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Writing for the web isn’t particularly complicated, but it is an important skill to master.
And it doesn’t require a huge departure from the basic rules of writing that were (or used to be) hammered into us at school.
If you are responsible for adding high-value content to your website, you are constantly being challenged to find page or post topics which are new, shareable, helpful and original.
Every business is now a media business. Smart and successful ones think and behave like media publishers even though their origins are miles away from content creation.
Some brands, by their nature, find it hard to build a social profile and reap the SEO benefits. One way round this is to build a community of peers and competitors rather than customers.
Every copywriter and marketer faces the challenge of writing web copy that connects with their readers. Engaging copy encourages visitors to find out more, spread the news to colleagues and make return visits.
People like to talk about whether a site is good or bad. I prefer to consider whether it works or not. Some amazing looking sites fail to deliver; others that are pig-ugly perform magnificently.
Of course I am biased, but I firmly believe ‘sites that work have words that work’.
Your web visitors come to your site to find out more about what you do. They’re looking for someone to help them. If you’re like most companies, you are willing to invest large sums in the design and build of your website but much less in web copy to make it whistle and whirr.
Writing compelling web copy is a hugely undervalued skill. Too many companies think that being able to write is all that’s required. But even people who write well for the paper page can come unstuck with website copy.
Only a very small minority of writers have a good understanding of the digital mindset.
Copy, copy, copy. Not a Labour Party election slogan but an ode to the all important words that help elevate your website above the masses and improve on-page engagement and conversion.
Website copy plays a crucial role in informing your visitors, presenting your values and directing people to take actions, not to mention giving a boost to your SEO efforts.
But what is good copy? Is it copy that raises your search engine visibility? Or words that extol your virtues as the next laureate?
In my latest attempt to open myself to professional and personal slaughter, this blog explores the qualities of good web copy, linking to useful articles written by respected copywriters. I don't claim it to be definitive but the intention is to open a discussion about what good copy really is.
Online copywriting can make all the difference between a website that engages and converts, and one that stagnates.
Words communicate to your visitors and influence actions (both positively and negatively). Furthermore, good copy is, as far as the search engines are concerned, the food of the Gods. Words are to Google what oxygen is to you and me.
So I thought I’d try to nail an A-to-Z of online copywriting. As ever, these recommendations are guidelines, rather than firm rules. They're broadly applicable to web copywriters and bloggers, as well as journalists who have their work published online. I hope it makes for a handy bookmark-friendly checklist...