Top 10 Tips For Writing Copy For Small Business Websites


Top 10 Tips For Writing Copy For Small Business Websites

Quick summary:

  1. Write easy to scan content
  2. Keep introductory text short
  3. Show numbers as numerals
  4. Put important information above the fold
  5. Write in short bullet lists
  6. Organize information in the inverted pyramid style
  7. Carefully choose the first 2 words of every section
  8. Understand the F pattern of visual web page scan
  9. Avoid large blocks of text
  10. Focus on the content

10 Things To Consider When Writing For the Web

To be successful, you need more than just a great web page design. You must create compelling and useful copy for your visitor. Creating content can be challenging on its own without the challenges presented by the web medium. You must learn how to get your customer's attention and retain it to increase your chances of turning a visitor into a potential lead. Here are some concepts you should be aware of when creating content for your website.

  1. Write scannable copy

    "Online readers have a tendency to scan web pages."

    If there's one thing you need to take away from this article is that online readers have a tendency to scan web pages. People don't read every word on your website so get over it. Learn to text that is easy to scan. All subsequent points in this list will support this premise.

  2. Introductory text should not be too long.

    Keep the intro content short because people have a tendency to skip it entirely if it's too long. Your visitors will jump straight to the meat and potatoes of your content. They may eventually come back to read the intro text if they are genuinely interested. W

  3. Show numerical data as numerals

    Consider this statistic:
    a) "Fifty-seven percent of small businesses report having a website."
    b) "57% of small businesses report having a website."
    You can see for yourself that it is easier and quicker to scan the second line as opposed to the first. Studies have shown that numerical data can attract your attention. It is also easier for the brain to process numbers. Numbers also represent hard facts which people gravitate towards when scanning for information online.

  4. Bullet points are your friend.

    Bullet points organize related data into an easily digestible format. Bullet points are really easy to scan. Keep your lists no more than 10. The average person can remember 7 numbers. It's no accident that phone numbers are 7 digits.

  5. The most important content should be above the fold.

    "Above the fold" is a layout concept referring to above the fold or crease of the newspaper. The idea is that the most interesting or vital piece of information should be placed on top so that it will be the first thing to be seen. In web design, the fold would translate to the area of your web page that is visible without scrolling down or paging down.

  6. Information should be organized by importance from the top down like an inverted pyramid.

    The inverted pyramid is another metaphor that comes from the newspaper world. This writing style is widely adopted because viewership drops dramatically as you go down the article. It is therefore imperative to put the most important information on top and in descending order.

  7. Readers scan online text but tend to read the first 2 words of every section.

    Eye tracking web studies have shown that although viewers scan web copy, but focus on the first few words of various sections. The lesson is to make sure those words carry meaning or generate enough interest for your readers to keep reading.

  8. Western readers' eyes move from the top left of web pages towards the bottom right in an "F" pattern.

    Basically people will read the most content on top and read less and less as they move down the page. This is related to the inverted pyramid point. Also, their scan decreases as they move down.

  9. Readers tend to skip large blocks of text.

    Unless absolutely interesting, readers generally tend to gloss over large amounts of text entirely. Create easy to digest bits of information to generate the most value.

  10. Focus on the content.

    Your visitors are there for your information whether it's your store hours, address, price list, product offering, or portfolio. Make your products and services the center piece of your site. Although a great web design and good stock photos of models can make your website more legitimate, do not bombard your users with them. They are there for a purpose and it's up to you to make it easy to find what they are looking for.