How do visitors read the text on a website? The answer: They don’t! You may have heard this statement before when you have dealt with the topic of content creation. And you may have secretly thought: “Great, then I don’t have to bother writing good texts for my website!”
But well, as is usually the case in life, the same applies here: It’s not that simple, because although the sentence above is actually based on studies, there are ways and means to persuade our visitors to read and stay on our website. I want to show you how this works using a few tips and a few simple steps.
Before we really get started: do you know the famous “fear of a blank sheet”? I know her pretty well. She regularly tempts me to either clean the whole apartment immediately – or to write a lot on paper very quickly, just so that the blank sheet of paper is no longer blank.
Of course, the second option tends to be more effective. Because even if it’s not a pretty text, I have something to work with. My personal tip is therefore to first write down your thoughts on your topic. Even without paying much attention to the writing style.
Whether you’re looking at a blank slate or a document crammed with cluttered ideas, the first step in creating your web copy is to answer an important question. It is: What do you want to achieve with your text?
Do you want to inform your visitors about something, arouse their interest, or simply entertain them? It is important to ask yourself this question beforehand. Because: The answer is the basis for what content you actually include in your text and how you prepare it. You can then continue with the following steps.
Online readers are mostly scanners: they scan titles, graphics, information boxes, and other elements of a website. To make it easy for them, we should tailor our writing for the web to their needs. This includes that every text shows a meaningful structure at first glance. The following three points will help you:
1) Answer the five W questions
Maybe you remember the five W-questions from school: who, what, when, where, why? You can also use them to ensure that nothing crucial is missing when writing for the web. Of course, not every text has to and cannot answer all five – such as a shorter product text.
2) Name the most important things first
Next, you sort your content. Basically, the following applies: At the beginning of the text, there are the core statements, then further information follows, and at the end, additional details – the information content of the text should continue to decrease.
3) Dedicate a paragraph to each thought
Since Internet users are mostly scanners, online texts must be immediately understandable. Therefore write short paragraphs. The rule of thumb is: One paragraph per thought.
You can also emphasize very important statements a little more, for example with quotes or infoboxes. Only really important things should be highlighted. If you use too many different elements, the highlights will miss their target and the text will become more cluttered than before.
Clear case: The headline of a text should above all arouse interest so that the visitor starts reading at all. Depending on the target group and intention, you can either formulate your headline to be informative or to arouse curiosity. But be careful: Don’t make any promises in the headline that the text isn’t about at all – otherwise, you’ll only make for disappointed readers.
The header of your text is often identical to the teaser found on the homepage of websites and blogs. In it, you should briefly outline what the article is about and what specific benefits the reader can expect.
Similar to the headline, you also have a choice here: a closed or informational introduction summarizes the core of the text. An open-ended title or cliffhanger intentionally leaves questions unanswered to encourage readers to click through.
To make it as easy as possible for your readers (remember, you’re dealing with scanners), you add subheadings to the paragraphs of your text. These should reflect the core information from the following section. Subheadings always offer new entry points into the text. And they are a graphic loosening.
Now it’s time to fine-tune your text. Always remember: You write for people like you and me. In most cases, your visitors are neither scientists nor German teachers, but people who have the same need when reading as you do when you are on other pages: They want to quickly understand what it is about and how you can help them with your offer can. Always keep that in mind and there is very little that can go wrong.
First of all, a few basic questions need to be clarified: Do you want to use your first or first name with your readers? Do you write more formally or colloquially? Personal (I/we) or distant (the company)? The tonality once chosen should be retained throughout.
Basically, the same rules apply to writing online as to any newspaper article. I have summarized a few important points for you:
You’re done (of course not with your nerves, but with your text)? Then ask another person to read the texts again. Every now and then, spelling mistakes, repetitions, or convoluted sentences slip into the text – they should be eliminated with the four-eye control before publication.
To round off the text, you can take up the question from the teaser or opening credits again at the end and summarize the most important content briefly and concisely. At the very end, it’s great to give the reader a call to action – a so-called call-to-action (CTA).
The call to action is a very central part of texts and the entire “user experience” (UX) of a website on the Internet. It is often the crucial aspect when it comes to your visitor taking the crucial next step. A very classic CTA, for example, is a button with the inscription “Buy now” in an online shop. You can also encourage the reader to comment on your blog post or share the text.
Well, did you feel like creative writing? Or at least took a few suggestions with you to subject your texts to a critical check again? So that you can use everything easily, I have put together the central points for you again:
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