Writing for the web is an entirely different skill than writing for any other medium. Of course, the rules of grammar still apply, but writing website copy has an additional set of tips and tricks to maximize readability.
The web is an active medium — we use it to achieve things. If your site doesn’t grab and hold attention, visitors need only click their mouse to go elsewhere. Patience is not a virtue often found online.
Visitors rarely read site pages word for word. Instead, they will often scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.
Once the visitor has arrived, you will only have a couple of lines (or even words) to ignite their interest. Convoluted writing, complex words and industry jargon are had to understand online. Web users are busy. They want to get the facts, fast.
Here are three tips to help tune up your website copy:
1. Use an old technology as a guide.
Pretend your copy is being sent by telegram and every word costs money. Use this technique to edit copy down to its most essential elements (or most compelling arguments).
2. Take advantage of the modular nature of the web.
Use headlines, subheads, photo captions, pull quotes and bulleted lists to divide lengthy copy and help the reader’s eye scan your content.
3. Embed links in active phrases.
We know you’ll have hyperlinks throughout your copy for readers who want to learn more about a particular topic. Avoid the clichéd format of “click here for the registration form” and include the link within an action phrase like “register now.”