Before you hit publish – Tips to make your web copy stronger

There are a few reasons that people ignore or stop reading a post you’ve just published.

First you haven’t grabbed their attention. And then if you have it, your readers leave because your post doesn’t provide interesting or informative content.

And then your content may be just too hard to read.

So here’s a checklist for catchy, web-friendly and easy-on-the-eyes content.

Check your headline (article title)

Is your title strong enough to pique your readers’ interest so they’ll click through to read? If you are concerned about SEO – are you using one of your website keywords in your title?

Insert headings to segment your copy

To guide your readers who are scanning, add headings. Headings should contain key thoughts about the text and keywords (where possible). And headings should give your readers clues as to where you going in the post.

Break up long paragraphs

Edit your paragraphs into manageable segments on the web. I have a client who calls them eye-segments: Just enough to read without getting lost in a sea of words.

EDITING TIP: One main point per sentence, three sentences per paragraph – max. Break the old grammar rules and intersperse your paragraphs with one line of text.

Add hyperlinks to other appropriate and helpful content

Help your readers find all the valuable content you have to offer. Link to other appropriate posts or pages that are connected to the post you’re writing today. That reminds me “Is anyone reading your blog” will give you top tips to optimize your posts for search (SEO).

Add italics (some people use bold) to add emphasis

Use italics where you want to add emphasis – eyes are drawn to text that is “offset”. Not using italics may result in some of your most important point getting lost in the text.

Add an image

You can add your image to the right or left of your text. But usability studies and heating mapping studies point out that the top left hand corner is where your readers’ eyes go first. Makes sense – that’s the way we read. So generally I put images on the right of my text.

If I put it to the left, I make sure that the text wraps nicely around the image. For me, the non-techie, that means playing with the language until it fits without dropping down below the image.

Add a call to action – a CTA

When readers come to the end of the post, think about what you want them to do. This is your call to action.

A simple call to action would be to invite readers to leave a comment. To encourage your readers to engage with your content and leave a comment, think of a leading question that they can respond to.

Showing related content at the end of a post can also serve as a call to action. Related content offers your readers more content on a topic they may want more information about. To offer related content, find a related posts plugin in the WordPress Repository or turn on the related posts feature in Jetpack.

You may also want readers to learn about a product. Create a call to action that refers to the product. Add a link or a button to the landing page you want them to go to.  For example, at the end of our LearnWP posts, we have content that invites readers to learn about our workshops. This is a call to action.

Optimizing your posts gives your readers a better experience and will keep them reading. What tactics do you use to optimize your content for the web? Leave us a comment or question.

One thought on “Before you hit publish – Tips to make your web copy stronger


  1. Thanks Dawn,

    Great post! It is good to have someone like you to help those of us who long to know those little trade secrets of great text for web copy.

    JJC

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