Copywriting 101: How to Write For the Web

The Internet is one of the fasted growing mediums for publication currently known to mankind. Opportunities to publish blogs, articles, documents, e-books and copy for content marketing purposes are huge. Thanks to the World Wide Web, there is a place for every kind of writer, whether they are a copywriter, technical writer, creative writer, fiction writer or something in between. But do we need to write a certain way for cyber publication?

Understanding the Cyber Reader

Did you know that, according to the Nielsen Norman Group, seventy-nine percent of readers are more likely to skim over a web page versus reading it word-for-word? They look for specifics; keywords, lists, catchy headings, quotes, and graphics.

Writing for the Internet requires concise facts, organized structure, and audience engagement. Your content must be clearly and logically laid out so that readers can easily scan it. This means short, concise paragraphs, which are handy for mobile viewers on small screens, too.

Experts recommend using a combination of highlighted keywords, bulleted lists, and focused paragraphs. They also recommend using fifty percent fewer words than conventional writing and an inverted pyramid style of writing.

A Word about Style

An inverted pyramid is an upside-down triangle. This style of writing emphasizes the main point in the introductory paragraph. Focused paragraphs then serve to complete the upside-down pyramid.

Each paragraph should convey a single idea. Paragraphs should be tight and logically build on each other to expand upon the topic.

Meaningful and catchy headings should be inserted in between paragraphs. A meaningful heading is crisp. It summarizes the main points held beneath it. Surnames and words unfamiliar to your audience should be avoided here. Think of headings as the skeletal structure housing the paragraphs.

The Tone and Voice

Conventional writing was designed for the word-for-word reader—the type of reader we rarely see online. Sentences were meaty and detailed. Paragraphs turned into long blocks of text. Footnotes added references to outside sources and expanded on little details. Adverbs, adjectives, and subjective claims ran ramped.

The conventional reader was steered toward the writer’s conclusion through supportive facts laced with opinionated language. In contrast, content for Internet publication should be fifty percent less than the word count of its paper equivalent.

Less than fifty percent of web readers using a non-mobile device scroll. Readers using a mobile device don’t care to scroll far without finding something of interest. So concise content delivers more bang for the space and makes the online reader happier.

The information infused into your online content should be factual and educational. Opinionated views should be avoided. Objective and conversational language should be favored. The reader should be handed the opportunity to draw their own conclusion based on a presentation of unbiased and substantiated fact.

The Bottom Line

Our content, although well written, will be useless if we fail to tailor our writing style to the needs of our audience. In coming blogs, we’ll talk more about content creation and breakdown the different types of readers inhabiting the Internet. Don’t forget to subscribe!


Feature Image Credit: rvlsoft via 123RF Stock Photo

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