Writing the copy for your website requires a different approach to writing printed documents. It is certainly worth devoting equal time and consideration to preparing the copy as it is to designing fancy graphics.
The copy should be planned in a way that leads the site visitor through a sales ‘funnel’ or process, and gives them the opportunity to respond with frequent ‘calls to action’. In order to do this, you must first decide who your target market is and how best to appeal to them – write for your audience.
Secondly you need to clearly lay out the benefits of your products and services, and try to counter any objections that the website visitor may have, build trust, and provide reassurance.
Finally, the objective should be clear from the outset – what exactly do you want your target website visitor to do on reading the copy?
Consider how a web page is viewed
Tracking research has shown that the eye flicks over the whole page first, and focuses briefly on what attracts attention e.g. headlines, subheadings, captions or menu items. Some skim reading also takes place in order identify what the site visitor actually wants to read. For these reasons, these elements should be made as significant, emotive and appealing to your target audience as possible.
The top left of the page has been shown to get the most attention, so the main benefit/message could be clearly stated there.
In order to keep the readers attention, and help them to identify the part of the copy that most appeals to them, text should be arranged into short sentences and bite sized chunks.
To facilitate this process further, easily readable fonts could be used such as Verdana, Trebuchet MS and Georgia. These appear to the reader to be modern and professional. They are also available on most computers, and are easy to read on paper too.
Calls to action should be clearly identifiable, so conventions such as only underlining links should be adhered to.
Short or long copy?
Long copy often works better than short copy, but should only be as long as it needs to be to make a sale. Long copy often takes the form of online sales letters or sales presentations.
Simple, objective language should be used, and redundant words removed. It is important to remember that people buy on emotion and then try to justify it with logic afterwards. For this reason, use words which elicit emotion in the target market.
Your copy should grab attention, entertain the reader, educate, inform, offer solutions, gain trust, and most importantly, convince people to buy from you. Remember to always emphasise the benefits of the products/services, provide frequent calls to action, and make sure that the web pages are accessible to all website visitors.