Updated: Nov 17, 2022
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I used to spend hours agonising over website copy, wondering whether what I had written was good enough, whether it would hook the reader in, and whether it sounded like me. Whenever I would check my site traffic and conversion rates, I would always wonder if my copy was having the desired effect, and started to consider hiring professional copywriters to rewrite my copy.
Now, I’ve got a system down for writing copy that not only sounds like me, but that also engages the reader and encourages them to take action. If you are like most people, you probably think that creativity is a gift bestowed only on the lucky few. The truth is, however, that creativity is a skill that can be learned and perfected through practice. Just like any other skill, the more you use your creativity, the better you will become at it.
If you struggle to know what to write, or regularly experience writer's block, there are loads of resources out there that can help you. This content writing Bootcamp by our friends at Jasper AI is a great way to start learning new skills.
There is no one way to write great content for your website. However, a few general tips can help you create content that engages and informs your readers. In this article, we will explore the 11 golden rules for writing great website content. Be sure to read on for helpful advice on how to hook your reader in the first few sentences, keep them engaged throughout the piece, and end with a bang!
1. Know your audience
The first rule of writing great content is to know your audience. This may seem like an obvious statement, but you would be surprised at how many people try to write for everyone instead of focusing on a specific target market. By understanding who you are writing for, you can tailor your message to appeal to their needs, desires, and interests.
When you know your target market, you can also better understand what type of content they are looking for. Are they looking for information? Entertainment? Inspiration? Knowing the purpose of your content will help you determine the best way to reach your audience.
2. Write the important information first
Take a lesson from the journalists! The inverted pyramid is a content structure that starts with the most important information and works its way down to the least important. This method is often used in news reporting, where the most important details are at the top of the article, and the reader can choose to read more or less depending on their interests.
This method can also be used when writing website content. By starting with the most important information, you ensure that your readers will get the most important details right away. This can help you hook your reader in from the beginning and keep them engaged until the end.
For example, you are writing content for a new website page about a food truck. Start your page with the most important information, such as the name of the truck, what type of food it serves, and where it is located. You can then go on to write additional information about the truck, such as the menu, and hours of operation. Then move on to the less important things like its history and backstory.
3. Write short, simple sentences
One of the best ways to keep your reader engaged is to write short, simple sentences. This may seem like a counterintuitive statement, but long, complicated sentences can actually lose your reader’s attention. Using 150 words to say something that can be done in 75 is a surefire way to lose your reader’s interest.
To keep your sentences short and sweet, focus on one main idea per sentence. If you find yourself writing a sentence that is longer than two lines, try breaking it up into two shorter sentences. This will make your content much easier to read and more enjoyable.
When writing website content, use short sentences that are easy to read and understand. You can also use bullet points to break up large chunks of text and make your content more scannable.
4. Ditch the jargon
Jargon is defined as “the specialised language used by members of a particular profession or group.” In other words, it is the technical language that only those in the know would understand.
Using jargon can alienate your readers and make them feel excluded from the conversation. It can also make your content more difficult to understand. Unless you are writing for a specific audience familiar with the jargon, it is best to avoid using it altogether.
If you must use jargon, explain it in layman’s terms so that everyone can understand. This will ensure that your content is inclusive and accessible to all.
5. Use your active voice
The terms active and passive refer to the verbs you choose to use in your website copy.
"Place your order today for next-day delivery" is an active voice, you are telling them that they can do it, vs. "The product can be ordered on our website", you are telling them that it can be done, but your reader isn't left with a sense of urgency or action.
For another example, instead of saying “You can find our products in stores nationwide,” say “Find our products in stores nationwide.” The first sentence is passive, while the second is active. The active sentence is more direct and tells the reader exactly what to do.
It's only a subtle difference, but using active voice makes your writing sound more personal and less robotic. It can help you connect with your reader on a more personal level and make them feel like you are speaking directly to them. When writing website content, try to use active voice as much as possible. This will make your content sound more human and less like a piece of marketing collateral. Using AI software to rephrase your existing content is a good place to start. You can instruct the software to rewrite your content with an active voice with a few commands. This may be the only thing you need to do to improve your copy and start seeing better results. Our friends at Jasper are giving you 10,000 free words to try it out, so why not see if you can easily make a difference to your site copy?
6. Be detailed with descriptions
When it comes to website content, more is always better. This is especially true when it comes to descriptions. The more detail you can provide, the better. Giving your readers a detailed description of what they can expect from your product or service will help them understand what they are getting themselves into. It will also give them a better idea of whether or not your product or service is right for them.
If you can, try to provide multiple examples and use descriptive language to paint a picture in your reader’s mind. The more they can visualize what you are trying to describe, the better.
"This is the best hot sauce money can buy."
"We made this fiery hot sauce with the freshest, organic ingredients. Created with the most discerning food lovers in mind. Experience heat and flavour that will leave your taste buds screaming out for more."
Which description gives you a clear picture of the hot sauce you are thinking about buying? If you are anything like me, it’s the second one. The first one is too vague and doesn’t give me enough information to make a decision. The second one, on the other hand, is much more detailed and provides multiple examples of what I can expect from the hot sauce. For more help with writing product descriptions, you can check out this article from our blog.
7. Scannability: Make it easy to read
People will not read your content word for word. Instead, they will scan it for information that is relevant to them.
You can make your content more scannable by using short paragraphs, subheadings, and bullet points. Breaking up your text will make it easier for your readers to find the information they are looking for. It will also make your content more visually appealing and less intimidating to read.
Make it easy for your readers to find the information they are looking for by using short paragraphs, subheadings, and bullet points.
8. Mix up your vocabulary
To make your content sound more human, you need to mix up your vocabulary. Using the same words over and over again will make your writing sound repetitive and boring.
Instead, try to use a variety of different words to describe the same thing. This will make your content more interesting to read and will prevent your readers from getting bored.
For example, if you are selling a product, don’t just say it’s “good.” Try to use words like “amazing,” “incredible,” or “fantastic.” This will make your product sound more appealing to your readers and will make them more likely to buy it.
9. A picture is worth a thousand words
Don’t just tell your readers what you want them to know, show them! Use high-quality images to give your readers a better idea of what they are reading about.
If you can, try to use lifestyle shots instead of product shots. Lifestyle shots are images that show your product being used in real life. They are a great way to show your readers how your product can be used and what it can do for them.
For example, if you are selling a new type of vacuum cleaner, don’t just show a picture of the vacuum itself. Show a picture of the vacuum being used to clean up a messy room. You have now shown them what the vacuum can do and how it can help them.
10. Include useful and important links
If you are writing about a specific topic, include links to other articles or websites that your readers might find useful. This will help further educate them on the topic and make your content more valuable. For example, if you are writing an article about how to start a blog, include links to articles about choosing a blogging platform, picking a domain name, or designing your blog.
Including links to other pages of your own site and other websites will also help to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Link structure and external linking are major factors when it comes to SEO, so make sure to take advantage of them.
11. Use strong CTAs
A CTA, or call-to-action, is a statement that encourages your readers to take a specific action. For example, you might include a CTA at the end of an article that tells your readers to “subscribe to your newsletter” or “follow you on social media.”
Your CTAs should be strong, clear, and to the point. They should also be relevant to the content of your article. For example, if you are writing an article about gardening, your CTA could be “subscribe to our gardening newsletter” or “follow us on social media for more gardening tips.”
Make sure to include a CTA in every piece of content you write. This will encourage your readers to take action and will help you to achieve your goals for your website.
Overall, writing great content will depend on understanding your audience and what they want to read. It also takes time, effort, and practice to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis. However, if you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to writing content that your readers will love.
NX Digital is a web design agency in the UK that provides affordable web design and development services to businesses of all sizes. We can help you create a website optimised for SEO and easy for your customers to use. If you need help with your content, we also offer a range of content writing services. Contact us today to find out more.