As a journalist and a copywriter who’s been writing since long before the dawn of the internet, I’m often asked what tips I can give to write specifically for the web.
Whether writing for the web or offline, one thing has remained timeless – well thought out, clear, skilfully written copy. But if you are writing for the web here are some other considerations.
Firstly, are you writing evergreen pages on your website (e.g. home page, your services, about us) or are you writing news/blog articles?
I’m going to focus on blog pages here but most of the tips apply to both evergreen and blog pages. (My previous blog 5 Tips from Fleet Street for great copywriting provides a concise guide to writing those evergreen pages on your site).
When it comes to writing blogs, here are some tips to help you craft that content.
What should I write about?
Your blog can be there to serve many purposes – get you noticed online, bring visitors to your site, wow them with your knowledge and ultimately convert them into loyal customers. But that doesn’t make it any easier to come up with ideas for content.
Thankfully I’ve done the hard work for you. Have a look at Top 10 ideas for blogs and you should soon be fizzing with ideas.
Think about your style of writing and who you are writing for. Should your tone be formal or informal? Are you writing as if talking to a friend or a stranger?
Writing for the web is generally far more relaxed in style so try to have your perfect customer in mind and write it for them rather than an impersonal formal style.
Short and sweet
Put over the information as succinctly as possible. Keep the paragraphs short, use sub headings and bullets to break it up into bite-sized chunks.
Then leave it, come back and cut. Try to lose at least 25% of the text. Think: ‘I’m a customer who knows zero about this company. What do I really want to know?’ The ideal article length for quick consumption is 400 to 600 words.
Don’t forget to use those keywords your customers will type into search engines, cleverly written into natural copy Google will love.
The finishing line
What is the purpose of this particular blog? Use a strong Call to Action so customers actually get in touch and you close that sale or get them to share that content – whatever it is you want them to do.
Save the best until last
The headline is often the hardest part of the process and best left until last. If you get the headline right you’ll get a much better opening and sharing rate. Make the headline compelling and make it relevant. Here’s a great insider tip, though: your headline doesn’t have to sum up your whole blog. Picking one catchy point to grab attention can work brilliantly, too.