How to write for the web.

Published: 04/ 08/ 2019

In an age where consumers are spending more and more time glued to their screens, having a website can be very useful for many independent businesses. 

Whether you decide to sell directly from it or not, having one allows your current and potential future customers to discover your business more easily.

Creating a website isn’t as easy as just throwing something live though - it needs a bit of thought around it, including the words you use.

We understand that not everyone out there is a writer, so we’ve put together these tips to help you understand how to create copy that’s clear and easy to understand for an online audience.

How do you want to sound?

First things first, think about who you’re writing for. By knowing this, you can write in a style that’s right for them.

For example, if you’re a law firm, your audience is going to be looking for professionalism, therefore the language you use should be professional.

If you’re more of a fun brand - say you run a party decorations company - you might want to be a bit more playful with the words you use.

Write in plain English

Too many businesses make the mistake of packing their websites with jargon and clever language thinking it helps them get across what they do: it doesn’t. In fact, it can leave customers confused. 

So you need to think about what your ideal customer wants to hear and how you can communicate your proposition in the clearest way possible. If you think less like an expert - and more like a customer -  you will be on your way to a winner.  

A top tip from us is taking a look at Microsoft Word’s Readability Statistics feature.This useful tool looks at what you write and creates a score on a 100 point scale. The higher the score, the easier the document is to understand. 

You should be aiming for a score between 60 and 70 to ensure it’s easy to read and digest. For more information about how you can set this up, take a look at this Microsoft Office guide.

Call to actions

What does this mean? Well, it’s quite simple. What action do you want someone to take on your website? Do you want them to make a purchase; call you; subscribe to your blog; or download a PDF? Whatever it is, every page needs some kind of instruction for someone to take. Every page needs a purpose. 

Remember that your call to action needs to stand out. Most often it’ll be a button on the page so it’s clear that by clicking it, something is going to happen.

Get to the point

Remember when you went to school and learnt how to construct pretty sentences, containing lovely poetic language. Now whilst this might have got you an A for an English paper, it serves absolutely no purpose when it comes to webcopy!

The truth is that people don’t like to read. With that in mind, we’ll first talk about headlines. These are what need to grab your readers’ attention. People tend to scan a page to find the area that they’re interested in, so your headline needs to sum up that section in a second.

When you’re writing, you should also consider different sentence lengths, mixing long and short ones together. Aim for 20 words or less at all times. 

Also write short paragraphs, which are to be no longer than 3-4 lines. Remember, a lot of people now use their phones to read, so you want to present them with loads of words to get through! 

Blog posts 

So, we’ve talked about how you need to use short, snappy language for your website. But what if you’ve got a lot to say about a certain product, or what if you want to talk about a brand new service you’re launching?

We are pretty sure you have come across blogs - it would be difficult not to. But they can be very useful for a business. In a blog, you can go into lots of detail and use lots of words to get your point across.

They are also a great way to get people to your website if you share them via social media accounts or in a newsletter, for example. 

As well as informing your customers, blogs are great for SEO (search engine optimisation) too. SEO is basically how you get your website to rank organically in Google or the other search engines.

Creating regular blog posts can help your site become more visible, as writing and publishing them regularly tells the search engines that you’re a real website. The content needs to be good quality though, so you can’t just throw up any content!

If you’re looking to take payments through your website, check out our online card payments products.

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