Effective web copywriting should take account of how internet search engines work, and how users read and interact with online content.
Here are the key points to remember when laying out content for web pages.
How much to write depends on whether you are telling or selling. If you are selling you need to keep your copy brief, punchy and compelling. If you are "telling" or imparting useful information to your potential customer, then the length of what you write is not as important as the way you lay it out.
2. Page length
If visitors are interested in your content then page length is not an issue – the scroll bar makes it very easy to move down a long piece of text. The key point is to make it easy to scan.
3. Line width
It's difficult to read long lines of text online. The ideal length is 10-20 words, or 75 characters. As long as the content is good - users will scroll. Horizontal scrolling should always be avoided.
4. Good headline writing
Headlines should be about 5-10 words and encapsulate the meaning of the page accurately. Avoid using cryptic or "clever" headlines. These only serve to confuse on the web, and will do your web page no favours in the search engines.
Include relevant keywords in your headlines so your readers know instantly that this content is for them. Including keywords in your headline may also help to improve your search engine rankings for those words.
5. Short paragraph writing
Paragraphs should be 4-5 lines, no more. Divide up your paragraphs with subheadings to make it easier for your readers to scan the content to find the relevant section.
Use numbering when listing key points in order of relevance or significance. The information is picked up by the search engines which assign priority to content within numbered lists.
Bulleted lists aid fast assimilation of information. Avoid more than seven bullets in one list or readers may lose the sense of connection between the points.
Web page title
Don't overlook the web page title when devising your content. This information shows at the top of every page in the tab section and is:
* used by search engines to help index your page
* displayed by some search engines in their list of results
* displayed by default when users bookmark your webpage
Therefore it is important to make the web page title instantly recognisable.
* Do not use the same title for all your web pages.
* The display space is small so keep each one down to a few words.
This is the useful text that will sometimes appear under the title in search engine results. Surfers use this text to help them decide whether to click through. You can code a phrase of 15 to 20 words to appear, otherwise the first few words of your page content will be displayed by default.
Over the past 3 years I have worked with Lance on the development and marketing of three websites. One is a Fair Trade company which needed an ecommerce capability, an inspiring brochure element and a stock control linked site with over 250 products. One was to take an existing website for my barrister client and make it work within a Content Management System (CMS) that I could use to regularly update almost all of its pages. The third was a B2B website for a Sage Business Partner that was complex and needed an easy to use CMS, with hosting and a full programme of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Lance’s prices are very keen, he is realistic and reliable when it comes to doing the work and his designs were very creative, but also meet my tight design objectives. Lance is a joy to work with and I am confident about taking him to meetings with my clients as I know he’ll be a real asset in my relationships with them.
Most internet searches are looking for answers to questions. People are looking for clear answers - make sure you provide them.