The internet remains one of the best places to conduct business. Websites not only attract new customers but also give you the chance to sell to people directly, making website writing a powerful sales tool.
Below, we explain how to write for the web like a professional. We’ll discuss how website-content writing differs from other writing and share a list of practical, hands-on ways to improve your online copywriting.
What is website writing?
The term “website writing” encompasses many different types of writing.
The first type is website copywriting—the text that appears on a web page. Website copy is instrumental in guiding new visitors to a site: It explains who you are, what your business does, and even the advantages of doing business together.
Next are online articles and blogs, known as content marketing. Although it’s not necessary to include online articles on your personal or company website, they are effective for user engagement and SEO, both of which can attract more visitors to your site.
Then you have marketing copywriting, which is more directly sales-oriented. These include product descriptions for ecommerce, explanations of your services, and other sales pitches. Pop-up ads would fall in here, too, if you use them.
Last, you have other information like legal disclaimers, copyrights, employee bios, terms of service, etc. This kind of website writing is not too difficult to master—it’s not necessarily the most fun type of website writing, but someone has to do it.
How website-content writing is different from other writing
Shakespeare can make people cry with his writing, but could he sell a smart refrigerator to a stranger in Wisconsin? Website-content writing has very different rules than other forms of writing do, so be mindful of these areas when writing for the web.
SEO is the strategic use of keywords to promote your pages on search engines like Google. The higher your listing appears in search results, the more visitors your site gets, so the goal of most website writing is to impress those search algorithms and earn a high-ranking spot.
Think of SEO as lead generation. The more people on your website, the more likely someone will buy something, or “convert.” That’s why website writing shouldn’t just cater to readers but also to search algorithms.
Online calls to action
In direct communication, you can use a “closer” when it’s time to make a sale. With website writing, the closer is instead a call to action (CTA), a link to where you want your visitors to go, such as a checkout page.
CTAs often use suggestive language such as “buy one now” or “sign up here.” Unlike with in-person sales, you can’t choose the perfect time to close with website writing. That’s why it’s best to use a few well-placed CTAs on each page to hedge your bets.
“Share” factor on social media
If you’re using content marketing with your website, getting readers to share your content on social media is free publicity. With that in mind, choose topics that do well socially with your type of audience.
Similarly, pay attention to the phrasing of your titles. We don’t recommend clickbait titles, but you can spruce up the wording of any title to make it more alluring in social feeds.
Written to be scanned
Finally, the biggest difference between website writing and other writing is that people don’t fully read website writing, at least not every word. Most users will scan a web page or an article first for the information relevant to them, often skipping entire paragraphs or sections.
Good website-content writing accommodates the “scanners” by giving them a clear map of where topics are. If you want the visitor to read every word from start to finish, your writing has to make a strong impression.
How to write for the web: 7 tips
1 Place SEO keywords strategically
Before you begin website writing, conduct SEO keyword research to know which words your audience uses with online searches. Then place those keywords in all the right places. You should use them multiple times—but don’t overdo it.
For example, keywords placed in titles and headings are more effective for SEO than keywords placed in body text. URL slugs, meta descriptions, and image alt text are likewise influential. SEO writing is a bit complicated, so we can’t explain everything here; if you’re looking for details, check out our guide on content writing.
2 Add at least one strong CTA
Each page should include at least one strong CTA that guides your visitors to the next stage of the sales funnel or website experience. Depending on your website goals, audience, and type of business, you may want to consider using multiple CTAs on the same page—just to give readers more than one opportunity to click.
3 Use headings and subheadings
Headings and subheadings are crucial in website-content writing for two reasons. First, they break up and categorize information for scanners who are looking for something particular. Second, the headings themselves are great for SEO and are a perfect place to include keywords. Think strategically during the outline phase to create opportunities to use keywords in headings.
4 Break up long paragraphs and blocks of text
Long blocks of text can seem oppressive to readers and are especially risky in online writing, where distractions are just a click away. Make your website writing more visually appealing by breaking up long sections of text.
Multimedia visuals and graphics work well for this and add some decoration to otherwise text-heavy pages. Also look for opportunities to use bulleted lists, which both break up text and appeal to scanners.
5 Include internal links
Links are integral to website writing—and not just for CTAs. Internal links to other pages on your website, such as other content or pages about specific features or products, do more than just guide visitors there. They also enhance SEO.
Search algorithms pay attention to internal links and use them to evaluate how popular or useful a page is. Go the extra mile by using SEO keywords in your anchor text, the words embedded with the link.
6 Avoid jargon
When writing a business website, it may seem natural to use the words used in that particular industry. However, keep in mind that not everyone is familiar with your industry and knows that language, especially if your authority is part of your service. Instead, use plain, easily accessible language and learn ways to avoid jargon.
7 Follow writing fundamentals
Last but not least, website writing is still writing. The same tricks and techniques used in other mediums also work on websites. That includes writing fundamentals like using active voice rather than passive voice, planning word choice that appeals to your unique audience, and cutting unnecessary words for conciseness. If you want to brush up on the basics of good writing, read about how to improve your writing skills.
Website writing FAQs
What is website writing?
The term “website writing” encompasses many different types of writing, such as copywriting, articles for content marketing, and other marketing materials like product descriptions or ads. Website writing also involves legal disclaimers, terms of services, and other mandatory information.
How is website-content writing different from other writing?
Website writing has goals beyond just entertaining readers. Namely, website writing incorporates SEO to get featured higher in search results and consequently attract more visitors. Marketers also use website writing for sales strategies, not to mention free publicity through social media shares.
How do you write for the web?
Website writing should cater to people who scan articles rather than to readers who follow every word. There are plenty of unique tips for enhancing SEO, such as using keywords in headings, but in general the same tips for good writing in all mediums also apply in website writing.