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Writing Tips for the Web

This month’s theme concentrates on writing for the web. It’s an area that we have cultivated over the years, so we thought we’d share a few pointers to improve your copy and make it web-ready!

Tip 1) Acknowledge space

When writing for a limited space, you need to acknowledge the amount of text you fit into the space. As a rule of thumb, count the number of words that fit on one line and multiple this by the number of lines which fit into the space you are writing for. This will help you condense your writing (See tip 5).

This space could be the entire width of a page or a section of the page, perhaps inside a box. The important thing to note is that you need to get your message across within this word count (the following tips should help ; 0 )).

Tip 2) Have a purpose or goal

Writing aimlessly will confuse your readers. If you know you have to write copy, then you should know what purpose it serves. If it is a page on Server Management (IT), then you will be selling this service and so your purpose will be to elicit interest and convince readers that you have the experience to supply this service for them. They will be interested in learning what you offer, why they need it, how the process works, and of course, how they can contact you to discuss it further.

Tip 3) Tone of voice and knowing your reader

A bit of a ‘two-for-one’ tip here! Your tone of voice is the way in which you write. A tone can be formal/informal, natural/forced, comical/chatty/witty/upbeat etc Adopting a tone and sticking to it is essential. The tone you use has a direct effect on how your brand is perceived and will entice readers to keep reading. (Can you guess the type of tone I’m using in this blog post?)

Tip 4) Using keywords

How I hate to ruin a great piece of natural copy by re-editing with keywords. It just doesn’t seem right somehow does it? Still, writing for the web has a bigger purpose – writing to be found. Its the basis of SEO and it’s good practice to re-work your copy with this in mind. (We’ll save keywords and SEO for another post!)

Tip 5) Writing concisely (quality not quantity)

Unconsciously, once we have the ‘bit between the teeth’, we can all have a tendency to run with it and write pages and pages of copy. Novel writers are taught to write and write and write. The task is then to highlight all the bits with potential. You can adopt the exact same approach. So pour everything out onto paper (or Word!) first, then read through it and condense into as few words as possible. Make sure your point is clear, but that you are not confusing your readers with too much waffle. Your goal is to write quality copy that centres around your goal.

Questions for you :

  • Were these pointers useful?
  • Are there any that you would add?
  • Do you have a particular issue when writing for the web, that you would like to ask a question on?

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