an example of how I did that)
Or, use images to give the brain a rest for a minute.
There are a ton of ways to break up the copy and that will keep things flowing for your readers. Experiment and keep working on this as you develop your own style.
Highlight The Important Stuff
Readers on the internet SCAN the page for the useful information that they’re looking for. Many, many people don’t sit and read every.single.word. on your page.
Help out your readers by directing traffic.
Use headings to create sections. I did that on this post by using a heading style for each of the 7 ways to make your copy better.
You can also bold the most important bit of information inside each section.
Don’t get carried away with this! Remember that you’re guiding your reader through your content – you want to give them what they came for, not make your page too busy.
A good test is to go back and read what your wrote – your blog post or a web page and JUST read the heading and bolded parts. Don’t read the smaller words.
If you were just arriving to this page would you know what it’s about, would you want to read more, would you be curious enough to want to read deeper?
Speak Directly To Your Dream Client
Imagine that you’re sending an email to your most favorite client. How would you speak? What language would you use?
How would you craft your message, knowing exactly who they are and what they most want from you and your business?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing for MANY, but everyone out there (hi, I see you!) is just one person, doing their thing.
The best way to connect with your dream client is to write directly to THEM. The individual, the awesome person that they are. Be related and familiar and yourself. Like you’re sending an email to one specific person who you absolutely adore. (and they absolutely adore YOU!)
Before I sit down to write anything for my business, I picture my dream client in my mind and I imagine that I’m writing this JUST for them, so it helps and forwards what they’re up to.
Be More Casual
This one takes tons of practice, but will make your web copy flow like magic.
Think about how you might write a text to someone, or an email to a friend. Contrast that with how you might right to a college professor.
A GREAT tip to help with this is to use contractions for your words.
- I’m vs I am
- You’re vs You are
- You’d vs You would
- It’s vs It is
Etc. This is the part that takes practice. I still have to go over my copy and shorten up my writing, and I’ve been practicing this for years!
Take the time to review your copy and push those words together, loosen things up a bit! This is how we speak and when people read it, they’ll feel more like you’re talking directly to them.
Write How You Speak
As much as possible, write exactly how you talk. I have lots of Lisa-isms that creep up when I’m chatting with friends or favorite clients. I make up words and use them wrong or I structure my sentences in funny ways – like all the time!
When I catch myself doing that when I’m writing, I leave ’em in place. It makes what I’m writing sound just like ME and when a new client starts working with me, they aren’t caught off guard – they already have an idea about how I sound.
Plus, it adds personality and promotes your own flavor of awesome.
Keep It Simple
This isn’t a Phd dissertation, people! You’re business is about connection and relationships. Don’t alienate people by sounding too smart. (even though I know you are!)
Clear communication is going to win over clever wordiness any day. Share your ideas in a clear, simple and straightforward way – every time.
You want people to get what you’re saying, not be impressed with your big brain, as sexy as that may be!
There are a ton more things you can do to write more COMPELLING copy and I’m sure to share my ideas about that down the road. But, for now, start practicing these seven practices and you’ll start to see your writing improve, I promise!