Expert Tips for Writing Landing Pages and Blogs

Photo of Woman Using Her LaptopIt’s a common assumption that anyone can write a webpage. Many small businesses design and maintain their own websites, often generating their own content in house.

However, web copy is an art. Writing the words that will attract your customers and keep them scrolling over your pages takes know-how and careful planning. Knowing how to craft your own copy, including landing pages and blog postings, can help you create content that will attract customers and deliver valuable information about your business.

Work from An Outline or Site Map

Make a list of all the different points and facts that you’d like to address on your website. Once you’ve written a complete list, organize the items on the list into categories. Contact information, directions to the business, product prices, ingredients, and product design information are all possible categories.

Once the information has been put into categories, use the categories to create an outline or site map. Doing this will give you direction as you write each landing page and will also prevent you from repeating information elsewhere on the site.

Format for Scannability

People don’t read websites. Instead, they scan webpages looking for the salient points that will enable them to buy a product, find a store, identify the hours, and so on. In fact, a typical web user will leave a webpage after only 10 or 20 seconds online. Web pages that fail to convey information in that time may lose a possible client.

With this in mind, it’s important to break down your webpage into a format that can be easily scanned for specific information.

  • Use headers. Headers act like titles, alerting users when a new topic is introduced. Big headers at the top of a page indicate the broad topic being discussed, while Header 2 and Header 3 tags indicate smaller subtopics within the text. Headers allow visitors to your website to jump down the page, hone in on the desired information, and leave quickly. Keep in mind that headers also help your website show up in web searches, which attracts more users to your website.
  • Bullet lists. Paragraphs have a way of being ignored, but bullet lists are not. Bullet lists are valued because they’re easy to read, easy to find, and often contain substantive, important information. Breaking down the most critical information on your webpage into bullet lists can draw the attention of your audience, making your website more functional.
  • Bold typeface. Using bold text is another way to call attention to important information on a page. Bold typeface is especially effective when used in conjunction with bullet lists.

Forget the Old Conventions

If you learned to type sometime before the year 2000, you were probably taught to put two spaces after a period and a serial comma after the second to last item in a list. While there’s technically nothing wrong with these conventions, they’re typically not used in copy. Using old school typing habits can turn off young audiences. Good web copy is clean, articulate, and includes only the bare minimum number of characters and signs necessary to convey the central idea. No serial commas, no extra spaces.

Break Up Your Paragraphs

Long paragraphs are hard to skim and tedious to read. Short paragraphs keep visitors to your website advancing quickly down the page, which can encourage them to stay longer and glean more information from your site. Try to limit your paragraphs to no more than five sentences unless you’re writing very technical documents, like white pages or research. After writing your copy, look for large blocks of text and insert breaks between sentences wherever necessary.

Edit, Edit, Edit

Editing is key when it comes to writing good web copy. Below are a few effective editing strategies that will help you produce error-free documents:

  • Take time away from the copy before editing. You’re much more likely to notice errors when you can look at the page with fresh eyes.
  • Have someone else edit for you. Information published on your website is too important to have errors. Have someone else look at your copy even if you’ve edited it on your own, to ensure that the text is clean.
  • Choose a format for editing that makes you feel comfortable. Some people are comfortable editing words that appear on a screen, while others do their best editing when the words appear on paper. Identify which method works for you.

Control the Length of Your Pages

Landing pages can be anywhere from 20 words to 1,000 words, depending on the content being presented. Blogs are usually slightly more standardized, with a typical blog entry falling somewhere between 300 and 800 words. Use a word counter to count the number of words that appear in your text, so you’re aware of the length of your copy. If you find yourself writing thousands of words either for blog entries or landing pages, break up your information into smaller, more digestible pieces.

Use Simple Language

Use words everyone knows, and keep your sentences short and sweet. Using simple language and stringing together ideas in short bursts will allow you to keep the attention of the broadest audience possible for the longest period of time. Bear in mind that short sentences and simple words do not have to sound unintelligent. Creating an outline and editing properly will help you string together ideas in a fluid, intelligent manner.

On a related note, avoid industry jargon. While a smattering of insider words throughout the text may impress some clients, too many unknown terms and acronyms will lose your audience.

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