20 Killer Web Copywriting Tips
This week we’ll be delving into the world of copy writing for web. Starting with an article by Christina Walker, content expert for Writtent. This article was originally posted here, thanks to JD Hancock for the image.
If you feel like becoming a Copywriting Superman, you need to learn how to attract visitors. Being able to put yourself into your customers’ shoes, you should also be eye-catching and unique in your content.
Do you want your customers to switch to your competitor’s website just because your headlines or paragraphs are too generic and scarce?
If not, use these 20 killer web copywriting tips to always stay in the forefront.
1. Use Active Voice.
When you use active voice, the subject does the action instead of being acted upon. That makes it powerful. Sentences that follow this structure are easier to understand, convey movement, and are naturally more interesting. For example:
“We wrote our new ebook to help you work smarter, not harder.”
“The new ebook written by our company can help you work smarter instead of harder.”
See how the first sentence is not only shorter, but easier to follow?
Active voice sentences can also begin with a verb, as in a command. For example:
Learn how to market your business smarter, not harder, with our new ebook.
Which of these example sentences you use depends on whether you want to emphasize the new ebook or what your audience will learn with it. But either option is exponentially better than long, convoluted sentences that bury the subject and verb.
2. Remember the Important Details.
Who, what, when, where, why, and how are critical for all good copywriting, not just journalism. Your readers want them because they make your copy real, concrete, and trustworthy.
3. Learn to Write Powerful Headlines.
All your copy is worthless if your headlines don’t entice visitors to click-through and read further. Use these resources from Copyblogger to help you write headlines that grab attention:
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines
- How to Write Headlines That Work
- The Cheater’s Guide to Writing Great Headlines
4. Make It Skimmable.
Readers online don’t read word for word. Instead, they scan to find what they’re looking for faster. Making your copy and content easy to skim gives them what they want, keeps their attention longer, and is easier for everyone to read.
Use a variety of formatting techniques that break up the text and draw the reader’s eye down the page. Some of the best ways to make web copy skimmable are:
- Use several headings and subheadings
- Create bulleted and numbered lists
- Format text with bold, italic, underlining, or color
- Include images, video, and other media and captions for each
- Write single-line paragraphs
- Vary sentence and paragraph length
5. Be Concise.
People have shorter attention spans than ever. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, and short overall messages to hold their attention.
The only exceptions to this tip are if you’re creating an epic resource, such as an ultimate guide or tutorial, or if a part of your appeal is long, thorough blog posts or books. Other content should still be as concise as possible.
6. Use Short Words.
Simple words communicate better than big words and pompous language. Stick with short uniquely English words instead of more complex Latin-based words. For example:
- show vs. indicate
- get rid of vs. eliminate
- help vs. assist or facilitate
- get vs. obtain
- best vs. superior
7. Don’t Worry so Much About Keywords.
They’re still important for search engine optimization, but the goal of every search engine update is to improve the algorithm and return the best results. When you write SEO copy primarily for your audience, not search engines, you help them reach that goal.
8. Avoid Jargon, Bureaucratese, Hype and Corporate Speak.
In the spirit of using simple words, being concise, and writing in the active voice, avoid these types of pompous language like the plague. They’re difficult to understand, and nobody wants to read them.
9. Incorporate Scarcity.
A powerful copywriting tip is to make something scarce, so prospects have to act quickly or it will be gone. Scarcity doesn’t work for all types of content – blog posts, for example – but you can use scarcity for anything you’re promoting in your content. A webinar or conference may only have so many spots, a special deal will end in a few days, or a popular product could only be available at certain times of the year.
10. Create a Sense of Urgency.
Like scarcity, urgency encourages a prospect to act quickly. Limited-time offers, a 3-day free ebook promotion, and coupon expiration dates are all great examples of urgency.
Newsjacking and writing about trends are also ways to take advantage of urgency.
11. Use Positive Language.
If you use negative words, that’s usually what people remember. Rewrite the sentence to use positive words. For example, “Don’t get left behind” might become “Get ahead of the competition.”
Sometimes negative language is necessary, and sometimes it adds variety to your copy. But overdoing it can leave a negative impression.
12. Balance Text with Images.
This might not seem like a web copywriting tip, but incorporating various media (like photos, videos, infographics, slides, and more) in your content marketing strategy can make a big difference. There’s a reason websites like Pinterest and YouTube are so popular.
13. Put Important Information in Image Captions.
When you see an image in a blog post, do you read the caption below it? So does everybody else. Take advantage of this prime real estate by writing a descriptive, informative caption.
14. Make it Feel like a Conversation.
People don’t want to be sold to. Tone down the hype and write your web copy like you’re talking with your ideal customer face-to-face. Your audience can tell the difference, and will be more likely to participate.
15. Craft a Compelling Call-to-Action.
16. Tell a Story
All the epic content in the world is useless if it doesn’t help visitors become leads and customers. Learn to write powerful calls to action that guide prospects through the sales funnel.
Storytelling is powerful. It draws readers in and engages them. And the honesty and transparency involved in storytelling is one of the top ways you can build your
credibility and authority even in your web copywriting.
17. Align Buyer Persona and Buying Cycle.
When you align content, calls to action, emotional triggers, and other elements with the appropriate buyer persona and a specific stage of the buying cycle, prospects are much more likely to consume the content and perform the action. That kind of perfectly matched content is highly personalized, specific, and effective.
18. Include Emotion.
One of the reasons storytelling works is because it often appeals to emotion. If you can make a visitor feel excited that they found you or desperate for your solution, you can draw them further into your site, give them what they’re looking for, and keep them coming back for more.
19. Back up Your Claims.
Logic influences the decisions you want your visitors to make as much as emotion does. Use statistics, research data, case studies, testimonials, and other credible sources to prove what you say.
20. Link to Reputable Sources.
Nothing online exists in a vacuum. Linking out to high-quality websites in your web copywriting helps your visitors and makes you more credible by association.
Bonus Web Copywriting Tips
For more great web copywriting ideas, check out this article from Copywriter’s Crucible.
What web copywriting techniques have worked for you? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!
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