The way users read a website is different from the way they read printed material. More often than not, they’re scanning pages for information in an attempt to complete a task as quickly as possible.
Thus, while crafting content for your new website, there are a few best practices to keep in mind that will help enable you to increase conversions and keep people on your site.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
Consider who will be reading and using your web content before you start writing. What are they looking for, and what do they need? Be sure the tone, language and organization of content is appropriate for your audience and include bold calls to action to encourage action.
Remember to refer back to your organizational brand guidelines if you have any questions about tone, language and editorial consistency.
Use Call-to-Action Buttons
Call-to-action (CTA) buttons are the buttons you use throughout your website and on your landing pages to guide users towards specific goals. It’s the part of the landing page that the user needs to click on in order to take the action you want them to take.
CTA buttons can vary in style and size depending on your goal conversion and website style. Call-to-action buttons should feature striking, action-oriented text. For instance, if you wanted to guide users toward donating to a special educational initiative, you could consider using an action-packed phrase like “Give Education” to encourage the action or donating.
Remember, readers scan information when they’re online. Our attention spans and patience are significantly less honed for the consumption of online content. As a result, your website’s copy needs to be clear and direct.
Try removing words or descriptions that don’t add value to the content, and consider what information the user is actually seeking. Avoid adding filler text just to fill space, less is oftentimes more when it comes to digital content.
Break Up Text
Readers scan web pages before they read. If they don’t recognize useful, relevant content, they
often move on. Elements that enhance scanning include:
Bold, italicized or highlighted text
Graphics and images
However, be careful not to overemphasize content and confuse the visual and editorial hierarchy of information.
It may distract readers and cause them to lose focus of headers and content priority.
Use Active Voice
Writing in the active voice is more clear, conversational and engaging than the passive voice. Front-loading your sentences is the basic premise of writing in the active voice. In active voice writing, the subject is the one doing the action.
To use the active voice in your writing:
Start with the subject
Follow with a strong action verb
Follow the verb with a direct object
Examples of Active Voice
Alex posted the video on Facebook. (active)
The video was posted on Facebook by Alex. (passive)
10,000 people bought a buy-one give-one holiday box this year. (active)
This year, a buy-one give-one holiday box was bought by 10,000 people. (passive)
Getting to the point quickly creates effective online content, and using the active voice is the easiest way to accomplish that. It lends your writing a natural sense of urgency, and makes for stronger, more compelling copy.
Keep it Simple
Use your readers’ language. When creating page titles, headers, list items and links, choose your words carefully. Keep your sentence structure simple and avoid uncommon words, slang, and jargon that your audience might not be familiar with.
One way you can identify those terms is through keyword research.
While search engines like Google have evolved to understand your content more contextually—i.e. they don’t need the exact keywords your user is searching for to be crammed into your content—keyword research is an incredibly useful way to understand the questions your audience has that you can answer.
If you’re just beginning your search into keyword use, there are many tools to help you identify the words that people search:
If all of these tools are new to you, Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner Tool is usually a good place to start. However before you delve too deep into keyword planner research, it’s important to ask yourself whether the keyword you’re looking for is actually relevant to your website’s content goals.
Will searchers find what they’re looking for on your site when they search using the keywords you’ve included?
A Simpler Way to Write
Now that you know how to make sure your website copy is clear, concise and optimized, you’re ready to get started on writing (or re-writing) your content. Need a little help or a second set of
eyes? We’ve got you covered.