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How to Write Effective Copy for Your Website – Part 1

Although many people seem to think that writing effective copy for a website is easy, it isn’t.

Over the next few months we will look at the basics of producing good copywriting for your website. But before we start there are a number of things that you should remember.

First, people do not read a website in the same way that they would read printed material. It is important to remember that website visitors are active, not passive. So if they cannot find a reason for staying on a site, they will leave it. Sometimes a visitor will leave 15 seconds after they have actually gotten there.

Below is a list of important areas that you should focus on in order to write effective website copy.

Keep it Short and Sweet

You want to keep visitors coming to your website and also get them to return. There are a number of points you should consider when copywriting for your website.

Keep your copy short and simple

What you should remember is that unless a visitor has been directed to a particular page on a site, more often than not, they will only read 1 or 2 lines of the text. So the longer your text is, the less likely they will want to read it. So if you can, do not add any long copy to any pages where visitors are not expecting it to be.
Also keep your copy simple. This matters as much as how long it is. It is important that your visitors are able to understand what has been written on their first reading. They do not want to have to spend time thinking about what you have written.

In most cases, you should be able to convey one key idea effectively in just one or two lines of writing. By writing any more than that, you are likely to ruin the chance of the first idea you are providing to get through to them.

So by anticipating that your visitors will be willing to learn more about something, they will look for the page that has more copy on it. So provide them with a link to another page of your site where they can get hold of the information that they need.

What if you do need to write long copy?

If you do need to include some longer copy, organize it. Even if your visitors are expecting to find a page heavy with text, they may not actually be willing to read it. So in order to help them, divide any distinct ideas you have into separate paragraphs. Provide them with useful headings, sub headings and bulleted lists. This is a great way of introducing key ideas to them.

It is best to assume that not all the visitors to your website will read longer pieces in their entirety. So write copy that they will be able to skim through and allow them to read the parts that they are interested in.

Although longer copy does not need to be as direct as short copy, it should still be easy to read. You will find that the visitors to your website who have difficulty understanding what has been written, will stop reading it.