Copywriting and Content Writing to a Better Website
By Maeva Cifuentes
After investing a large sum of money into your website, you might later notice a slow-down in incoming traffic. Many design techniques can help you add that extra spice to your page, but when it comes to engaging your audiences, it’s the content and copy that will keep them coming back. Both require writing skills and understanding how people (and search engines!) read and engage with your website.
Content and copy are similar but different.
What is content writing?
Your content is just what it sounds like: the content that your website offers your readers. These are the blogs and long-form content you use to help and educate your potential clients or audience. The strictest definition of content is that which is meant to inform or entertain your reader. While it can take the form of newsletters, magazine articles, or the like, it also applies to digital forms of writing that leave the reader thinking or feeling something.
The content obviously should be useful, original, and well-written, but it’s also helpful to break it down into small paragraphs with sub-headers to deal with the reader’s short attention span (trust me, we have shorter attention spans than fish these days).
I can’t stress enough how important it is that your content is valuable. If you can’t write something useful and captivating, it’s better that you just don’t write anything at all. I’ll repeat the key message: presentation is important, but quality is king.
What is copywriting?
On the other side of the coin, copy is marketing material meant to sell instead of tell. A copywriter knows how to write witty marketing copy, taglines, and knows how to highlight your product or service rather than informing your readers of something. Both copy and content, however, should engage the reader emotionally.
That means copy will be on your ‘Home’ and ‘About Me’ pages, and content will make up most of your blog. It’s important to distinguish the style nuances.
How Can I Make My Style More Readable?
After you’ve sorted out what you’re writing for your website, it’s important to find a sense of style. Writing isn’t easy. Using good grammar and spelling is important, of course, but good style is the next step. While stylish writing takes years of practice and training to polish, there are a few simple rules you could follow to help you improve:
- Keep your sentences short and try to be direct as possible. As a rule, any word that isn’t crucial to the meaning of your sentence can be removed.
- Always choose the active voice (e.g. ‘The court decided the sentence’ instead of ‘the sentence was decided by the court’) where possible.
- Avoid adverbs where possible.
- Try using a stronger adjective instead of the word ‘very’ (e.g. ‘thrilled’ instead of ‘very excited’) where possible.
- Always run a spellcheck and proofread before publishing.
Following these should already get you to more straightforward and engaging content. I suggest reading Strunk’s The Elements of Style or Stephen King’s On Writing for more tips if you feel like plunging further into it.
If you don’t feel like learning how to write stylishly before releasing your website to the world, no worries: you can hire a professional to deal with the headache for you.
Don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about your copy/content writing needs!
Some useful links: