Web Writing Best Practices: How Do You Measure Up?

Are you in need of a few web writing best practices to spruce up your website? Or are you an entrepreneur trying to write web copy for the first time? Or perhaps you’re a skilled writer struggling to transform your client’s disorganized, choppy content into a concise, interactive message.

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How Does Your Web Writing Measure Up?

These 10 web writing best practices will help you overcome the challenges of crafting web copy that sells.

1. Connect with readers … quickly
You don’t have much time to capture your readers’ attention. Speak to their issues. Answer their questions.  After writing your copy, ask yourself, “Do my readers care about this?” If the answer is “no,” start over.

2. Persuade your readers
Remember high school composition? Use what your English teacher taught you to wrestle your web content into shape. Captivate your audience. Hold interest with meaningful, need-to-know information. Determine your readers’ most burning questions … and answer them. Persuade and reassure by addressing objections. Encourage action by telling readers exactly what you want them to do.

3. Be authentic
People build companies. Capture the essence of your business in your web copy. Be persuasive, warm, sassy, humorous, etc. Use your organization’s authentic voice.

4. Find your inner journalist
Journalists write with the most important details first. So should you. Progressively reveal additional information. Use links for secondary depth. Remember web readers are impatient. Catch their attention with short blasts of information.

5. Write so readers can scan
Web readers skim, skip and dart. Use headlines, subheads and short bulleted lists to highlight key details. Each block of text should be short and self-contained.

6. Master block writing
Make every word count! Limit paragraphs without sacrificing content depth. Group paragraphs in short chunks. Avoid use of weak verbs and vague nouns. Get to the point!

7. Be consistent
Repetition in web copy is acceptable. Consistency helps readers understand your message. Don’t confuse readers. Enrich, don’t stuff your copy with relevant keywords.

8. Eliminate confusing sentences
The web is no place for vague, tangled sentences. Be concise and straightforward. Leave out jargon and lengthy sentences. If you need to ask yourself, “What did I just say?” Your readers will be just as confused.

9. Read copy aloud
Engaging copy sounds good aloud. Did you trip over sentences? Rewrite them. Did you emphasize phrases where none is indicated? Make the point more prominent by adding to a sidebar, bulleted list or subhead.

10. Finished? Review, revise and repeat
Don’t think of writing your web copy as a one-time project. Visit your website regularly and update copy. Unlike printed materials, web copy can be changed quickly and inexpensively.

What’s the Word: Concise, interactive writing is easy to read, but difficult to master. Taking your time is the key to writing strong, compelling web copy.

How would you grade your web writing?

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