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The best way to standout from the competion!

20 steps to great web text

If you want to write great web text you need to think differently from writing for print media. The text should be shorter, more precise and the most important information must come first. We have put together a complete guide on how to write the best content for your website.

Plan!

Have a plan and a purpose for the text before you start writing.

Write!

Use clear language and always keep the reader in mind.

Edit!

Proof reading ensures that the text delivers what you promise – everytime!

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Step 1:

What is the purpose of the text?

What are your business objectives?

Your text must support at least one business goal, it must sell your products and services and attract new visitors to your site.

Before you determine the subject and unique angle on the subject matter, it’s important to be clear about the purpose of the text. If you’re writing about a product, the purpose is obviously to sell the product. If you’re writing an article the goal also helps you decide on the closing call-to-action.

How well do you know your audience?

The target audience is not just about demographic data such as age group, income and postcode. Interests and other factors also play an important role.

Of course it’s important to know the age group and gender of the target audience for the copy. But it’s even more important to know about other factors such as their interests, the movies and TV shows they watch, the websites they visit and so on. Use this as a starting point to ensure that the target audience is familiar with the references you use in your copy.

Step 2:

Who is the audience?

Step 3:

What’s in it for the reader?

What will readers get from the text?

What benefits will readers get from the text? What aha-moments will it give them and how will they be wiser after reding it?

The goal for the text will give you an indication of what people should get out of it. If there is no benefit they will gain nothing, so why should they bother reading it?  Be sure to highlight the advantages in the headline and opening.

Why should they be interested in the text?

If the reader cannot clearly see the relevance for them, you’ll never get them to read the text. So make it clear to them why it is relevant.

You can entice the reader as much as you want to if the text does not have a clear relevance to them. The relevance often comes from what the reader dreams about or fear the most to loose. Highlight that in the heading and the introduction. Then you will have them hanging around for the whole page.

Step 4:

Why should the reader be concerned?

Step 5:

What type of text are you writing?

Each type of text has its own strategy

There’s a big difference if you’re writing a producto text, a category text or text about other content on the website. 

Each type of text has its own structure and strategy. Product texts must articulate the product’s benefits and get the reader to imagine how it would be to own the product. Category page text should provide an overview of the product range and give the reader advise on how to choose the right product. The one common thing on all pages is to to finish with a clear call-to-action.

Connect with your reader with relevant examples!

To make your text more relevant, it’s important to be able to present interesting information and good examples that readers will relate to.

In order to create good and relevant examples, you need to know your target audience and their needs, interests and desires. Go in search of interesting information and examples that readers are familiar with and can relate to from their everyday lives. Describe their problems and challenges in a way that they will recognise and give them a solution that makes them realise how brilliant you and your company are.

Step 6:

Collect interesting information and build good examples

Step 7:

Keyword analysis

How will readers find the text?

Keyword analysis is a modern marketing technique. It reveals something about the words your target audience uses when researching the subject you’re writing about.

Therefore it’s important to makesure the text goes straight for the words the target audience uses, or nobody will ever find your text. At the same time keywords, and especially the so-callled long tails reveal a lot about the type of questions your potential readers have on the subject. So keyword analysis is an important step in your preparations when thinking about exactly how to formulate your text.

Start with the most important things first!

?????, start with first things first and make sure that the text is as easy to skim read as possible.

Use the journalistic inverted pyramid when you layout your text. Start with the news first – the most important message – and then elaborate on the details and finish with the background knowledge. Write the text so that the message can be read from the headline and subheads alone. Also use bulleted lists and split the text into many short paragraphs.

Step 8:

Plan the structure

Step 9:

The headline must grab the reader’s attention

Short, specific, unique and important!

Make sure the headline tells readers what they’ll get out of the article and why they should read it.

A good headline is useful for the reader becuase it tells them the benefit and why it’s important to read the text. At the same time, the headline must be short, concise and really hit the bullseye. It’s harder than you think and the headline you start out with is seldom the one you end up using.

The intro covers the key points of the text!

The intro must ensure that the reader gets the message and important points even if they don’t read the rest – and it should encourage them to read on!

The intro is displayed in bold just below the headline in print media. It provides the whole story, even if you don’t read the rest. Use intros in the same way on your website. Give the conclusion and the key points. If you write catchy stuff and ensure readers get your point they are more likely to continue reading.

Step 10:

The intro should persaude the reader

Step 11

Use many subheadings

Avoid text that becomes a long stream of blah, blah, blah.

Subheadings give the reader an overview!

Break the text up with plenty of subheadings. It makes it easier to read or skim.

Each subheading is a stepping stone that the reader can read to and then take a break. Layout your text into sections using subheadings and body text. Divide the copy between subheadings into several short paragraphs – not just a big lump of text.

Aim for always having less than 300 words between each subheading – in fact much less!

Learn to love the enter key!

Make text easier to skim by using many short paragraphs. Each paragraph should make a single point and have a maximum of 3-4 short sentences.

The shorter the section, the clearer the text. Even complex content can be made more readable by dividing it into many short paragraphs.

Structure each section using the journalistic inverted pyramid. The first section contains the main facts and the rest elaborate on the details and arguments.

Conclude each section with a single sentence.

Step 12:

Short paragraphs with short sentences

Step 13:

Short sentences with short words

Keep every sentence within 20 words!

Keep sentences short. Avoid using nested phrases, long subordinate clauses or the complex sentence structures – and learn how to use the dash instead of nested sentences.

The shorter your sentences, the easier it is to understand your text. Construct sentences that build on each other and build logical chains of thought and arguments.

Avoid writing sentences with accentuated endings. Put the most important point in the sentence first and elaborate with the supporting detail in the rest of the sentence.

Use active, action oriented language with “you”. Avoid passive sentence constructions using the third person with “one” or no pronouns.

Avoid marketing buzzwords and fluffy wording!

Always make sure that the wording is clear. Avoid words like “generally”, “general” or “often”, unless there really is ambiguity about it – and avoid buzzwords such as “deep dive”.

If people feel that you are trying to sell them something the text loses credibility and therefore the interest of the reader.

Avoid long words or technical terms that are not well known to your audience – or make sure to explain their meaning the first time you use them . Otherwise your readers will feel like you’re talking down to them.

Also remember correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Step 14:

Trim text

Step 15:

Use bullet points

Use bulleted lists instead of lots of commas!

Bullets are much easier to grasp and skim than long sentences with lots of commas. At the same time they help break up the text and attract attention.

Bulleted lists are popular on the web because they are easier to read. In fact, studies of German search metrics show that the pages that rank highest in Google search results often have more bullet points than lower ranked pages..

Therefore, you should always choose to use bullet points rather than comma separated lists when writing online texts. It’s also a good idea to convert complex sentences or instructions into bulleted or numbered lists.

Grab your reader’s attention and draw them in with pull quotes!

Highlight the main points in your text by pulling them out and quoting in a larger font size or different typeface.

Format excerpts in a way which makes them stand out from the rest of the text like an image by framing within rules or placing between two columns.

When laying out, do not place close to where the excerpt appears in your text as this will distract and disorient the reader. Think of them as teasers that act as visual sign-posts and raise interest in your text.

Step 16:

Use pull quotes and excerpts

Faktor #17:

Build strategic links

Use strategic internal links and don’t forget about external links!

Internal links are used to keep your readers. External links are used to support the text’s credibility. Use them strategically throughout the text.

Use internal links to refer readers to other relevant pages on your website. Always send them to the most relevant content so they spend more time on your site.

Use external links to other credible sites to prove to your readers (and Google) that you have done thorough research and built your knowledge on credible sources.

Never leave readers hovering in the air!

Have a plan for what you want readers to do and finish the text with a clear call-to-action that sends them in the desired direction.

Always make sure to finish the text by sending the reader forward in a new direction. If it’s a product text, they should be encouraged to buy the product. If it’s a category text, encourage them to explore the products in the category.

If you’re writing an article, ask them to sign up to your e-mail list or contact you to learn more – or send them in the direction of other relevant pages on the site, so they stay around for a bit longer.

Step 18:

Finish with a call-to-action

Step 19:

Find great images!

– And write long visual texts that capture the reader.

A picture speaks 1000 words, and the right image can capture the reader more easily than even the most engaging text.

Find images that support the mood you want the text to set or illustrate what the text is about. You can also choose an image that gives a humorous touch to your message.

Also remember to write good Alt-texts. Google uses them to index the image with. Use the right keywords. Images can generate lots of traffic from image searches.

Make sure to give the picture a description .  This helps make your site more accessible for the visually impaired when using screen-reading software.

Does the text live up to what you promised the reader?

Never publish anything you have not read through at least once more after writing it. Be critical and read the text from the view of the target audience. Does it answer their questions and does it provide usefull information?

You want your text to be capture the readers attention but for the right reasons! Good text is like a pair of glasses. You only notice them if they are greasy.

Bad spelling, grammar and punctuation – or unclear, tangled up texts will annoy you readers and may put them off altogether.

Cut long words, long sentences and long paragraphs. Can you find a shorter word, divide the sentence up or split a section into two parts? Do it!

Have a doubt about a sentence structure? Then read it out loud to yourself!

Step 20:

Proofread your texts

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