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11 copywriting principles you can implement today

Frankly, when most small businesses set out to build a website, they do it backward.

Let that marinate for a bit.

What I mean by backward is that they add the content at the end of the process.Five types of Web Copy

I have spent countless hours waiting for clients to submit their content.

You know what I mean, right?

There should be a law that says clients have to submit content first, but I digress.

Copy ends up being way more important than they think, and, it also ends up being more important than website designers think as well.

If you aren’t careful, your copy will have no rhyme or reason and no strategy.

However, you can change that with some tweaks and by learning a few copywriting techniques.

Before we started, let’s take a look at various types of web copy.

5 Types of Web copy

Blog/Article
One of the most basic pieces of web copy is a blog or an article. For a company, it is a very viable option for educating and entertaining its audience for the purpose of building trust and, ultimately, a relationship.

Web page
A web page is each individual page on a website. Often these websites contain information about the company, information for contacting the company as well as various services and product.

Homepage
A homepage is often the gateway to a website. It is the place a large portion of visitors will land when visiting your website. Learn more about a good home page.

Landing Page
A landing page has one purpose, to encourage a single, significant action. Often, landing pages will remove navigation and other distracting elements of a website to help the visitor focus on the desired action.

Product Page
A product page is usually written for an e-commerce website, although it can be used for a standard site. An example is a product page can be found for any item at Amazon.

11 Principles of web copywriting

1. Feature the benefits first

When writing copy for a single page, especially when talking a product or service, the best practice is to feature the benefits first. Copywriters lead with the benefits and support with features.

Often, companies will do this backward and lead with features. The truth of the matter is that visitors are looking to solve a problem, their problem, and it is the benefits of the product or service that will help them solve their problem.

2. The art of Persuasion

Learn the art of persuasion. Persuasion uses words that encourage users to take an action. This is not a trick or some kind of  “bait and switch,” but legitimately encouraging someone to make a decision that will help benefit them.

3. Always use a formula

Writers and copywriters don’t just write web copy by free form. They have a plan, a formula that they use that works. There are many copywriting classic formulas that have made their way to the internet because they help map out a strategy and get the best techniques in front of the reader.

4. Make it scannable

Readers online rarely read an article in its entirety. Web readers scan. As a result, the best practice is to format your copy on the website to be scannable.

How do you do this?

Well, first, make short paragraphs and sentences.

Use subheading titles.

Make sure paragraphs are not jammed with tons of words. Separate thoughts to make it easier to scan.

5. Decide your purpose

What is the purpose of your copy? This is a fundamental question for web copy.

For a web page, you may want the reader to contact you. On a landing page, you want them to download your lead magnet or sign up for your email newsletter.

On a blog post, you will want to build a relationship and nurture your lead.

On a product page, you want to lay out all the reasons to click the “buy now” button.

6. Write for your audience

Write for your audience, not for yourself. There are a couple of things to consider.

First, who is your audience? It is important to know who they are.

Second, what kind of pain is your audience is feeling. This will help you write your copy to address those articles.

You may need to dive in and research who your audience is and what they are looking for answers for.

7. Be very clear

Being very clear deserves to be mentioned. Web copy that wanders is hard for the reader to follow and cause them to exit your site in frustration.

This is why it is important to know the purpose of the page, the blog post or landing page.

8. Don’t be boring, be entertaining.

Don’t be afraid to entertain. Don’t just entertain for entertainment sake.

Entertain to set the tone, to be casual, to help lower any wall the reader has. Make them smile.

Don’t underestimate the use of entertainment.

9. Headlines are uber important

Headlines may be the single most important thing you do. Often, readers read the headline and make a split decision whether or not to read the rest of the copy.

Does your headline grab the reader’s attention?

Does your headline tell them what to expect?

Some editors write as many as 25 headlines per article to get the right combination.

10. Utilize good grammar

This goes without saying.

But, I’ll say it anyway.

Use Grammarly or some other grammar tool to help. If you need to, hire a grammar expert.

11. Practice good SEO techniques

SEO is a comprehensive subject which cannot be completely discussed in this article, however, it is important with web copy.

A couple things you will want to do is to utilize internal and external linking and use a focus keyword.

Practice good on-site SEO for each page, article and landing page.

Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack WordPress plugins can help you keep your copy optimized.

 

Postscript

Go and do copy my web friends.

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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