What’s This Blog About?

Are you good at what you do?

As a copywriter and journalist, I am regularly asked what makes a “good writer”. You’d think the answer would be blindingly obvious, wouldn’t you? However, it’s actually incredibly difficult to define what makes a writer “good”. Why? Well, the main reason is that each individual reader has his or her own personal opinion on what actually constitutes good writing.

For some, good writing is purely about conveying information in a way that they can easily understand. For others, good writing means creating copy that engages buyers and persuades them to invest in products or services. And for many of us, good writing means entertaining readers and taking them on a fictional journey to another place or time or universe. In short, good writing comes in as many different forms as there are briefs and genres. It is thus impossible to slap a one-size-fits-all definition on the term “good writer”.

Over the coming months, this blog will be looking at numerous writing-related issues, ranging from common grammatical errors which we can all make at times (hopefully some of us less frequently than others!) to examples of inspired copywriting, to news stories that touch on anything to do with language.

In the case of this first post, I’m going to look at copywriting for websites, which brings us back to that original question… what makes good web copy?

Let’s start with the basics that apply to all website copy. It should be:

  • Accurate and grammatically correct, with no typos or missing words.
  • Written with the reader in mind, i.e. informative and relevant to his/her interests.
  • Fit for purpose, i.e. convey the intended message (plus a call to action, if required).
  • Laid out in such as way that it can be read quickly and easily (both by the search engines and by visitors to your site), e.g. small, chunks of scannable text.

If you’re planning a new website or want to revise the copy on your existing site, take time to plan the pages carefully. Give careful thought to what search terms people searching for your product or service would be likely to submit to the search engines, then integrate those terms subtly into your web copy, but without overdoing it (the last thing you want is to fall foul of any Penguin algorithm changes!).

Last but not least, use your common sense. Think what sort of copy would make you decide to stay on a website (for example, copy that’s relevant, easy to digest and interesting to your business) and what sort of copy would make you dive straight for that little cross in the top right-hand corner. [OK, you can go there now – I’ve finished!]