As a small business owner you can’t always afford a professional copywriter for every page on your website. So how do you produce great copy that doesn’t look shabby and reads well?
Here are my top 9 tips for getting your own copy up to scratch:
Get a new notebook!
This may sound silly, but a notebook that you can carry around with you and jot ideas down will help you to formulate your ideas. Plus if you’ve written them down in a book instead of on sticky notes everywhere you will be able to refer back to what you have written.
Do a bit of creative research.
Have a look at other sites that you like, review their writing style, and why you like it. Write down some notes on what you find in your notebook. I find this discovery phase really crucial stage in the development of ideas that grow and build over time.
Attack one page at a time.
If you have multiple pages to write copy for, this can seem like a daunting task. Focus on one page at a time. Write the heading of your page out and then underneath this write 5 main bullet points that you want to include in your text. Use these bullet points to help you start your writing.
Write your copy offline.
If you are using a Content Management System like WordPress, it can be tempting to just start typing straight onto your web page editor. PLEASE DON’T DO IT! There are several reasons not to do this:
- It’s easier to write on a blank page than on a small web based editor
- You can save your work as you go & come back to it later
- You will avoid losing your work if your wi-fi goes to sleep
- An editor like Word can help you with your grammar and spelling corrections
- Publishing by accident is not an option!
Keep your text all the same colour.
A riot of colour can make your site look garish; keep all your body text the same colour. If your site background is very light consider using dark grey text instead of black, as it is less tiring to read. Use bold and italics sparingly, just because all these features are available doesn’t mean you have to use them all!
Make use of whitespace & bullet points.
Something as simple as breaking up a long paragraph with a new line can help increase the readability of your text. There is nothing more off putting to your reader than lines and lines of unformatted text. Bullet points and numbered lists can also help highlight key features.
Use headings to break up the text.
Make sure you use at least 2 heading levels on each page. You should use a top level (h1) heading as your page title, and then use sub headings (h2) to organise your page content. Make your headings snappy and interesting. When you transfer your copy from Word make sure you apply these tags to your headings.
Use keywords in your headings.
If you have used h1 and h2 tags for your headings, search engines like Google will use these to pick out what is relevant on your page. So, when you are thinking about your headings make sure you include some of your page keywords in there. Strictly speaking this isn’t going to make your content more readable, but it’s important so it sneaked in!
Proofread on a printed copy, transfer & publish.
Before you transfer your fabulous new copy from Word to your web editor, make sure you proofread on a printed copy. If you read your copy out loud to yourself you will be more likely to use natural pauses in your speech, and this can highlight if you have punctuation missing!
I hope these tip’s help you to improve your web site copy, or inspire you to write some new copy now you realise that you can break it down into these easy steps. If there are any spelling mistakes or glaring grammatical errors in my article then let me know, or, just feel smug, nobody is perfect!