Guest post: Writing for the web


This post about online copywriting has been provided by Angie Stewart.

Angie is a marketing consultant from Maginus Online Marketing Agency.

She recently approached me and asked if she could write something for Diary of a Webgal.

She offered to write about an online marketing topic of my choice so I’ve asked her to tell us about writing for the web. Here’s what she had to say.

Creative copywriting is a skill that stems back since long before the internet became a business resource we couldn’t live without.

However, in the midst of the online revolution, many of us have moved away from writing for direct mail or magazine advertisements in favour of writing for blogs, social media and direct e-mail.

If you’re writing online content, you probably have one of two aims:

1. Persuade someone to buy something.

2. Create content that is interesting enough it will cause people to link to it.

So what are the main things to think about when copywriting for the web as opposed to for print?

Write for page skimmers

People generally skim read online copy much more than printed copy, this is due to the strain on the eyes cause by computer screens and the impatience that seems to be bred into today’s internet users.

Therefore, online sales copy needs to lend itself to skim reading. Keep sentences short and use lots of headings.

Ideally, a reader should be able to skim down the page reading only the headlines and get a good idea of what the page is about.

Consistency across online campaigns

Much of your online sales copy is likely to be related to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns.

It’s important to have some consistency across the copy in your online marketing campaigns. For example, if you’re using PPC to drive traffic to your page, aligning your page with the ad can improve your quality score and therefore lower your costs. And with both SEO and PPC, aligning your page with the ad (or meta description in the case of SEO) will also improve your conversion rate.

Make it interesting

Each paragraph should encourage the reader to move onto the next. This is true for print copy, but even more so for online copy as readers, generally, have a shorter attention span than that of readers of printed copy.

Try varying sentence structure and removing any unnecessary words or phrases.

Mention what you’re talking about

For the reader of this article, it’s pretty clear that I’m talking about online copywriting.

I don’t even need to mention the words ‘online copywriting’ anywhere other than the title. In fact, I could even leave it out of the title and you’d still figure it out.

However, search engines don’t read as a human does, so to tell the search engines what your page is about you need to mention the words. Yes, it really is that simple!

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s so easy to leave your keywords out. You don’t need to repeat words to the extent that it sounds unnatural, just include them a couple of times on the page and variations of the same words if they exist.

Disclaimer: I’ve never used any services or products provided by Maginus or Angie.