Tips and Tricks for Writing the Best Web Copy
With so much happening in the world people are checking their local government websites more than ever, looking for information. That is why it is so important for government organizations to provide their staff and residents with easy-to-manage, user-friendly websites. A well-designed website is only half the battle; websites also need good copy. Government websites need to provide clear, organized, and informative content, that’s why the GovUnity team has compiled this list of copywriting tips and tricks.
7 Copywriting Tips & Tricks
While it may sound easy to write your own copy for your website, there is a lot more to it than you may think. Below are several things to consider when trying to develop good copy for your website.
Keep User Experience (UX) In Mind
Just as your website needs to be designed to optimize user experience, so does your content. When writing copy for your website, think about what questions users are going to ask, and write/organize your copy to answer those questions. If you’re not sure what users expect, work with a professional to do some research and find a good starting place.
Follow the Inverted Pyramid Model
In journalism writing generally follows the “inverted pyramid” model. This metaphor illustrates the way information should be structured in copy. This model is the best way to present website user with news, like changes in policy or in staff, et cetera.
In this model, the most important information that draws the reader in and answers the questions who, what, when, where, how, and why comes first. After that, other important details that more interested readers may want is provided. Lastly any other general information that may benefit readers is given.
One of the helpful things about the inverted pyramid model is that it allows you discern what information is most important. This helps you to cut out all unnecessary information, and keep things short and sweet. We’ve all heard the statistics about short attention spans. By being concise, you help improve user’s ability to find what they are looking for faster.
Create Visual Interest
Use images, graphic, videos, and more to provide visual reinforcement of your content. This helps keep things interesting for your audience. Just make sure whatever your using actually fits with the content, and works to reinforce the text on your page.
Whenever your sharing new information on your website, make sure to provide as many relevant links as possible. Yes, this may include linking to your own website, but it also includes linking to relevant outside sources. If you reference a document, policy, or anything else your reader may want to know more about, provide a link to it. Don’t make them go searching for it, because they probably won’t.
Use Grammar To Your Advantage
Grammar plays an important role in making copy interesting and easy to read. When writing web copy, it is helpful to be aware of what pronouns and voice your using. Personal pronouns like “you” to address your audience, and “we” to reference your organization helps create cleaner sentences. It also makes your content more approachable.
Using the active voice is another way to make your content less stuffy to the reader. In the active voice the subject of the sentence performs the actions of the verb. For example, passive voice says “staff will be in the office at these times” but active voice says, “staff are in the office at these times.”
Make It Accessible
Accessibility is vital for government websites. Just as buildings need to comply with ADA standards to make their buildings accessible to all, so do websites. Below is a short list from W3C Website Accessibility Initiative of things to keep in mind when writing accessible web copy.
- Create Interesting and Informative Page Titles
- Use Meaningful Headings That Provide Structure
- Write Meaningful Link Text
- Write Helpful Text Alternatives for Relevant Images
- Write Clearly and Concisely
For more detail checkout these guidelines for making web content accessible. If you would like to evaluate how accessible your website is GovUnity’s certified excerpts offer a free website assessment.
There are so many details that go into making your website the best it can be. From design to copy and everything in-between GovUnity is here to help. Contact us to get started today.