Making Website Copy Work for You

KEYBOARD

Today’s websites are working harder than ever — scaling for mobile devices, competing against ever-shorter attention spans and trying to stand out in a templated sea of sameness. When you consider all the ways your website works for everyone (and everything) else, it’s also important to consider how your website works for you.

Does it quickly distill and communicate your core message? Does it provide a concise overview of your strengths and capabilities as a brand? Does it offer a clear, memorable takeaway?

Thoughtful, high-impact copy is the key to answering these questions — and it’s at the heart of every effective website. Here are some additional copy-related questions to consider, whether you’re assessing your current site or unveiling what’s next:

Is my website both visually and textually organized?

You wouldn’t go live with a cluttered, disjointed website, right? The same idea applies to copy, but it’s often an afterthought with so much energy spent on design and layout. Don’t force visitors to wade through a novel. Simple organizational elements like bold text for emphasis, short paragraphs and descriptive section headers can go a long way toward keeping readers engaged — and helping them remember more after they leave.

Is my copy clear or clearly confusing?

In the rush to include every keyword and buzzword under the sun, website copy often becomes a jumbled mess. The impact and importance of search engine optimization (SEO) is undeniable, but it’s a question of diminishing returns when your site may be searchable but not readable. Keep in mind that SEO is all about balance. Include relevant words whenever possible, but don’t sacrifice clarity and quality for a top spot on the search results page.

Is my copy compelling the reader to act?

It’s true: no one is visiting your website for bedtime reading. Truly effective web copy sells you, your company, your products and your capabilities first. Make sure your readers encounter a clear call to action throughout your site, not just on the home page. Whether it’s subtly worked into a paragraph or set apart in an eye-catching callout, the call to action will have a direct impact on the success of your site. In the rush to tell people what you do, don’t forget to tell them what to do.

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