Writing for the web: 10 tips for an effective website

by Saul Edmonds

Did you know that four out of five people scan, rather than read website pages? Only one in five will read your website pages word for word 1

Keeping this important piece of information in mind, the following web writing tips will help your company to convert website visitors into customers.

 1. Think about your audience

Make sure your website information is aimed at your target audience. Consider the following:

• What kind of information are they likely to want to know?
• Use language that your audience is likely to use and understand.

 2. Keep it short

By keeping both sentences and paragraphs as short as possible, your readers will be able to find the information they are looking for as they scan the page.

 3. Use headings and descriptive sub-headings

Headings and sub-headings are great for website visitors as they act as signposts that quickly identify where important information can be found.

 4. Use bold for important words

Using bold throughout paragraphs makes important words ‘pop out’ to the reader. This technique will help reach the four out of five people who scan and don’t read your web pages.

 5. Include a Frequently Asked Questions page

Every company has standard questions that customers ask all the time. Take the time to make a list of these questions and develop concise answers to each one. Depending on how many you have, these frequently asked questions can be included on separate page on your website, or alternatively incorporated into the text on your site.

Having frequently asked questions on your website will save you lots of time and ensure that your customers always receive consistent responses to their questions.

 6. Use in-text links

Make it easy for website visitors to take the next step with your company by using meaningful in-text links.

For example, add a sentence to your website like:

“Use our online enquiry form if you would like to receive a quote for your next project”.

By clicking on the link, the website visitor is directed straight to the online enquiry form. 

This technique provides an opportunity for visitors to act immediately, rather than having to find the online enquiry form themselves.

 7. Avoid using acronyms

Even if you’re sure that your target audience will understand the acronyms you ordinarily use in your industry, acronyms can make text harder to read.

 8. Editing

Once you’ve finished writing your website text, leave it for a few hours or over night before editing. Make any necessary changes to your website text to improve readability and remove unnecessary words. Remember point number 2 – keep it short.

It’s also a good idea to have a colleague assist with editing where possible. A fresh pair of eyes will pick up on small things that you, as the author don’t notice.

 9. Proofreading

Proofreading is critical for creating and maintaining credibility with your customers. In some cases, the first time a customer interacts with your company will be when they view your website. Your company’s professional image and credibility will be let down if you have mistakes in your writing.

By printing your website text and reading it thoroughly in hard copy, it can be easier to pick up on small typos and errors than when you review your work on a screen.

 10. Testing

Testing your website text on a few customers is a great way to ensure that your website will be effective and achieve results.

Ask your reviewers for detailed feedback on what could be improved. Pay particular attention to any areas of your website text that reviewers found difficult to understand or too lengthy.

If you need assistance with writing your website copy, Tilt Communications can help. 
Roundhouse Creative developed the brand and website for Tilt Communications.
Read more about the services available at Tilt Communications here: tiltcommunications.com.au

Ref: How Users Read on the Web, Nielsen Norman Group.

by Saul Edmonds