Writing for the web? It’s a fantastic idea to spark the interest of your prospects and customers and get them to take action... as long as you avoid these five mistakes!
No time to read or want to get started right away?
Mistake 1: sloppy headlines
Your headline is the most important part of your web copy. It’s the first thing your prospects and customers read. That means it’s got to make a great impression and instantly spark their interest. Otherwise, they'll just scroll on to the next thing. Maybe even go to your competitor...
Perfectly formulated titles will grab internet users’ attention, encourage them to keep reading and, who knows? Maybe they’ll call on your services!
How do you come up with an effective title?
Mistake 2: too impersonal
- Be persuasive and direct. Explain to your reader what's in it for them if they keep reading.
- Shout it loud and clear! Put your article's topic at the front of the title.
- Be unambiguous. Avoid technical jargon, abbreviations and complicated concepts.
- Keep it short and to the point. Limit your title to from eight to ten words.
- Ask your reader questions. Phrase your title as a question.
- Spark interest. Pique your reader's curiosity, without being misleading. Every title contains a promise that you have to keep!
Every use of every website and mobile app is a conversation started by your site visitor
Just because there's a screen involved, doesn’t mean you have to seem cold and detached. Web content is a conversation with your (future) customers. Start one and build a relationship based on that.
Outside of radiating authenticity and warmth – simple, personal and direct web copy will attract and retain your readers’ interest. That will embed the content and your company in their memory.
How should you address your readers?
Mistake 3: making it all about you
- Write the same way you talk. Overly formal web copy creates distance.
- Consider your reader. See them as a person, not as an anonymous visitor.
- Don’t be impersonal. Use the first person (‘I’ or ‘we’) and address your reader directly (‘you’).
- Address the site user. Involve them in your content and ask questions.
- Be yourself. Use short sentences. Maybe even without a verb sometimes. Or start with a conjunction.
- Use emotions to increase involvement. Don’t leave your reader feeling indifferent – let your personality shine through.
- Create content that flows and read it out loud. It’s not a speech or an essay.
Your goal is to help the people you want to reach, create value for them and create content so useful they'll thank you for it...
You are committed to your business with everything you've got. What could be more natural than to highlight it? Huge mistake! Your readers aren’t interested in you. They’re looking for a solution to their problem, an answer to their question or a means to achieve their goals.
You’ll gain your readers’ trust by proving that you’re familiar with and understand their challenges, needs and expectations. That’s the perfect basis for starting or continuing a commercial relationship.
How can you spark your readers’ interest?
- Put your customers centre stage. Use ‘you’ instead of ‘I’ or ‘we’ as much as possible.
- Express empathy.
- Identify their problems and respond to them by sharing the advantages of your solutions.
Mistake 4: saying too much
- Use their vocabulary and examples from their daily life.
Internet users don’t read. They scan through content looking for interesting and striking elements. The conclusion? Make sure your web copy is as tight as possible. That will help your readers understand your content faster and more easily. And above all, you’ll give them the incentive to keep reading!
How do you make online content easy and accessible?
Mistake 5: no call to action
- Don't go off-topic. Only tackle one topic at a time.
- Apply the inverted pyramid. Start with the conclusion and then move on to the details.
- Be brief. Formulate sentences of 10 to 15 words. And paragraphs shouldn't go over three sentences, with one idea per paragraph. Break them up with subheadings.
- Use bulleted or numbered lists.
- Keep it simple. Use an active tone of voice, a direct and rhythmic style and simple sentences.
- Avoid complicated words and jargon.
- Bold any keywords.
- Add variety with visual material to boost accessibility, e.g. with pictures, videos and useful infographics.
Internet users want to be guided. And you? You probably have expectations too. You want visitors to contact you, comment, request a quote, download your catalogue or subscribe to your newsletter. Show them the way – use a call to action.
How do you get your readers to take action?
- Use a single call to action. Too many options will confuse your reader.
- Repeat the call to action using various methods, e.g. a link, button, visuals, etc.
- Keep it short and to the point.
- Phrase things in positive terms. Think, ‘Find the car of your dreams’ instead of ‘Search for the car of your dreams’.
- Go for an active tone of voice and even use the imperative.
Effective web copy = better results
- Keep your promise. Make sure there’s a clear relationship between the call to action and the action’s result.
Now you know the five mistakes you should avoid to ensure effective web content. You know what it takes to hook readers, keep them reading and get them to take action.
That ball is in your court 😉
Want to make your web content more effective?
Download our checklist '5 tips for effective web writing'!