Writing effective copy for the internet

Writing effective copy for the internet

Writing for the internet is a skill all of its own. You’re trying to create a message that’s easy to read and easy to understand for people who have the attention span of a gnat.

As people surf the internet, they’re bombarded with messages. So how do you stand out?

Here’s our quick tips for writing internet copy that has a chance of being read:

  • Writing for the internet should be tighter and more concise than you would write normally.
  • Use words and phrases that are information rich.
  • Writing should be shorter but with no loss of information.
  • Use lots of pictures with informative captions

And then there’s some specifics that apply to e-business internet web sites that are selling things:

  • Have a descriptive headline. The advice is headlines should be five to ten words at most and include the keywords being targeted. A good test is if a reader were reading only your five to ten words, would they know what the article is about?
  • Be honest. If you sucker people in with a misleading headline, they’ll move on. Quickly.
  • The introductory sentence should be short and punchy, but tell the entire story. It should be one sentence of 30 to 35 words maximum that tells the most important information in the story and gives specific facts
  • All major information should be attributed unless it is commonly known or unless the information itself strongly implies the source.
  • Use short paragraphs. Any paragraph more than three sentences is definitely too long; any paragraph that is three sentences is probably too long.
  • Can you paraphrase the text to take out words without changing the sense?
  • Use sub heading to break up chunks of anything more than three paragraphs to provide signposts to your readers.
  • Use bullet points to simplify any lists of information.
  • Use lots of pictures. Readers will often go to pictures first, so always caption pictures with your key messages.

A key skill for all internet entrepreneurs is to be able to write copy quickly and confidently that people can scan, dip into or maybe even read!