Simple Tips to Improve Your Website Text

Content Works: Simple tips to improve web textAre you worried about your website text?

Are you afraid of grammar errors and sentences that don’t make sense?

I can understand if you are.

Professional online copywriters worry about what they’ve written.

People who aren’t pros and have to write website text worry more.

And people who aren’t pros, and have to write online copy in a second language,  worry most.

As more businesses worldwide work in English, the problem gets more common.

Quick fixes

Here are some easy fixes to improve your online copywriting. Follow these and your site or blog will be easier to read and more engaging for your readers.

 1. Have a conversation with your readers

It’s best to use informal language. When you’re writing, imagine you’re speaking in a business meeting.

Here’s an example of how you can be more conversational. Which sentence is friendlier?

“ABC is a financial services provider located in Paris.”

“We’re a team of financial experts based in Paris.”

Yes – the second one.

Action: Check one text from your website for dull, formal, redundant phrases. Avoid these examples.

2. Keep it short

That means words, sentences and paragraphs. Research shows that short is easier to scan.

Compare these two texts that say the same thing. Which is easier to scan?

Text A

“Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).”

Text B

“In 1996, six of the most-visited places in Nebraska were:

  • Fort Robinson State Park
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument
  • Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum
  • Carhenge
  • Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
  • Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park”

It’s pretty clear that B wins!

Action: Go back to one thing you wrote recently to see how you could transform a paragraph.

3. Have a clear message

Be straightforward and specific. Which sentence below has more impact?

“We commit to always reply to our clients’ concerns within one business day.”

“We promise to answer in 24 hours.”

The clearer and more specific your language, the easier it is on your readers.

Action: read this very short post on writing clearly and follow the advice.

4. Format your text

Use sub-headings to introduce each new idea. Let’s imagine you’re a bank, and you want to educate prospective customers.

Here’s how you can sub-divide your text.

1. Open your account

Here you explain exactly what the new customer has to do.

2. Apply for a credit card

Here you explain

  • what documents they need
  • where to find the application form
  • and how to send it all to you.

Use bullets to break up text as above.

You can also use bold, italics,  and numbered lists.

And don’t forget block quotes as a design feature.

Action: If you write in WordPress, the editing bar makes all this super easy. Get familiar with the options and use them.

5. Rewrite your headlines

Yes, rewrite them. The first one is seldom the best.

For this post, I started with “How to Give Your Website Copy a Makeover”.

Rejected! “How to” is over-used. “Makeover” may not be clear to everyone who speaks English as a second langauge.

Second attempt was “Improve Your Online Copywriting”.

Rejected! It’s too much like an order. And “online copywriting” is a highly targeted keyword phrase. “Website text” has fewer websites competing to rank for it.

Result: Simple Tips to Improve Your Website Text

Everyone has to practice writing headlines.

Action: Read and use these great tips on headline writing.

6. Edit your text

As with headlines, the first draft of your copy won’t be the best. Go through it and cut out any words you don’t need. Like this:

“However, if you want to order by email, click here.”

“Order by email here.”

Change any repeated words, unless they are there for effect.

Compare the two texts below: which example gets to the point?

1. “Which plan should I choose for my company?

The most important factor in choosing a plan for your company is your age, amount you want to save each month, and your health.”

2. “Which plan is for me?

Compare the different plans in the box below…”

Deliberate repetition is different – use it for emphasis. Like this:

During the course you’ll learn

  • how to edit your copy
  • how to write better headlines
  • how to format your text.

Break up any long sentences or paragraphs. Just go back to that example from Nebraska to see why.

Action: read up on the basics of  copy editing.

Put all of that into practice and your website text should look a lot smarter and cleaner. For more advanced tips and help, check out these articles –

 9 writing tricks to supercharge your blog

44 must-read resources on content marketing

What problems do you have writing website text? What would you like to know about online copywriting? Leave a question below or share any other tips.

About Liz Wilson

Liz Wilson is Content Manager at Orange in Switzerland. This is her personal blog where she likes talking about content, copywriting and social media.

Trackbacks

  1. […] More and more businesses ask me to rewrite their website text. Two reasons: more businesses have Engish websites, and more people have to write in English as a second language.   While I'm happy to rewrite websites, it's not a longterm solution for my clients.    Businesses who use English as their main language need to provide help and training for employees who have to write.   As a start, here are a few tips to make your online writing more shiny! (If this applies to you).   Read them here http://lizwilson.me/simple-tips-to-improve-your-website-text/    […]

Now have your say