Finding the right words for your business can be difficult. When faced with this challenge, decision makers usually go one of two ways. They are either obsessed over every last detail and the new website copy never sees the light of day, or they decide it doesn’t really matter all that much and string any old words together. Thankfully, there is a third way, and it will result in much more effective website copy without an inevitable headache.
The first step is to get past the idea that the copy needs to be perfect. Done is better than perfect because it means you can get it live and start seeing the benefits. And if something isn’t working, you can easily change it. If you’re in the process of updating your website copy, follow these simple steps…
Define your audience
You’ll never find your voice if you’re not sure who you are speaking to. This doesn’t have to be uniform across the website and your tone of voice might vary depending on the purpose of the page. Once you have established your target audience, figure out what would be most valuable to them and this will help to shape the content you create.
Cut the jargon
If you operate in a highly technical field it might feel like there’s no way to cut out the industry buzzwords. But you need to find a way to write without buzzwords and jargon. Assume that your target audience knows nothing about what you do and explain it to them from scratch. Not only will this help your reader to better understand but there’s a good chance that Google will like it too.
When it comes to describing what you do, take note that web users are tired of hyperbole and exaggeration. Stick to the facts and back it up with evidence. You can increase trust by using videos, images and linking to trusted external sources.
Keep it snappy
Keep paragraphs and sentences short. Remember that web users typically scan the text looking for the bits that mean something to them. This means that meaningful subheadings can be far more valuable than an entire paragraph of unbroken text.
The text as a whole can be long-form, just make sure it is broken up into manageable chunks. In normal writing scenarios, you might be afraid of writing in broken sentences. But this can be a really useful way to make your writing more snappy and succinct. It’s a method employed by Apple to command attention.
If you’re unsure if your writing is snappy enough, you should check the readability score. A tool like Hemingway App will help you to cut the run-on sentences and choose simpler words where possible.
Write for people with search engines in mind
As much as the search giants would have us all believe that they are smart enough to know what every page on the web is about, the truth is that they still appreciate some pointers. There are subtle ways to ensure your page is picked up for the right keywords without resorting to illegible keyword stuffing, which is bad practice.
- Stop obsessing over exact match keywords. This is particularly true of local keyword variants. It takes serious skill to include a local keyword in a chunk of text naturally, so don’t worry about it. If you include multiple variants of the same keyword, this will be just as effective.
- Check the keyword is included in all the right places, including the meta title and description, image alt tags, H2 headings and as an anchor text link from other pages on the site.
- Don’t neglect the long tail keywords. Voice search is changing the way we search, so keywords are getting a lot more conversational and specific. Don’t be afraid of getting niche with your keyword targets.
Don’t worry about repetition
If you were writing an article, you might be wary about making the same point again and again. When you’re writing for the web, you can afford to make the same point a few times on the same page. This is particularly true for your call to action. Web users like to be told what their next step should be, so ensure you offer plenty of CTAs throughout your text.
Remember that no one is going to read your website “as a whole” so even if you’ve explained something on one page, there’s no reason you can’t explain the concept again on another page. You can also explain it briefly and then include a link to a more detailed explanation. This type of interlinking helps make a strong user experience.
A note on duplicate content
It’s a commonly held belief that duplicate content will lead to a Google penalty. This simply isn’t the case. When Google finds duplicate content, it serves the page which it believes to be most relevant and the most original source, it’s unlikely to do you harm.
Obviously, try to avoid completely copying text from another site, this will be an issue, but having duplicate content on your own site is often an unavoidable event. By making use of canonical tags, you can direct search engines to the most relevant version of the text without sacrificing the user experience on your website.