1. Writer-Man

    Writer-Man New Member

    Oct 8, 2008
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    Art of writing better web copy

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Writer-Man, Oct 8, 2008.

    Writing for the web is a relatively new art form for wordsmiths. While many writing techniques, styles, and applications have been with us for centuries for use in the traditional forums, the internet has not been with us long at all. Thus, applying tried and true copywriting techniques to the web is arguably not an easy transition. Older writing methods have served writers well and with a bit of modification, traditional copy can serve as a useful guideline in the web world. After a fair bit of research, I’ve narrowed down some of the consistent guidelines and I encourage readers to share their opinions and offer any other sources of information to help bolster my findings or prove other suggestions better.

    Less is more. Web users surfing the internet only want succinct, but informative, pieces of information. The information must make readers want to stay and navigate further into the site.

    Present copy in “bite-sized” information. Many researchers refer to presenting web copy in chunks, otherwise known as chunking. Keep the information in shorter blocks to allow the reader to digest the information and be willing to consume more of the web copy.

    The web copy must have utility. Readers must be able to take something away useful from the web copy; either, a clear understanding of the information or a call-to-action prompting the reader to engage in an activity related to or prompted by the site’s web copy.

    Know your reader. This seems like such a simple task, but considering the internet lends itself to a wide variety of readers consuming one’s web copy, it is easy to see why many say it is one of the most difficult objectives to reach in writing web copy. The best way to take on this task is to focus on who the specific website is trying to attract and write within the aforementioned techniques to first bring them to a website; second, keep them there; and third, have the reader return.

    Keep it simple. Once you’ve identified your reader, keep it simple to that reader’s level of understanding. That understanding is obviously going to shift depending on the subject matter, but the premise will remain – keep it simple.

    Web copy is the focus for the entire site. Many web copy “gurus” suggest that everything that is contained on a website is there to support the web copy. Whether it is graphics, or audio, or video, the web copy is there to inform and guide the reader. As such, graphics and other elements of a website should be constructed with the web copy in mind and not the other way around.

    Finally, the web world is different – accept it! People don’t read web copy the same way they do a newspaper or novel. People are on internet sites to get information quickly and move on to a different page. Ultimately, the easier the web copy writer makes it for the reader to find the desired information is the true mark of success in writing successful web copy.
  2. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    this is probably good advice, w-m, but it might be better received if you introduced yourself first, in the 'new members' section, instead of just popping in and posting a lesson right off the bat... if you intend to stick around and be a member, that is...

    if you do, welcome to the forums!

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