Have you ever had to write a blog post about writing high-quality copy for the web? Let me tell you now – the pressure is killer. Every single word (and punctuation choice) will be up for scrutiny because, well, that’s what this is all about.

Excuse me while I hyperventilate for a few minutes.

At the end of the day, the content you include on your website will make or break it – kind of, but not quite, literally. It’s part of what helps get people to your site, and it’s largely what keeps people on your site. It’s what helps readers achieve their goals. And when they win, you win.

Everything content-y can be brought into one tl;dr version that goes a little something like this:

You should have simple words that are joined well and are designed to help your audience.

Got time for the extended version? Excellent.

let's do this

Grammar, spelling and punctuation

I swear every second ‘writing for the web’ guide I see has this right down the bottom and it makes me want to crawl under my desk and cry for a while. Nailing the basics of writing isn’t an afterthought – it’s the bricks and mortar of any piece of communication.

If you have typos, poorly structured sentences, or to paraphrase The Princess Bride, words that don’t mean what you think they mean, your message is lost. Gone. Poof. Readers are confused and laughing at you behind your back. Well, maybe not the laughing part, but if you word things incorrectly you may be losing (or even unintentionally misleading) your audience.

Not great at writing? That’s cool. No one is amazing at everything. Don’t waste your time giving it your all and hoping for the best – invest some cash into working with professional content writers who you can rely on to get the message across.

Make it accurate 

Google is pretty smart, and your audience is even smarter. If your web copy is filled to the brim with industry buzzwords but no actual substance, both will catch you out. The Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines released by Google in November 2015 really highlight best-practice writing standards – one of the main takeaways for us from this document is EAT.

Don’t get your hopes up like I did, because this has nothing to do with food and everything to do with Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

This means you need to ensure that whoever writes for your site is someone who has actual knowledge of and experience in the topics they are covering. Alternatively, you will need to provide insights for them so they can use their skills to make it sound like they know it all.

Create a clear journey for users 

Signpost

Just as each page of your site has a purpose, so does the site as a whole. Whether you’re trying to drive online sales, inform people about a cause, convince people to sign up to your monthly newsletter about semi-colons or something else entirely, pretty much every page should be part of your onsite strategy to encourage people to do that.

Whether you want them to stay on the page they’re on and complete a goal, or move on to a different page, or contact you, your copy should clearly tell readers what to do next. This will often be in the form of a call-to-action, but it can also be done using design elements.

Make it a visual experience 

Many people absorb information more effectively through visual mediums as opposed to pure text. Words are awesome, but breaking them up with pictures, videos, charts – anything that enhances your message – is great.

Other ways to make your text less like text is by using formatting to your advantage. This includes:

  • Headings
  • Paragraphs
  • Lists.

Being mobile-friendly is also important. Your short, sharp paragraphs are ready-made for mobile devices, so make sure your images aren’t holding you back. Pictures as big as Kanye’s ego may take forever to load; resizing is generally a good idea.

Reflect your brand 

What’s your brand personality? Choose words that answer this question for anyone who visits your site. Your use of language will set the entire tone and will shape how you approach your audience across every channel. Are you friendly? Funny? Conversational? Corporate? Your brand can have whatever personality you want it to, but you must be consistent with your choice.

At Search Factory, we aim to deliver high-quality content to clients across a range of niches.

Great content? Check. Tricky industries? Check. Here at Search Factory, we can do it all.  

Both of the lines above convey the same basic message, but in different tones. #sorrynotsorry for the shameless self-promotion.

Optimise

I’m going to drop some epic knowledge on you right here, so listen up.

If you’ve done all this stuff, your content is already optimised for search engines.

Search engines are getting pretty good at matching user intent and language on websites, so forget about throwing keywords in left, right and centre and just write solid, genuinely useful content.

You should have simple words that are joined well and are designed to help your audience.

And really, that’s all there is to it.