Best Practices for Website Copywriting, structure and positioning
People read words differently online than they do when reading printed materials. For example, instead of reading left to right and line-by-line, website users scan the page looking for phrases or keywords that catch their attention. Usually their vision moves in a form of a zig-zag, so guide them that way!
In fact, an online study by Jakob Nielson conducted some years ago but still holds true about reading behavior found that, on average, web users read just 28% of the words on a page.
Recent studies show that the attention span has reduced to 8 seconds – this is exactly how long you’ve got to catch your visitor’s attention and prevent him from closing your webpage.
So in order to create a really selling webpage that not only tells all the best about your product but also persuades a potential client to BUY we suggest the following steps:
What do you sell? Why does your visitor need it? What problems does it solve? What is your target buyer expecting?
Start with the content that is most important to your audience, then provide additional details. In journalism, this technique is referred to as an inverted pyramid.
Back your text information with visual images: even the simplest graphics and icons will help user remember what you told him. Search for more metaphoric ones, as we did with ValiData and the darts board. And try putting them in the staggered order (remember the zig-zag pattern?).
Keep your paragraphs short o break up the long ones into two. It helps to digest the information visually and focus on milestones – keywords and headlines. No headlines? Come up with some!
Directly to the point
No playing around as if you had nothing to say. You will have plenty of time and space (Gosh, those servers really do have unlimited storage space) to express and show off in your blog or social media, but the “Home” page has to be literally spitting usefulness into the visitor’s face.
Can’t explain your product/solution in three sentences? How can you expect your potential customer to understand it in 8 seconds? Or understand it at all?
Some words to avoid include next generation, flexible, robust, scalable, easy to use, cutting edge, groundbreaking, best-of-breed, mission critical, innovative… those are all words that have over used by hundreds if not thousands of companies and don’t make your content any more appealing.
User experience depends on it. Is your page interface user-friendly? Or does he get a headache trying to find a pricelist or your contact information?
Choose the ones your audience will associate with your product. Bio products tend to use green, IT-solutions are usually blue(ish), while abstract business companies (trading or marketing) prefer black and red colour-scheme.
First of all, orthography. Grammarly, Google, WordPress tools or simply a Microsoft Word spelling check are there to help you if you don’t have a budget for a copywriter/corrector. But these details back your credibility, don’t underestimate them.
Then, check for small layout things like if a support chat icon is concealing the Cookies policy agreement button. This is really annoying and unprofessional.
Mobile version. We’re not here to say the obvious thing about getting it done, we’ll tell you how. Break your content into chunks. Then it will be a LOT easier to rearrange and adapt any layout to a new dimention scale. Make it flexible by adding images, headlines, subtitles, summaries, quotations, buttons… well, the smaller the pieces, the better.
Then, please, do not steal those precious seconds you’ve got from yourself. 8, 7, 6, 5… And all your visitor sees is a page load bar. There are plenty of tools and plug-ins that optimize your website speed.
Make sure to insert keywords in copies and metadata into your CSS. Google has managed to mitigate, penalize and in some cases even blacklist websites that implement “Black Hat” SEO tactics. Techniques like “hidden text” (white text on white background), “cloaking” (showing different content to Googlebot vs. real users) and “link spam” (buying hundreds of links from low-quality websites) all used to work, to some extent. Not so much anymore.
In order to achieve the ultimate goals of a web content strategy, the finer details need to be considered. Voice and tone strengthen brand image, while our processes build solid brand identity. Keep language clear and concise and you’ll find that users and search engines reward you for it. Wear a White Hat. Structure content correctly and wrap it in metadata and you’ll pave the way for a richer user experience. Find a way for your users to share their stories with you, and you’ve successfully reinforced a solid online content strategy foundation.