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Swift 6: Ways to improve your website copy

By Nick Leech - November 9, 2016

In this Swift 6, I’ll be taking you through ways to improve your website copy. What you say on your website is vital, as it can be your first and only chance to grab a potential customer’s attention.

As always, if you prefer to read a copy of my script you can find it below the video.

Hello and welcome to another 123-Reg Swift6. This week I will be talking about 6 ways you can make your website copy more engaging.

First off, and before you even get started writing, you need to understand who your audience is. It’s important to think about who is on your website, why they are visiting and what they expect to see.

Try answering the following questions.

1. What type of person is interested in my products? What type of job they have? What interests them?

2. What needs to do they have, and how do my products address those needs?

These will help you draw up a list of questions your visitors will themselves be asking when they visit your website. If you know what questions they’re asking, you’ll know what your copy should be answering.

And more importantly, you’ll get a good idea of the right tone of voice for your audience. If you’re selling sports equipment to aspiring athletes you’ll need very different language than promoting gardening tools to older people.

Consider creating a style guide that sets out how you talk to your visitors. It helps you stick to the rules and keeps your copy consistent across pages.

Second, understand your copy objective. What I mean by this is: what action do you want your visitor to take having read your copy. Do you want them to click ‘buy now’ or do you want them to feel warm about your brand.

There’s a couple of questions you can ask to ensure your copy has a clear objective.

1. Can first time visitors easily understand what your copy is all about?

2. Do first time visitors know what step you’re asking them to take next

Consider the objective for each piece of copy and keep it in mind when writing. Each piece of copy on your website should guide visitors towards a specific action you want them to take.

Third: Write briefly. I can’t emphasise this enough. People don’t read your website the same way they do books, magazines and newspapers. They haven’t got much time. They really want to go and check out Facebook.

So keep your copy concise. Having written a piece, edit every single sentence to make sure that only the essential remains.

Aside from being brief when conveying meaning, make sure your sentences don’t drag.

Make sure you use short sentences too. Cut out any unnecessary padding. Your readers are starved of time, so give meaning quickly.

There’s a simple formula to follow to make sure you’re as brief as possible.

-Use no more than 25 words in a sentence. And no more than 3 sentences in a paragraph.

Fourth: write in the active, rather than the passive voice.

What I mean by this is: don’t let your readers only understand the meaning of your sentence by reading all the way to the end of the sentence.

Look at the difference between the cat sat on the mat – the active voice.


The mat was sat on by the Cat – the passive voice.

With this version I only find out the key thing – that it’s the cat that’s sitting on the mat, until I’ve got right to the end of the longer sentence.

Make sure you write as you talk – we almost always talk in the active voice. So read your copy out loud and make sure its follows the rhythm and pattern of something you might say to someone face to face.

Fifth: break up your text with headlines, bullet points and quotes. These format your text to make them easy to read.

Headings highlight key points that people can absorb at a glance.

Bullet points are a visual anchor that skimmers can jump straight to, in order to get the key points of your piece.

And quotes break up the rhythm and create new interest in the copy.

And 6th, this is a trick to make sure you’ve followed all of the other advice in this video. Try a free tool called the Hemingway app.

Aside from being a great writer, Earnest Hemingway is famous for brevity. He focused on delivering meaning in as few words possible.

The Hemingway app does the same thing for your copy. It highlights long, complex sentences in your text that are hard to read. It shows you unnecessary adverbs. It shows you simpler ways to say the same thing. And it calls out the passive voice.

Use the app to work out what is essential to what you’re saying, and to cut what isn’t.

And that was “6 ways you can make your website copy more engaging “. I’ll See you next time.