Write Website Copy for Positive UX.

Website Copy that provides positive UX keeps users on your website.

Build a solid foundation when writing website copy for positive UX.

If you work on website content, you might not think about how to write website copy for positive UX (User Experience). UX may sound to you like a back-end term that’s best left up to developers. However, that’s a faulty assumption, especially if you’ll be working with designers and developers on websites and other online projects.

In my experience, writers can do a better job of contributing to websites when they understand the basics of UX. By broadening your scope in this way, you’ll provide more value to your client or company—and maybe even lead to more substantial work that extends your portfolio, gets you promoted, or helps you land that next job.

Let’s run through the basics of planning for positive UX using copywriting techniques.

What Does it Mean to Write Website Copy that Delivers Positive UX?

First, let’s start with a general definition of UX. According to Wikipedia, “The user experience is how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service. It includes a person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.” This would include planning for clear navigation, fast loading times, and responsiveness on all types of devices.

Another way to think of UX from a copywriter’s point of view is that users have a good experience when the copy helps and motivates users to move through each page, understand the page, and move smoothly from one relevant page to another so they can quickly get the information they need.

Even if you don’t have input into the site’s design, functionality, responsiveness, and structure, writers can enhance this process by paying attention to areas including:

  • Research
  • Readability
  • Scannability
  • SEO
  • Formatting
  • High-Quality Content

Let’s look at how these can affect how you write copy for user experience.

Research Helps You Develop Copy that Results in a Positive User Experience.

High-Quality Content. Arrow aimed at bullseye target. Boston-based Westebbe Marketing

UX generally takes the lead role in researching background areas that will ultimately drive the structure, functionality, and look of the website. However, it will serve you well to do your own research, as you will need different information than the design and development team.

Some key areas to research when you write for website UX are:

How does the company want to be portrayed? Is their personality conservative, professional yet easy-going, fun, data-driven, or something else? Your copy should reflect a personality that the user will relate to and find credible.

What is the company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? How can you create copy that highlights what the company does best, its value, and why the visitors on your website should care? There may be obvious ways to include USPs, but they can also be woven subtly throughout the copy.

Who are you talking to? You’ll want to think about who you are currently talking to, as well as additional audiences you’d like to attract. Do background work on who your key audiences are, what their concerns are, and the information they want on the pages you are writing. This may vary from desktop to mobile, so determine which type of device is most common among your users.   

How does the company fit in the competitive landscape? There are different ways to compete in the market and your niche. You may offer the lowest price, the best service, or the most creative solutions. Make your best qualities shine, putting them front and center as part of your brand.

Readability Provides a Positive Experience for Website Users.

One of your main goals in planning your website for positive UX is to keep people moving down the page. The best way to do this is to make it easy and enjoyable. If it feels like a chore, they’ll click away.

Some of the key rules of thumb for assuring website readability include:

  • Write short sentences, and also keep paragraphs short (three to five sentences max).
  • Don’t use a complicated word when a simple one will do.
  • Edit without mercy, and then proof, proof, proof.
  • Avoid needless jargon that is either cliché or difficult for laypeople to understand.
  • If you’re working with a design, think about how you can highlight copy with interesting images, icons, photos, and videos or podcasts.

Related Reading: The 5 Most Important Rules to Boost Readability

Scannability Requires On-Page Organization.

Image of Eyes: To improve UX, write website copy that reflects how users scan webpages.

The major of visitors to your website will scan each page, rather than through the copy top to bottom—so plan your website accordingly. You have several main tasks when it comes to scannability. First, make it easy for them to find the information they care about. Second, get them to read content more comprehensively. Many of the tips in this area also make it easier for Google to index and serve up your pages in search results.

Some ways to improve scannability of website pages include:

  • User hierarchical heading tags, with your title as an H1 heading, main subheads as H2 headings, and sub-topics under your H2 headings as H3-6 (although I rarely go past H3).
  • Use H2 headings every two or three paragraphs.
  • Place important words closer to the left of the page, at the beginning of headlines and sentences.
  • Keep your thoughts in logical order. Use discrete paragraphs that fall logically under a relevant heading. Remove redundancy between sections.

Related Reading: How Do Users Scan Content? (And Why You Should Care)

Related Reading (NN Group): How Users Read on the Web

Support SEO When Creating UX-Focused Website Content.

Website SEO 2021

Using copywriting techniques for front-end SEO, which refers to what the user sees, enables your website pages and blog articles to get more attention from search engines.

Note that Google’s new AI-driven algorithm focuses on context—how a keyword is used in a search term—rather than merely isolated keywords. In addition, given the rise of search through voice recognition, use natural-sounding language that echoes the way a user speaks in everyday language.

Related Reading: 16 Fool-Proof Tips for Optimizing On-Page SEO

Here some copywriting tips for front-end SEO:

Keywords: Using only one search term per page will prevent Google from thinking you have redundant pages, which prevents proper indexing. When researching your keywords, look for long-tail keywords that sound like what users would say when searching on their mobile phones or speech recognition software. Then, put keywords, keyword-related terms, and synonyms in H2 subheads and the first sentence of paragraphs.

Content: Anticipate user needs and expectations on each page, then create high-value content to keep them reading, scanning, and interacting. Write to your specific audience—their demographics, expertise, function, level of decision-making, and other factors.

Meta Data: If you’re using WordPress or another CMS (content management system), write your title tags and meta descriptions to appeal to the users and clarify content for Google. Your title tag, the clickable blue link at the top of your Google snippet, should be 50-60 characters and include the page’s keyword. Your meta description, the text below the title tag, should be 155-160 characters and include the keyword early in the first sentence.

Related Reading: Understand Outbound Links—And Why You Need Them

Format Your Copy for UX with Visual Comfort.

Writing using proper formatting improves the user experience.
Chunking the article increases engagement and readability.

Correctly formatting your copy is good for readability and scanning. On the other hand, dense copy can give your reader a headache.  Open up the pages so your copy is easier on the eyes, preventing discomfort that can turn them away from the screen. The designer often takes the lead in providing plenty of soothing white space, but you can help.

Some copywriting tips for opening up the page include:

Keep sections short: “Chunking” copy into small, logical sections that flow into each other. Use frequent H2 subheads, small paragraphs, short sentences, and language free from hype and industry jargon.

Highlight Details: Use (but don’t overuse) methods to emphasize important facts and details using bullet points, numbered lists, pull quotes, and other formatting techniques to break up the page,

Optimize Font Size and Spacing: If it’s up to you, rather than a designer, choose large, easy-to-read fonts (at least 16 points), Use a family of only several fonts—perhaps one for headlines, one for body copy, and one for captions. Keep line spacing at around 130-150% as a percentage of the font size.

Related Reading: 12 Surefire Practices for Website Formatting

Let High-Quality and Value Drive Website Copy UX.

The number one thing website users want is relevant, high-quality content that is easy to find—content that provides information that will meet and exceed the user’s expectations and needs. And, as usual, what’s good for your visitors is also good for SEO.

Some ways to drive copywriting quality on websites are:

Address their concerns: Understand, anticipate, and deliver the content your users expect and need—keeping in mind the audience’s level of knowledge about your industry, products, and services. One way to do this is to think about the questions prospects and customers ask when researching, evaluating, comparing, purchasing, and retaining your services—and the answers that will move them closer to purchase. This will help you write copy that is most relevant to your prospect’s and customers’ concerns.

Stay on brand: Keep your tone and “personality” consistent with the brand. Also, use consistent messaging about your company’s unique strengths and how you provide value to your customers.

Boost your “EAT” factors: When Google raters (real humans) evaluate your pages for quality, they look at factors known as EAT: Expertise, Authority, and Trust: You can increase your EAT score with high-value “extras”, such as research studies, testimonials, case studies, and reviews. Plus you can provide outbound links and resources to sites that are highly respected in your industry.

Look professional: Keep your copy free from grammatical errors, typos, and lackluster copy. Copy with these problems shows a lack of caring; after all, if your copy is sloppy, what else don’t you pay attention to? Learn how to avoid Sloppy Copy and Content Mistakes.

Are You Ready To Plan Your Website Copy for Positive UX?

Plan to write website copy that results in a positive User Experience (UX).

Don’t let designers or marketers that UX is only the development team’s job. The copy is an integral part of the user’s experience. Using the copywriting techniques above, you’ll play a valuable role in keeping readers on each page and enhancing their experience on your website.

For high-quality content that always focuses on your audience, contact Westebbe Marketing, a Boston-based agency specializing in high-performing original content. Contact us online, call us at (617) 699-4462, or email us.

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Update! 2021 Blogging Trends and Predictions You Need to Know

What are the newest 2021 blogging trends—and why you should care!

Update! If you’re researching 2021 blogging trends, you’ve come to the right place. Given the time and effort it takes to write and maintain your blog, it only makes sense to learn what works and what doesn’t. If you’re in a blogging rut, read on to spark new ideas and get better results—page rank, click-through, and more. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be in a better position to reexamine your current program, update your strategies, and fine-tune your blogging practices.  

Continue reading “Update! 2021 Blogging Trends and Predictions You Need to Know”

5 Great Articles on 2021 SEO Trends

Featured Image: Articles on 2021 SEO Trends

Who’s got the best insights About SEO Trends in 2021? There are sooooo many articles on the subject–and who wants to search through them all? To make it easier for you, I’ve done the search myself so you don’t have to. Here are articles on 2021 SEO trends from some of the most respected online sources. Just a note that these articles are for people with a fairly general knowledge of SEO, not for deep back-end coders and technical experts.

Many of the same SEO insights are repeated in the articles below, such as the importance of mobile and voice search. It’s worth strolling through each of these articles to see what they have in common, to glean “how-to” tips, and to pick up any advice you have yet heard from the pundits.

Learn and Enjoy!

Search Engine Journal (July 16, 2020): 101 Quick & Actionable Tips to Improve Your SEO

Each tip is only 1-2 sentence, but each makes a point. Most items are not so technical and within the realm of most content writers, but some are more “back end.” Read

Optinmonster (Dec. 11, 2020): 24 Expert SEO Tips & Advice to Boost Your Traffic in 2021

This is a very readable article with some easy, hands-on tips—little things that can make a big difference. It’s written for a general audience of marketers or writers, with nothing too technical. This list would provide a good checklist to make sure you’re doing all the basics to boost user experience. Read

Ahrefs (Sept. 1, 2020): 12 Quick SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic

I love Ahrefs as a source for concrete, helpful tips. This article focuses on actionable tips that they say you can do in 15 minutes or less. This seems doubtful for all of the items (such as #5 Repurpose blog posts as videos)—especially if you’re a solo freelancer or small shop, but others sound much more doable). Not surprisingly, it also plugs some of their own tools. Read

SEMRush (Updated Dec. 23. 2020): 12 SEO Trends to Know for 2021

This is a beefy, yet easy-to-read, guide that “gives you insights into some of the most relevant and timely search engine optimization trends to anticipate for 2021.” It’s not a how-to article but provides general guidance to adjust your SEO strategy—such as how voice search can impact keyword strategy. Read

Search Engine Watch (Sept. 28, 2020): What to Expect from SEO in 2021?

This article discusses the main trends that Search Engine Watch expects “to have an impact and change the direction of SEO in the coming year.” It not a long article, but shares some interesting insights in these areas: page experience ranking, mobile-first indexing, voice search, snippets, non-textual content, and UX SEO. Read

Takeaways You Can Use

Whether you’re a content marketer, copywriter, or interactive agency manager, leveraging up-to-date advice from industry experts will keep you in the running. I hope that these articles provide you with useful take-aways for planning your 2021 SEO strategy.

For high-quality content that uses SEO techniques to your advantage, always focuses on your unique audience, contact Westebbe Marketing, a Boston-based agency specializing in high-performing original content. Contact us online, call us at (617) 699-4462, or email us.

You might also enjoy: Get These Expert Copywriting Tips for Your Audience and SEO

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Write High-Performing Blog Posts with the SMART goals.

Writer being handing a lightbulb with a dollar sign in it: Indicates being provided with the ideas that will bring success.

You’ve got a topic for your blog article, so you sit at your computer and start clicking away. Stop where you are! Do you know specifically what you want your article to achieve, as well as how you will specifically determine if it hits the mark? Knowing how to write high-performing blog posts isn’t a matter of guesswork and it isn’t random. Short-and long-term blogging success requires preparation, especially in the area of goal-setting.

We often have a vague sense of goals: I want to increase traffic, I’d love to get more social shares, or I want to improve campaign results. If these statements sound familiar, the road you take will be slow and winding. Why? They don’t specify the level you’re starting at (your benchmark), what signifies success, how you’ll measure it, how you’ll get from A to B, and how well your article performed.

The bottom line is that if you don’t lay out this information in advance, you’ll simply be swatting blindly at a pinata. On the other hand, having realistic objectives, a roadmap to success, and a way to definitively gauge progress is how you’ll break open that pinata and get all the good stuff inside. And it all starts with having actionable goals.

Children with pinata: Don't blog with a blindfold on...Plan for success
Don’t blog with a blindfold on…Plan for success

Use the SMART framework to set actionable goals.

One way to write high-performing blog posts is by using the well-known SMART goal-setting framework. This approach takes you away from loosey-goosey objectives to clear ones that can help you achieve better results in less time. Perform these planning steps and you’ll set the wheels in motion for more engaging individual blog articles and a more results-driven blogging program.

The letters of the SMART acronym stand for:

SMART goals acronymn: Specific, Measurable, Assigned, Realistic, Timelinge--Write high-performing blog posts by setting SMART goals.
Write high-performing blog posts by setting SMART goals
  • Specific: Attract high-quality leads by setting specific, narrow, well-defined article parameters rather than larger generic ones. Often, the “who, what, where, when, and why” factors will point you in the right direction.
  • Measurable/Metrics: Define the metrics and key indicators you will use to track the progress of your blog articles over time. How many blogs will you do a month? Where will you post them? How many people have subscribed to your blog? How many likes and shares do your articles get? How successful are your calls-to-action (calling you, clicking on a link, registering for a webinar)?
  • Assigned/Agreed Upon: All stakeholders (managers, clients, designers) should agree on the blogging goals, including deadlines and responsibilities. Many people define the “A” as attainable, achievable, or action-oriented—but these words can be easily confused with the “R” in SMART (see below).
  • Realistic: Set realistic goals based on your resources and how much time you can devote to blogging. Do you have creative personnel or freelancers available? Do you have the budget? Are there competing projects? Note that some organizations replace the word “realistic” with relevant, results-oriented, or reasonable.
  • Timeline: Set a specific end-date for achieving the goals. Also include a timeline for all steps in the planning, publishing, analysis, and reporting stages. Again, take into consideration your other responsibilities, available resources, and competing priorities. Alternative terms for the letter “T” are time-bound, time-frame, or trackable.

As shown above, bloggers and marketers may use alternative words for each of the five SMART terms. If you Google SMART goals, you’ll see the variations I included above and probably some others. The ones in bold are my preferences, but my advice would be to use the ones that are most relevant and helpful to you and your organization.

Get smart about B2B blog writing: Don’t Get a Failing Grade on Your Next B2B Blog Article

Write high-performing blog articles by getting specific.

Measuring cup: Reach your goals by setting specific measurements and other key elements.
Reach your goals with by setting specific measurements and other key elements.

Regardless of your business defines the acronym, the SMART framework is a great way to plan, write, and measure an article’s performance. Your SMART goals can be used to analyze an individual article or a group of articles (such as all those on a similar topic or those posted on a particular day of the week) to see which ones performed the best (and the worst). You can then re-evaluate and refine your blog writing strategies as indicated, and ultimately you may find you need to adjust your metrics if they are unrealistic or unhelpful.

You can see the difference between “dumb goals” and SMART goals in the abbreviated examples below:

DUMB Article Goals:

  • Goal 1—Subscriptions: Increase subscriptions to the blog.
  • Goal 2—Leads: Get more leads for the sales force.
  • Goal 3—Likes: Increase “Likes” on social media.
  • Goal 4—Click-Throughs: Improve click-through rates.

SMART Article Goals:

  • Goal 1—Subscriptions: Increase blog subscriptions by 5% by August 1.
  • Goal 2—Leads: Get 20 highly qualified leads each month.
  • Goal 3—Likes: Get 100 likes each month.
  • Goal 4—Click-Throughs: Increase click-through rates by 20% by October 30.

Program planning is necessary to write high-performing blog posts

Planning a blogging program: Wordclouds with blogging, Facebook marketing, and social media themes.
Plan all the specifics that will be needed to carry out your blogging program successfully.

The SMART goals are vital, but they mean nothing if there’s not a process to get there. While the end goals above are specific, they don’t include the ongoing programmatic processes and tasks needed to reach these goals smoothly and effectively—from week to week and from month to month. Some of the basics include:

  • How will article topics be decided and how frequently will you post? Generally, this will call for an editorial calendar.
  • Who will be writing (and approving) each blog before posting?
  • Who is responsible for promoting it on social media, company e-newsletters, and other channels—and who will handle social media comments?
  • Do you have an approved budget for any necessary freelance writers, graphic designers, SEO experts, or other consultants?
  • What will your evaluation process look like?

Unpack complex, long-term program elements.

Some of the questions above may need to be further broken down in the program planning stage. Just one example is in the “Measurements” in SMART. You’ll need to nail down all the issues related to analytics, such as:

  • Is your analytics program capable of giving you the data you need to evaluate success?
  • What will reporting look like?
  • Who is responsible for analyzing and reporting results?
  • How often will you receive results, and who will they be shared with?
  • How will you plan for refinements in the program?

Google Analytics is one of the many great tools for measuring website traffic and performance. This tutorial gives step-by-step tips you can use to measure your blogging program’s performance.

Don’t forget SMART goals to write high-performing articles.

If you don’t know where you currently are, have only a vague destination, and have no map or GPS, you’re likely to end up wandering around in the dark. Instead, leverage your writer’s hard work and make your entire team more effective by set SMART goals. Once you’re set up, your writer will be able to craft articles that meet your larger marketing goals. For help writing high-quality, insightful blog articles, contact Boston-based Westebbe Marketing.