Copywriting for the web has similarities to print copywriting, such as informational newspaper articles or a novel written for leisure purposes. The goal of both web copywriting and print copywriting is to provide good, quality content that readers find interesting or informative. Both should have a catchy headline that encourages people to continue reading, an interesting topic sentence and opening paragraph that hooks them, a memorable, sometimes thought-provoking closing, and images that correlate with the text when appropriate.
However, that’s where the similarities end. When writing for the web you are typically trying to promote or sell something. Sure, some people have websites just for fun, but the majority of site owners out there are looking to benefit from their site. After all, since developing a website is hard work you must want to get something out of it, whether it is a sale, lead, or something else that you are able to profit from.
From a selling standpoint, keep your copy simple. People tend to “browse” on the web. They don’t want to have to read pages and pages of copy to figure out what it is that you can do for them. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and make bulleted lists that point out the key elements that you are trying to convey.
Also, web copywriting, unlike writing for a magazine or a book, needs to be written in a way that not only attracts your target audience, but also is understood by the search engines. If you are writing on the web, you want your content to be found, right? You can have the greatest copy in the world posted on your webpage, but if people aren’t finding it, it’s not doing its purpose and you wasted a lot of your time. Therefore, you need to write your copy in a way that also caters to the search engine robots that browse your page and submit info back to the search engine that explains what your webpage is about.
Remember to incorporate headline, title, and image meta tags. A search engine robot can’t see photos, and the image tag will allow it to be indexed. Incorporate the keywords that you are targeting into your copy. For example if you are a hair salon using “Katrina’s Beauty Salon” as a keyword don’t write, “We offer a variety of services”, instead write, “Katrina’s Beauty Salon offers a variety of services” allowing the search engine robots to pick up on that keyword. However, don’t abuse your keywords. It looks spammy and can be annoying to read as well. One or two keywords in a paragraph are enough.
When writing for the web the goal is to sell, so you need to take your writing that one step further using search engine optimization techniques that will get your copy noticed, and since SEO trends are always changing, it’s important to keep up with them.