It’s right to be consistent in what we say to our target customers; regarding message and style. But can we use the same wording? No.
Why should copywriting adapt for the web?
People read screens and pages differently. What you write needs to respect that online, readers will:
- Have less time
- Scan for relevant information before settling into the content
- Have a different viewing pattern
If we get our words right, we can create action. In marketing terms, the action we’re aiming for is engagement, via connection, conversation and/or sales.
Six top tips for effective online writing:
- Simple, short sentences. No more than 15 words, ideally 12… it’s tough, but it works!
- Succinct paragraphs with no more than five lines. Help people to scan as they want to.
- Use bulleted lists. Again for the scanners; they’re visually inviting too.
- Write directional text, with links. This is your conversation with the reader and your chance to encourage action. ‘Contact us’, ‘download free guide’, ‘sign up for our top tips’ are good examples.
- F style. People read online across the top of the screen, left to right, then down in the shape of the letter ‘F’. Respect this with your key content. (It also explains website menu positions.)
- Keyword positioning. Blend what we know about search engine optimisation with online reading habits. Position a select number of keywords within your copy. It’s difficult to know column widths online (far easier with printed media). Position your chosen keywords at the start of each paragraph; early within the first sentence. They’ll be picked up by search engines and human readers alike.