Is Anybody Reading This? Writing Web Content that Captures Readers

Copy writing is copy writing, right? Not so much. I just lost half of my readers to the “Which Avenger are you?” quiz. Web copy writers have seconds to grasp attention. What are the best ways to do it? Well for starters, everyone loves a top ten list:

  1. Start with easy, intuitive site navigation. Ask people outside of your organization how easily they can find information on your site.
  2. Make your most important point first. Don’t worry about a nice intro for whatever you have to say. Just say it.
  3. Write simply. Now is not the time to bust out your SAT prep course vocabulary.
  4. Break up the page and increase readability with bullet points and graphic items such as shaded boxes, charts, pie graphs (mmm, pie…see how easily distracted we are?).
  5. To that point, keep your paragraphs short – 4 or 5 sentences will do.
  6. Use boldface, italics, block quotes and size variation to set apart headlines and key ideas. You can vary color also, but stick with just one alternate color – your site shouldn’t look like the Crayola® mega box.
  7. Edit, edit, edit. After the first draft, read through and cut unnecessary words. You should have a Hawkeye face (see below) when editing.

    I'm Hawkeye, by the way.

    I’m Hawkeye, by the way.

  8. To drive traffic to your site, think about the ways someone might get to a particular page. Incorporate popular search terms and keywords into your page copy.
  9. Not everyone comes through the front door. Unlike a brochure, annual report, etc. visitors can land on any number of pages within your site. Make sure that each page gives a clear of idea of both the page and the overall site content.
  10. Lead visitors where they need to go. You wouldn’t invite someone into your house and leave them at the door expecting they know the way to the appetizers and the sofa. Don’t assume that your navigation bars and buttons are enough. Make suggestions to visitors as to what they should do next. Want more resources? Sign up for our newsletter. Want to donate to the Michelle project? Visit our online donation page.

And since I don’t have a donation page or a newsletter, might I suggest you go write some web copy?

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