Checklist of the Best Copywriting Practices for 2021.
Web copy practices have changed over time based on design trends, audience preferences, and Google’s latest algorithm. But what are today’s best website copy practices? But there are some website copywriting practices that never go out of style, be it 2021, 2031, or later. Regardless of current styles, the best, most engaging website copy is always high quality and puts the audience first.
You may be asking, “what about SEO?” SEO is important, too, but a commitment to creating audience-centric, compelling content is more foolproof for SEO than trying to beat an ever-changing Google algorithm.
While some of the tips below may apply more readily to B2B businesses, nearly all of them will make your writing better, no matter who your customers are.
This simple “Best Website Copy Practices” checklist will help drive better results.
1. Respect your audience by understanding who they are and what they want.
✅ Every aspect of your copywriting—from tone to the depth of information—should make your audience feel welcome. Whether you use formal audience personas or more general means to understand your audience, the following items below will help build a critical foundation of trust and credibility with your readers.
Checklist items for audience-centric copy:
- Identify relevant, timely topics—and update information as needed.
- Write from the user’s perspective, anticipating concerns and questions.
- Use your personal experiences and be relatable.
- Use the appropriate tone (professional, casual, humorous, etc.).
- Avoid unnecessary jargon, buzzwords, and off-putting industry-speak.
- Use the active, rather than passive, voice.
- Adjust complexity based on the subject matter and audience knowledge.
- Be accurate and current proof points from trusworthy sources.
- Accurately cite quotes, data, graphs, research, etc.
- Base page length on audience attention span (generally 500-2,000 words).
- Avoid self-promotion that verges on sales language.
- Use consistent messaging and branding on each page and site-wide.
- Include alt text for images to help visually impaired visitors.
Improve “stickiness” by making information easy to find on the site.
✅ There are many tools copywriters can use to keep visitors on specific pages and on the website overall. Proper formatting can make an enormous difference in how users respond to website copy. Here are some of the key elements that can increase the amount of time spent on a page and how many pages are viewed by a visitor.
Checklist items to improve web stickiness:
- Create engaging H1 titles. Here are some techniques from SEO Pressor.
- Write realistic H1 titles that tell readers what to expect; avoid hype.
- Make your sentences short and easy to understand.
- Keep paragraphs short for better comprehension and to break up copy.
- Write H2 headers that help visitors (and Google) find what they need.
- Make sure that copy closely matches the heading it is under.
- Avoid redundancy by having each sub-section focus on a discrete idea.
- Look for good copy flow that keeps the reader moving down the page.
- Add images and/or videos that give the eyes a break and add interest.
- Use bullet points, lists, and call-outs to identify key details.
- Use boldface, italics, and color for emphasis—but don’t overdo it.
- Place keywords only in natural-sounding places; avoid keyword stuffing.
- Create short, descriptive urls that describe the content.
- Sprinkle in internal links to identify relevant information (and for SEO).
Indicate high quality website copy by paying attention to the details.
✅ Your brand’s credibility is on the line. You want to look professional. You also want to show that you care enough about your reader and your brand to keep your copy from being sloppy. The occasional typo may be unavoidable, but do everything you can to keep your copy clean.
Checklist items to nail the details:
- Proofread to eliminate typos, poor grammar, and awkward sentences.
- Use a grammar checker like Grammarly (but don’t rely on it).
- Edit with fresh eyes–ask another person to edit or review after resting.
- Edit down unnecessary words and sections as much as possible.
- Don’t overdo the adjectives.
Optimize writing for SEO, but only if it doesn’t negatively affect readers.
✅ Write primarily for humans, not search engines—but it doesn’t hurt to include search-friendly elements. While SEO can be complex, here are some basic tips to help optimize your copy, while keeping it sounding natural.
Check list items to boost web page SEO:
- Research long-tail keywords that have less competition.
- Utilize keywords in headings and text—in a sensible, natural way.
- Create titles, headings, and urls that are descriptive.
- Avoid content (such as large images) that slows page loading time.
- Avoid keyword stuffing (but still utilize synonyms and other variations).
- Make smart use of heading tags (h1, h2, h3). Here are tips from Yoast.
Boost your audience (and ranking) with best website copy practices
Consistently concentrate on your audience’s need for high-quality content, and your website will gain traction among users and search engines alike.
Even if you don’t whip out this checklist every time you write a blog post or a webpage, keep it nearby as a handy reminder of how to create copy that is meaningful to our readers and effective for our businesses.
For high-quality content that always focuses on your unique audience, contact Westebbe Marketing, a Boston-based agency specializing in high-performing original content. (617) 699-4462, firstname.lastname@example.org