Do you want to write great copy for your website? In this blog I am sharing my top tips to help you write like a pro, using free tools to proofread your text.

Great website copy will help your potential customers see you as credible and reliable. Optimise the copy to keep your potential customers engaged, and drive conversions.

To make things a little simpler, I suggest these three key areas to look at when preparing your website copy:

  • Make use of headings and bullets
  • Write in active voice, avoiding passive sentences
  • Use easy language.

Read on for my top three tips and useful free resources to help you write your website copy like a pro.

Tip number 1: Make your text skimmable to help your customers find what they need quickly.

According to this article by the BBC, the attention span of the average user online is about eight seconds. In my experience, you have even less time to capture your audience before they bounce right out of your website.

Your website could be the first point of contact between your business and a potential customer. Keep your website copy light and make it easy to scan and skim-read. This will help you capture the attention of potential customers, and increase conversions for your website.

⭐ My top tip: Use headings and bullets.

This helps users with varying abilities to quickly scan and understand key points, promoting accessibility. You will be able to direct the attention of the users more effectively towards the key pages of your site where you can capture conversions. 

💡 Below you can see images of two paragraphs. The content is not that important. if you had 8 second to take in the main points, which of the two images would be easier to read?

Image showing a paragraph of text that is not easy to scan
This is a short paragraph that uses no headings or bullet points.
Image showing a paragraph of text that uses headings and bullets to make it easier to scan.
This is a short paragraph that uses headings or bullet points to make the text easier to scan.

Tip number 2: Avoid passive voice to make your website easier to read. Create great copy that tells your story with energy and impact

If you had to write essays in secondary school or university, you may have heard about the dreaded passive voice. This is part of grammar, but the reason I am making it stand out here is that so often we forget how damaging it can be for our text. I find passive voice in my writing quite often, and I have been training not to use it for years.

Passive voice reduces the impact of your writing because it makes your copy longer and more complicated to understand. It puts the subject, often a customer, in the position of the passive observer. It alienates your audience from the message you are trying to deliver to them.

For the same reason, it can become unclear to whom the text is referring or directed. See this: The milk was spilled on the side. Well then, who spilled the milk?


Passive sentence:

If your item is faulty, a returns form should be completed with your goods before they are sent back to us.

Active voice:

If your item is faulty, complete a returns form before you send your goods back to us.

⭐ My top tip: search for the passive voice in your website copy

Most spellcheckers, such as the one available with MS Word, will have a passive voice filter. For an alternative quick way to find passive sentences in your text, search for forms of the verb “to be”: been, is, am, has.

If you have access to MS Word for work, make sure that you enable the passive voice checker. Find out how to do that here: How to Check for Passive Voice in Microsoft Word for Office 365

Tip number 3: Using accessible language and plain English is a simple way to ensure that you are creating great copy for your website

I have spoken about accessible language before (see my blog: How to build a strong brand using inclusive language). This last tip is along the same lines. With few exceptions, it should be our goal to make our text easy to understand, so our customers and people know what we expect of them, and they can act quickly.

Using plain language will make it easier for your customers to understand what you do and help you avoid misunderstandings and confusion. It also allows you to speak to a wider range of people with different levels of language and learning skills.
⭐ My top tip: have a list of word alternatives and focus on what words you should not use, rather than what words you should use.

Instead of thinking what language you should use, it may help to create a list of words you should not use. See this useful list by the Plain English Campaign: Alternative words | Plain English Campaign

That’s all folks!

I know that grammar and spelling is not the most exciting topic. But spending a bit of time to get your copy right will transform the way you work. Want to find out more? Take 30 minutes for your development to watch my Digital Boost Masterclass on using brand language with impact: Digital Boost Masterclass: Brand Language with Impact

Communicating with impact is a transformative tool for your small business. As I always say: doing what you love is hard work. Communicating it shouldn’t be.

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