Sunday, 28 April 2019

10 Dos and don’ts when writing for the web



Writing for the web is a skill. 


Get it right and your readers will thank you by reading and sharing your content. Google may reward you too, by giving your site a better ranking in its search results.

Get it wrong and your readers could be confused or overwhelmed. They will leave your site without reading and Google could penalise you.

Make your content count and give it a chance to shine by following these 10 dos and don’ts.


5 Things to do:

1. Break it down.

There is nothing more off-putting to a website visitor than long, dense paragraphs of text. They are difficult to read on a screen — especially a phone screen.


Keep your paragraphs short and add a full line space between them rather than just indenting the first line.

And vary the way you present your content. Use paragraphs, bullet points, lists, charts, pictures and diagrams.


2. Use relevant headings.

Use a relevant heading to introduce each section. That way your readers can skim read, or find the part they want to read more quickly.

Keeping your headings relevant to the themes of your content can also help to optimise it for a better search engine ranking.


3. Ask and answer questions.

You may have noticed that when you ask Google a question, the first result you get is an answer. This also works well on virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa.


You have more chance of ranking this way if you understand the questions your readers are likely to have and give plain, simple answers.


4. Write in plain English

Your online content should read well and make perfect sense. To achieve this, it’s best to write using plain English.


A clear writing style is easier for your human audience to understand and satisfies Google’s algorithms, which favour natural language.


5. Be consistent

The consistency of your writing style is important.


Businesses have seen their page rank drop when they have added words to their site that didn’t reflect the tone and quality of their existing content.


5 Things not to do:

1. Rely on keyword density.

If you’re not familiar with the term,
keyword density involves repeating certain keywords and phrases a certain number of times in a piece of content. Its aim is to score higher in the search ranking for that word/phrase.

It’s a less offensive version of keyword stuffing, where people would stuff those words and phrases into their content as many times as they possibly could.

Thankfully, we moved on from this a long time ago. The search engines are sophisticated enough not to rely on it any more and you don’t need to either. 

To get the best search engine results, you don’t need to force words into your content. Put your human audience first and just write naturally.


2. Use confusing layouts.

Writing for the web is very different to writing for a paper publication. You have to allow for readers using different screen sizes and scrolling within the window.


This is why using columns and randomly placed text boxes is a bad idea.

Your content should be presented in a simple, logical order, so your readers know exactly what to read next.

A single column, broken into short paragraphs and headed sections is the easiest format to read. It’s also least distracting for your reader, meaning they will stay focused on what you have to say, rather than wandering on to something else.


3. Do something unexpected.

Creating good content is like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for your readers to follow. It leads them exactly where you want them to go.


When they click on a link or call to action, they will already have a reasonable expectation of what they will find when they get there.

If you then surprise them, with something they’re not expecting to see, they may feel lost and you may lose them.

First, make sure all your links are working and going to the right pages.

Second, make sure there is a direct correlation between the link and the landing page to let your readers know they have arrived in the right place.

4. Make your content hard to read.

Your content needs to be clear and legible, but it might not be if you’ve made poor design choices.

Choose a plain font that’s easy to read and make sure it’s large enough for the screen it will be displayed on.

Place your text on a clean, plain background rather than a busy photograph, texture or pattern.

And make sure there is a good contrast between the colour of the text and the colour of the background, so the text stands out.


5. Leave out your sharing buttons.

People like to share things they find valuable. It makes them look good. And, if the content they’re sharing is yours, it makes you look good too.


Not only that, getting your content shared is a way to build valuable back links that are good for your search engine optimisation (SEO).

If you don’t include sharing buttons with your content, you could miss out.




Do you need help with writing content for the web?

I am a copywriter and content writer, based in Leicester, UK.


I have been writing websites and online content for more than 10 years.

If you need someone to write for your website, or provide regular content for your blog, why not get in touch?

You can find out more about me and how I can help you by visiting my website

Friday, 12 April 2019

How to find your copywriting niche



One of the first things I was told when I became a freelance copywriter was that I should have a niche.

Other copywriters talked about how having a niche sets you apart from your competitors and improves your earning potential. 

But how do you choose a niche that’s right for you?


What do you most enjoy?

If you’re new to your field, you shouldn’t feel pressured to find a niche straight away.


When I first started, I offered everything I had trained to do and didn’t turn anything down. This gave me a good grounding and helped me decide what I liked doing — and what I didn’t.

I chose to freelance because I wanted to work on my own terms and do things I enjoy. The services I’m offering now reflect the choices I made to help me achieve that.


Are you specialist, generalist — or a bit of both?

Specialist copywriters tend to focus on one or two specific subjects. 


Generalist copywriters write on a wider range of subjects.

Since I went freelance, I tend to be more generalist in my approach, but I also have specialist subjects from my background.


Do you prefer a subject niche or project niche?

Your niche could be your specialist subject and you might write a wide variety of materials on that specific subject.


Or you might decide to niche by project. For example, if you’re a great email marketing copywriter, you could focus on writing marketing emails, but do it for clients in a wider range of industries.


Where are the gaps in the market?

What are clients asking you for most often? 
Blog articles? SEO copy for the web? Social media posts?

Devote your time to researching, studying and practising that one thing and you could become the go-to person for anyone who wants it.


Where can you add most value?

What is your skill set? What are your strengths? How can you best help other businesses?


Playing to your strengths is a surefire way to give your services extra value and position you at the top of your game.


Final thoughts.

Finding a niche is not obligatory. You don’t have to choose one if you don’t want to. 

If you do decide to niche, choose something you can do well, something you feel invested in and — most importantly — something you enjoy.


About the author.

Jenny Lucas is a freelance copywriter and all-round wordy bird, based in Leicester, UK.

Friday, 29 March 2019

3 Tips for a perfect landing (page)



What is a landing page?

A landing page is the web page you land on when you click on a link from another web page or email.


The link could be from a Google search, another web page, a marketing email or an online advert.

The landing page could be a home page, an information page, an offer page or a product page. 

The page could be designed to give people information, convert warm leads into customers or turn products into sales.


What is a landing page not?

A landing page is not just a random page of your website. It needs to perform a specific function and fulfil a clear purpose. 



My Top 3 tips for creating an effective landing page


1. Make your link enticing
Your link should entice your reader to click by either:

  • Telling them you have exactly what they're looking for (Google search)
  • Luring them with a great and unmissable offer or discount
  • Showing them something they will want to buy or sign up for. 

Note: If your link is in a Google search, it’s your meta description that will convince people to click.

Keep a record of all the links you’ve posted and where you’ve posted them. We’ll come back to this at the end of the article*.


2.
Use good continuity

One of the first things your landing page needs to do is reassure your readers they have arrived on the right page. 

You can achieve this by making sure there is continuity between the original link and your landing page. In other words, by showing them what they should expect to see and displaying it right at the top of the page.

There are several elements that can follow through from the link to the landing page, most notably the headline and design:

  • Make the headline relevant and appropriate to the original link
  • Use matching design elements, such as colours, graphics and images
  • Incorporate trust signals, such as your logo, branding and https security status.

3. Pay attention to the page’s function
Your landing page should have a clear function.

If it’s the home page of your website, make sure it’s well-branded and starts with a sentence or two to sum up what you do, in a nutshell. Make sure your home page content corresponds with the information in the page title and meta description shown in the Google search.

***

If your landing page is a sales or offer page, it will have one clear purpose: to convince people to sign up or buy something.

In this case, remove all other distractions from the page. It doesn’t need a navigation menu, contact details, social media buttons, site badges or anything else that will divert your readers’ attention from your sales message. 

All the page needs to display is the continuity elements I mentioned in tip 2, your sales copy and your call to action.



And 3 additional tips...

1. Make sure your link goes to the right page
This sounds obvious, right?

I mean, surely no one would go to the trouble of creating a landing page then post a link to a completely different page.

Trust me, it happens. And I’ve seen it way too many times not to give it a mention here.

When you post the link, always test it before you publish it.


2. Monitor your results
If your landing page is your home page, check your bounce rate. 

A high bounce rate is a sign that people are landing on your home page, but not sticking around to look at your other pages. They might not be finding what they’re looking for, or something else might be wrong.

If your offer or sales page isn’t getting clicked on, try tweaking your advert with a different image and/or headline.

If your offer or sales page is getting visitors but those visitors are not converting into customers, you need to look at your sales copy.



3. *Tidy up
Remember my note at the end of point 1 about keeping track of the links you posted?

If you’re running an offer for a limited time, it’s a good idea to make sure your landing page can’t be accessed after the offer expires. The best way to do this is to make sure all the links to it are removed.


Need some help with your landing page?

I am a freelance copy and content writer based in Leicestershire, UK.

If you need help to create a landing page, or would like some help with an existing landing page that isn’t working, I can help.

You can learn more about more about me and find all my contact details on my website.