1. Put important stuff first and last.
Web copy is scanned, not read. Web visitors quickly glance at your web page before guessing whether they’re in the right place or not. They don’t need to know for sure. They just want to make a quick decision. In general, what comes first gets the most attention. This means what comes first in everything including the website, individual webpage structure, the paragraph and the sentence.
There is no magic number for how many words, lines or paragraphs each web page should have. As a general rule of thumb, if you feel tired of reading after a certain point, your audience will too. This is where you should end your text.
- 80% of people will read your headlines.
- Only 20% of those people will read the rest of your content!
- Ideal Headline Length: 8–12 words & under 70 characters.
2. Write for your audience
Speak to them in their own language. The importance of concentrating on audience cannot be overstated. Everything you create, write, or develop must be with your target audience in mind. You must always remember that you are creating, writing, and developing specifically for them.
3. Write for lazy people
Your web visitor doesn’t want to make an effort to read your text. Write short copy for maximum impact.
Make your copy easy to read with:
- Use short paragraphs – four sentences max
- Use short sentences – twelve on average
- Skip unnecessary words
- Avoid jargon
- Use the 'active voice'
- Avoid needless repetition
- Use the word 'you' in addressing your audience directly
- Shorten your text
4. Remove filler words and fluff
English has a lot of small-ish words that are necessary for grammatical accuracy but have little to no meaning. In speeding up the pace of your copy and shortening its length, you'll want to eliminate these.
Categories of filler words:
- Prepositions | by, for, from, to, with, at
- Demonstratives | this, that, these, those
- Articles | a, an, the
- Relative pronouns | that, which, who, whom, whose, where
- Coordinating conjunctions | and, but, or, for, so, yet, nor
5. Vary your sentence length and type
This is important for engaging your reader. After a series of long-ish sentences, a simple short sentence can have great impact. This a good tactic for emphasising information and breaking up the monotony of having too many similarly structured sentences in a row.
6. Remember to Proof read effectively
Read your writing slowly and aloud. Have someone else read your writing slowly and aloud. Read your writing slowly and backwards from the end to the beginning.
If this all sounds a bit like a difficult task or a bit daunting, that's OK - you know where we are if you need us. Fancy a biscuit and a brainstorm? Acumen Design can help with the planning, design and build your next website project or offer advice and a fresh pair of eyes on your existing one.