While top-notch search engine optimization is crucial to ensuring that your customers find you, just as important is a well written, easily digestible web-site.
Write your website copy for search. If you want your site to be found, use the words your target readers would use to find you. Once you have your list, research your keywords using tools such as Google AdWords. This will determine the amount of traffic each phrase generates and how many sites already exist that return those keywords.
Don’t overstuff your copy. Carefully weave those words and phrases into your copy. However, beware of “over-stuffing” your copy with key words to the point that it becomes unreadable. Aim for a keyword density of between 2 and 4 per cent. To determine keyword density, take the number of occurrences of your keyword and divide it by the number of words on the page.
Make sure web content is easy to read. Write your copy for the impatient, online reader. Headings should be eight words or less, sentences: 15 – 20 words and page word count: 250+ words. Eliminate jargon and pompous words. Effective online writing is not about impressing the reader with your extensive vocabulary. It’s about communicating. Use short, simple words. Get to the point. And then stop.
Make sure your visitors quickly grasp what you’re about. Within the first few seconds of landing on your home page, they need to know what you do and who your services and products are targetted at. Basically, should they keep on reading?
Speak directly to your readers. The most powerful word in the English language is “YOU”. Write for your reader, in a conversational tone. Don’t write for your ego.
Use the correct tone or ‘voice’. Your website needs to reflect the type of visitor you want to attract, and the image you want to project. Are you appealing to a young or mature audience? Is your site targeting business-to-business customers or consumers? Do you want to be seen as approachable and friendly; corporate and professional, or a combination of both?
Drive actions with web content. Remember the purpose of your website is to sell your product or service, not display your literary prowess. It is your marketing tool so treat it that way and ensure you have a clear call to action on every page, intelligently placed so that it maximises response. Drive your readers to perform an action, whether it is to buy your product, sign up for a course or play a game.
Sell benefits not features. If you want your web site to sell your product or service you must write about benefits and not about features. A feature describes a product or service. A benefit is what the user gains from using that product or service. Tell your customers how your product or service will make them happier, healthier and wealthier. In other words focus on making sure every line of your copy is dedicated to what’s in it for them.
Edit your website again and again. Have two or three people proofread your text. Check it yourself for consistency in grammar, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations etc. Tighten your copy so that you say as much as possible using as few words as possible. Eliminate unnecessary adjectives and prepositions, especially in your headers and subheads.