Some helpful copywriting tips from a Melbourne digital agency

Digital360 on 22 May 2017

Those who have tried their hand at copywriting will testify: it's much harder than it looks. Copywriting is much more than just writing down just a few words on a page and hoping for the best. So whether its improving a headline for a blog post or the call-to-action on a landing page, here are some simple-yet-effective tips for better, clearer copy.

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1. Do ask why

Consider a website’s content. Is it useful? Why is it there? Determining the ‘why’ in content creation is the start of creating a small business content strategy. There is no point posting articles that don't encourage readers to stay on your website and make them interested in your business, products or services. So how can you check if your web copy is working? A high bounce rate (a bounce is when a person clicks on your site but then leaves immediately) can be caused by bad copy.

2. Don’t duplicate content

Duplicated content can cause canonical issues, which occur when a search engine attempts to access a badly redirected site using multiple URLs. In addition, duplicated content can render a site less authoritative. Search engines like Google have the power to punish or blacklist a website and label content as spam. For instance, if you owned a Melbourne nursery, you wouldn't want to end up at the bottom of the page for queries 'nursery' and 'Melbourne', just because of some duplicated content.

3. Do your research

Human error is sometimes unavoidable, but website mistakes can cost a small business dearly. To avoid website errors, allocate time to editing all page content properly. Make fact-checking, spelling and grammar checking, and link-checking integral parts of the writing and publishing stages. In a world where newsrooms are shrinking, and editors are becoming increasingly obsolete, it is more important than ever to triple-check your website's content.

4. Don’t be wordy

Generic phrases and those cringe-worthy clichés are often over-used and can densely pollute a webpage. Writing best practice avoids wordiness at all costs. The two sentence examples below demonstrate the effectiveness of a few decisive cuts.

In the above example, notice how the second sentence is less wordy. That makes it much easier to scan and understand – essential elements when writing for the web.

5. Do be consistent

Webpage consistency refers to page structure and style. Uniformity in titles, subtitles, headings, body paragraphs, links and full quotes, is also part of a great content strategy. Also, consider spelling preferences, a website should conform to either a UK or US dictionary. Your copy may be great, but if it is difficult or onerous to read or scroll through, users will not stick around.

6. Do use the active voice

Writing in the active voice and not reneging to the passive voice can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Without getting too grammatical, the active voice describes a sentence where the subject of the sentence performs the action stated by the verb. The subject must come before the verb in the sentence.

In the above example, the active voice has improved the clarity and specificity of the sentence. In this way, your content will sound more authoritative – an essential part of persuasive copywriting.

7. Don't use jargon

Jargon refers to special words or expressions used by a specific industry group. Digital marketing agencies, for instance, might use words and phrases that refer to specific SEO terms and other such modes of communication. While this might be okay for those ‘in the know’, for others, understanding these words and phrases is difficult. So, when writing for your website, consider the knowledge of the reader. It’s dangerous to assume that your readers will understand everything that you write.

Final thoughts

Good content creation is a vital part of a website content strategy, and should not be overlooked. So when it comes to copywriting for small businesses, it may be worth consulting a digital agency for advice. Website content takes time and effort, so do your best to make it count.

Looking for copywriting services? Ask a digital specialist about copywriting for small business.