A lot is written about writing for the web. Which is why I was so drawn to this article by the B2B Inbound blog on How to Create Effective Headlines and Web Copy.
The collection of guidelines they pull together are easy to scan and take on-board, and are very sharable with coworkers and clients alike.
Here is a summary of the guidelines — click through to read the details for each:
- Cut! Cut! Cut!
- Make the copy scan-able
- Write how you’d talk on the phone
- Layer your information in a “bite, snack, meal” format
- Communicate one central theme or idea — centered around one primary keyword — per page
- Create content for your customers, not Google
- Capture visitors with a clear headline
- Use informative headings
- Appeal to all 4 buying modalities
- Hear the conversation as you write
- Focus on action — verbs, not nouns
- Use your site visitors’ words
- Help your site visitors ‘grab and go’
- Read your copy out loud
If I was to recommend just one of these guidelines to follow religiously, it would be #14 — read what you write out loud.
It’s a pain, and you may feel silly, but it is invaluable for quickly identifying bad content — which may be difficult to read, runs on too long, or just plain doesn’t make sense.
Reading content out loud is also very helpful if you’re editing content written by someone else.
If you disagree on how to write a particular sentence or paragraph, reading it out loud will usually identify the better option.