Does your website make sense? | npENGAGE

Does your website make sense?

By on Jan 10, 2011


How do you go about generating copy for your website? Do you start actively thinking about the desires, motivations and language of your community before you start typing? Can your readers easily understand what you’re trying to say via your website?

Website copy can have a huge impact on how long your website visitors choose to stick around for. Unfortunately, too many of us spend hours writing up copy that doesn’t speak to our readers, is overly focused on your organisation, and relies too much on organisational jargon.

Below are some tips to help ease you back into the world of content generation in the new year, and which should help your website gain more traction with your community.

Write to the level of your readers

PencilRun your website through a fee online analysis tool, such as HubSpot’s Website Grader. What is the readability level? Depending on the type of community you are trying to reach, you should be focusing on writing at a level that is easily understood by high school students. Writing above this level risks alienating certain types of readers, and the last thing you want to do is create a website that your community simply can’t understand.

Keep it simple

If you can make a word or a sentence smaller, or less complicated, do it. Don’t waste your readers time by making them meander through jargonistic sentences and long words. Keep it simple, short, and punctuate your text by proofreading it out aloud.

Focus on your readers

Focus on your readers by talking directly to them. Use words such as ‘you’ when addressing your readers, rather than starting every sentence with a focus on your organisation. Avoid ‘At organisation x…’ and embrace ‘We can make you feel good by…’.

Focus on titles and bullet points

Your readers never read all that you have written on your website. They skim it. Optimise your text with bullet points, headings and sub-headings to help them find the information relevant to them.

Concentrate on the benefits to the reader

Focusing on the benefits to your audience will make your message more persuasive and focused on your readers. Don’t get too caught up in the features of your offering or request, as it’s the benefits that ultimately make the case for conversion.

Consider structuring your copy in the following manner:

  1. The features of your program/offering/point
  2. The benefits to the reader of these features
  3. The implications to the reader if they do/do not take the recommended action.

This will ensure that you are always focusing on relevant information and concentrating on your readers.

Keep it short

If you can, try to keep your web pages around 300 words. This way, you will avoid having lots of copy below the page fold, and will be catering to your reader’s desire to skim rather than read your website.

Do you have any techniques that you use to stay reader focused and relevant?


Comments (7)

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article. It is so important to identify your target audience and make sure the article focuses on their needs. General topics may attract a wider group, but overtime the content becomes less relevant.

    • Thanks Stefan! You make a good point about the relevancy of content – constant refreshing is also required to ensure that the website stays fresh and relevant to its readers (whoever they may be.)

  • Chad Norman says:

    I love “Keep it Simple.” That piece of advice seem so, well, simple, yet it’s a mistake made over and over again. Websites are very well suited for the “too many cooks in the kitchen” phenomenon, as everyone has an opinion. That’s where web marketers get into trouble…trying to cater to their internal audience more than their external audience.

    • I agree. Too much website copy suffers from ‘death by committee’… Another really good tip is to leave the text you have just written for at least 24 hours and then come back to it. You tend to distance yourself from it during this time, and you can start to edit what you’ve written through more objective eyes.

  • Bcour says:

    Good reminders and new ideas!

  • Amy says:

    i tired that and it so worked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thx

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