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4) Planning Your Website's Page Content 

Writing web copy and creating content suited to your target audience 





Write Copy for the Web


There is an abundance of information on the World Wide Web to internet users.


With tasks and distractions vying for your visitors' time and attention, it's more important than ever to make your copy standout and grab their attention. 


Learning how internet users process web page content can help you write and format copy to achieve success.


Web page copy is initially scanned, not read. Visitors first scan the page to determine if the content is relevant to the goals they have in mind. Then they go back and read something on the page, or they choose to move on. This method of processing information is why taking one of your promotional fliers or brochures and putting the same information and graphics on a web page is not an effective strategy. Instead, consider the following tips to help modify your message and presentation so a visitor can more quickly process the information on your web page:


  • Reformat your material to make use of short headlines, bullet points, bold text, and short paragraphs.


  • Prioritize by putting your most important information at the top of the page in summary format to increase its chances of being read.


  • Compartmentalize by breaking up content onto multiple pages, so that one topic can be discussed per page.



Write Original Content


While "content is king," original, quality copy is the kind that will likely attract visitors to your site and draw the attention of search engines. Instead of striving to generate a large quantity of generic content, your focus should be on writing unique, information-rich copy instead. It's ok to look externally for inspiration and education, just offer your own unique perspective to the topic you're writing about to give it originality and value (and be sure to cite the original sources of any copy you do reuse).


Search engines will know if you've plagiarized copy from another source (they call it "duplicate content" and it comes with a penalty if you do it). Search engines also know if you've written poor quality content for the sake of volume. And more importantly, your visitors will be less likely to read, share, or take action on content they perceive as generic, "noisy," or redundant.


Download the most current set of Google's Search Quality Guidelines  



Be Informative and Transparent


Write copy with your customer in mind. Write as conversationally and concisely as possible, using phrases your audience is looking for. Provide all relevant information, and preemptively try to answer visitors' questions offering the solution to their problem. Gain your visitors' trust by minimizing hype and writing with honesty and transparency. Use of 3rd party endorsements or testimonials is very persuasive.



Use Complementary Images


Photos and graphics should support the copy, not detract from the ability to read it. Have a purpose for each image used within your page's text. Use of images as navigational elements on a page can help visitors drill down into a specific topic. Using infographics can reduce plain text and make your content more enjoyable to read with added visual stimulation and the ability to scan information more quickly.

To give your website the professional edge it needs to look reputable, invest in quality stock photos, or have a photographer professionally photograph your products and services. (See Stock Photo Search for royalty-free image resource.) Hire a professional graphic designer to create your logo, custom graphics, define a color palette, edit and enhance images, and help develop the visual brand of your company or organization.



Conclude with a Compelling Call-to-Action


Maximize your website's effectiveness by including a call-to-action on each page. Visitors need you to present clear options of what they can do next. You can give them an extra push by including a persuasive action they can take such as:


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