How to write for a website
Writing content (copy) for your own website is one of the hardest tasks - tell me almost all of my clients. Not only it is hard to write about your business, there are so many elements to consider when writing for web which is where a professional copywriter can help.
To help you understand how a professional copywriter can help and to give my readers a few website copy tips I interviewed Holly Cardamone from Blue51 Communications.
How is copy for web different than copy for printed marketing material – if at all?
The biggest difference between web copy and printed copy is the way it’s consumed. Web copy requires greater readability by avoiding long paragraphs with short, simple and snappy copy.
However, keep in mind that the basics are the same for print and web copy, and that’s a focus on communications, audience and messaging.
When thinking about copy for a business website, what are they key things to consider?
The goal for a website is to create an online space where people want to hang out, to linger, to move from space to fabulous space. This involves a fantastic user experience that allows your visitors to seamlessly and effortlessly learn more about you and your work, with navigation that is intuitive, simple, logical and helps people find what they’re looking for. A website is a business’ online home, so it’s important that it reflects that business accurately, professionally and effectively. Well-crafted copy that illustrates a business’ brand, personality and story is as essential as design and structure. However, the step before this is clarity about who those visitors are- yep, target audience analysis. Who are your ideal clients? How do you meet their needs? What are their pain points? How do you address them?
My focus is not technical, but rather communications, language, tone, voice, branding and messaging. I write for an audience, not Google, although my writing incorporates keywords, but not in a way that brutalises grammar, readability and language.
Are there any ‘do-s and don’ts’ that business owners should be aware of?
Creating your online home for your business- aka your website- is such a fantastic, fun project. All your plans, dreams and schemes for your business are reflected in your copy, your structure and your design. However, there’s no denying that it is a big, time and resource consuming job, and it’s easy to miss some details in the execution.
One of the absolute must do is including your contact details- and make sure they’re correct!
I generally include a call to action on every page that are aligned to the business purpose and goals.
Try to avoid being overly clever with taglines- people need to know what you do and how to work with you without having to navigate a wordy, meaningless confusing blurb.
The most important of all content is the about page- that’s where you tell your story with compelling copy. It’s also my favourite page to write!
My final do is proofing, which is sometimes the least fun. Before you hit ‘go live’ and do a happy dance, proofread your website. Specifically, check spelling and grammar (but of course), as well as check all your links- inbound across your site and outbound to your social channels. Proofread it, then proofread it again a day later, go for a walk around the block and proof it again. Give it to another set of eyes, as they’ll pick up issues that you will have inadvertently skipped.
What can you offer business owners to support them with web copy?
I love working with people on their websites and on their online communications in general. In terms of specific support, I can have a Word Nerd look at your existing or potential copy and provide guidance or advice, or I can write the whole shebang.
Websites are such fun writing projects, but if you don’t feel that way, throw some money at the problem- seriously, what will take you months upon months of agonising over every word will take me less than a fortnight- often, a lot, lot quicker. True story.
Holly Cardamone is a Melbourne-based business writer, communications specialist and social media strategist who works with businesses to tell their story and grow their business using beautiful communications. Through her consultancy, Blue51 Communications, Holly provides businesses and organisations with strategic and specialist communications support, social media strategy and business writing to tell their story and grow their business. She's an unashamed word nerd, a water baby, a voracious reader, an almost fearless box jumper (Google it) and is hands down the person you want on your table at a trivia night.