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10 indispensable tips for writing online copy

This is a guest post from Jayne White. Jayne is a freelance copywriter and proofreader. She mainly works with web designers to create and improve the copy on their clients’ websites. Her website is eletha.co.uk.

Does your work involve writing or signing off on online copy? If so, take a look at my top tips for making your copy as engaging and effective as possible.

  1. Show some personality – the more expressive you are in conversation, the more your listeners will take an interest; this is true of copywriting also. Consider what your readers might be thinking as they read.
  2. Lead with a strong point – this gets attention! A slow wordy introduction will turn off your readers.
  3. Use the active voice as much as possible; it’s more engaging than the passive voice. Passivity has little place in marketing.
  4. Be focussed – think about what you need to say and say it. I know this sounds obvious. However, many websites and brochures have copy which fails to stay on point or mixes topics in a way that the reader finds distracting.
  5. Spell out customer benefits – inexperienced copywriters often focus entirely on the product and the business and hope the customer will deduce the benefits on their own.
  6. Be clear – your old English teacher isn’t marking this so you don’t have to show that you know how to use really long words and complex grammar. Your goal is to make your copy as readable as possible to as many people as possible.
  7. Be knowledgeable – if you don’t know what you’re talking about the copy will read as waffle or filler and the potential customer will lose interest.
  8. Be concise – many people have a short attention span for reading online. Make sure you’re not making them work too hard. If you’re writing about a big subject, think about how you might break it down so a reader can easily navigate through it.
  9. Include a ‘call to action’ – if you’ve caught a potential customer’s attention make it easy for them to know how to contact you or how to buy what you’re selling – don’t break the flow and encourage them to put you to one side.
  10. Edit – No writing is perfect first time. Lay it aside for a day or two and come back with a critical eye.

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