A definition of web copywriting
Web copywriting is the practice of writing marketing content for the internet. Web copywriting might appear in formats like these:
- A business website
- A promotional email sent to customers
- A company blog*
Web copywriting is promotional by nature (that’s the copy part) and comes in the form of online content (that’s the web part).
It’s different to offline copywriting for a few different reasons:
- Unlike offline copywriting, the format and layout of web copywriting can change depending on the device being used.
- People consume web copy differently. Online they tend to skim more, scroll faster and pick out key information.
- There are some elements of web copywriting that don’t exist in physical pieces of copywriting. These include call-to-actions, contact forms and meta tags.
We don’t know about you, but we often find it easier to understand a new term with a few examples. So here are a few examples of web copywriting.
The most obvious example of web copywriting that you’ll see every day is a company website. The words on a company website are known as copy, because copy is a term for the words used to promote something (or someone).
Blogs. Landing pages. Emails. Brochures. Catalogues. Reports. Research. Any of these could be considered web copywriting - as long as they’re published online.
Billboards. Newspaper ads. Brochures. Catalogues. These are not examples of web copywriting. They’re just copywriting.
Here are our top tips for writing web copy:
- Write it like a story.
When you’re writing for the web, each sentence should lead into the next. You should do this because online, there are a lot of distractions. Banners, ads, links, pop-ups, messages…the list is endless. You need to employ tricks like this to keep people engaged and interested in your copy.
- Break up big chunks of text.
Because of how people read online - they tend to scan rather than read every word - it’s a good idea to break up big chunks of text and avoid long paragraphs. Keep them short, snappy and scannable.
- Try to avoid idioms and jargon.
Online content tends to have a much wider audience than offline content, so you should adapt your copy accordingly. Try to avoid idioms or slang specific to your language or region. Avoid industry-specific jargon. The more people that can understand your copy, the better for your business.
- Use headings and subheadings.
When online readers scan through your copy, their eyes are drawn towards headings and subheadings. This is what’s known as the f-shaped reading pattern. With this in mind, your subheadings should be descriptive, useful and contain key information for the reader. They should be able to easily scan through your copy to pick out the key information for itself.
5. Don’t oversimplify your work.
Your copy should come in two layers: the scannable part, and the readable part. If people want to scan it for the key information, they should be able to do that. If they want to read every word to get in-depth information on a topic, they should be able to do that. Don’t oversimplify your work.
- Don’t neglect your headline.
More people will read your headline than any other part of your copy. Whether they see it on social media, via a search engine or in an email, in many cases it’ll be the only point of communication you have with readers. So don’t waste it. Concentrate on writing a headline that generates intrigue, grabs the reader’s attention and persuades them to read on.
- Make it easy for people to take action.
The point of copywriting is to persuade people to take action. So make it easy for them. For example, let’s say you’re writing a blog to boost sales for your new travel guide. You should include regular call-to-actions in the piece, to where people can purchase it. Then, make sure you find an eCommerce platform that makes the buying process simple and easy.