Welcome to Day Six in the series on Writing Website Content. Last week covered specializing in website content writing, the right questions to ask buyers, how writers are like website tour guides, why great headlines are important and how to lose 7% of your client’s customers.
Today, we’re focusing on tips and tricks for writing website content and that includes being clever with your words.
If you’ve been following our series on writing website content, you should know by now that writers attempting this type of work have a great deal to achieve with very little text. They have to keep people moving through a website, guiding them while compelling them to take action quickly.
Remember, each click reduces the chance of conversion. Each click costs your client customers.
That means that all the fluff, all the extra words, all the clever turns of phrase – it all has to go. Be as concise as possible and save the space for words that really matters.
This is why a good tagline, a great slogan and a perfect headline matters so much – they each need to pack a wallop in just a few words. They tell people immediately what they’re going to get from a site in the prime real estate location of the web.
A writer who tries to be clever and witty risks screwing up the job.
Something clever, like Nike’s “Just do it” or Timex’s “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking” can achieve miracles, yes. Most writers – a huge majority of writers, from average to above average – can’t come up with catchy phrases like that.
No, seriously. You may believe you can (and I know you’re sitting there thinking as much), but you can’t. Quit fooling yourself.
But let’s say you do get drunk on your own words and think you’re some ad copy superstar. You write up a tagline you think is funny that says it all. You love it. You’re brilliant.
You risk misunderstanding. You take a chance with someone’s website that a reader doesn’t get the message you thought was so tricky and clever. Worse, the message might be taken the wrong way.
The reader clicks away out of complete incomprehension.
It’s not worth it, people. Trying to show off how witty you can be hurts your buyer, plain and simple. Never be clever; be clear.
Fast Tips for Clever Content That Converts
Most people like to follow formats, and since website content has a general set of guidelines for formatting, improving your work can happen quickly. Here are some tips for keeping your website content well formatted:
- Keep your headline, your tagline or your slogan at about six or seven words at the most.
- Have a headline for each page, and make it relevant to the content on that specific page.
- Bold your headlines to attract attention and draw the eye.
- Keep paragraphs beneath headlines at three sentences or less.
- Use impact statements. These single sentences in their own paragraph really drive a message home.
- Use sub-headers throughout the content. Secondary headlines help people skip, skim and scan pages. Bold them, too.
- Try to keep the website content less than 250 words per page. 200 is even better.
- Remove all passive language and use strong action verbs and an authoritative tone – even with friendly, warm writing. (This is tricky, but it can be done.)
- Also remove all exclamation points. Be confident and convey bold confidence, too.
Here’s a last trick: Include call to action in your content. Suggest actions readers should take, like signing up for an RSS feed, opting into a newsletter or the next page they should read. Use the word please, too, because being polite counts.
We’ll talk more about manners in tomorrow’s post.