Websites are designed to deliver a message, but they fail at this purpose if the content is jargoned or confusing. The secret to effective messaging via the web is clarity and consistency of tone.
You want visitors to the site to understand its importance quickly without having to ask questions. Your web audience is busy and interested in what you have to say, so don’t make them work to figure out why they should care about something.
Make it easy for them to understand by using language that falls into one of four buckets: interest, tactic, lesson and goal.
Interest-based words focus on how things can be fun, exciting or valuable. You can find books, movies, concerts and vacations that will get people excited.
Tactical words help readers move from introduction to the main points of the article or section with ease. Lessons like “know” or “learn” give viewers a chance to take action before coming back for more information.
Lessons are words that teach or explain data or concepts. They can be academic topics such as physics or chemistry, or practical issues like money management or marketing techniques. Goals include wishes, dreams, ambitions and decisions, including how to pay off student loans or create a vacation budget.
Want readers to come back? Use goals. A goal is a wish, decision or objective followed by a plan to achieve it.
With their tiny screens, users expect content filled with white spaces (empty areas in documents) and readable text.
However, much like an article written without any empty spaces, large blocks of copy are becoming less common.
Instead, most websites have moved towards an approach known as body copy, which is a term that describes how sections of content should be arranged.
Body copy is essentially un-formatted text that comes after stylized headings or tags. The headings and tags serve as cues or signs for the reader to guide them through your content.
They also provide breaks between paragraphs, as well as give life to your writing by making it appear more natural. Without these headers, your writing will seem very flat and hard to read.
The problem is that most web pages today have too many buttons, pictures, and other interactive elements removed from the page. All of this noise needs to go.
You can add back in helpful features such as background images or unique charts, but keep these changes simple so they do not distract people from reading the rest of the page.
Keep comparisons simple - don't compare two products directly against each other, just say there's one good way to do something. Limit choices - let people choose only one option, because choosing multiple options tends to make people overthink things, causing them to research more information than they already know.
Most social media users prefer that everything be simple and easy to understand. With this in mind, you will want to write all of your content using as few words as possible.
However, having longer paragraphs can help reduce scrolling time. Also, breaking up large chunks of text into smaller bullets may also help make them easier to read.
You will also want to pay more attention to the font size of the text. It should be larger than 40 pixels for reading ease and clearer. You don't need to go bigger than 50 pixels because it becomes difficult to read small text.
Headlines are what grab attention and keep it once you’ve grabbed it. Nothing is more frustrating than getting caught up in the excitement of something – watching a movie, reading a book, going to an event – and then trying to read a tiny banner ad or email link that doesn’t hold your interest.
Headlines use drama to put emphasis on content. They help set off emotional responses and motivate people to take action.
When writing headlines, you have two objectives: 1) draw people into the story you’re telling and 2) convince them that you know what they want and need.
To accomplish these goals, write your headline at the top of your article with both intent and emotion in mind.
If you were excited when you first wrote the article, that feeling will come through in the headline too. If you were afraid, angry, or disappointed, those emotions will show through as well.
You will also notice other people’s reactions change depending on who reads the headline. A personal reaction from someone might be to get upset or go running for cover.
When you tweet or share something, it’s important that your followers understand this is coming from you. Yes, the content is provided, but each person has their own style and personality when tweeting.
It’s common to use emojis or add comments pointing out something funny or cute about the experience.
These things create an air of familiarity with the reader, and makes them feel like you care enough to comment on what you’re sharing. It gives the reader a sense of comfort.
They are ways for you to express yourself in a way that feels genuine and honest. Even if you aren’t quite sure how to form words, there are many templates that can be used.
The key is to start with simple phrases such as “hey guys” or “what’s up?” and build from there. By adding in all types of expressions once you get more familiar with Twitter, you will keep your messages engaging and interesting.
This is also helpful if you want to advertise your product or service. You need to maintain these habits because people follow you to learn valuable information as well as tips and tricks.
Even if you’re not a professional photographer, you can find free stock photos for your blogs and social media platforms. As said before, images add aesthetically value to your content, so even with free pictures, you should still have a wide range of image sources.
However, finding high-quality pictures is another matter entirely. For example, Google owns Picasa, which offers both free and paid subscriptions. You can also download pictures from Facebook.
If you are looking for an easy way to enhance your photographs without investing too much time, Lightbox is a great resource that makes it simple to search through rich, interactive pictures. There are also many websites that offer custom picture edits, but this is usually because the owner has made some money off previous sales.
The soundest rule of writing is to keep your sentences short. Long phrases are hard to get through in reading, and it is even harder to get into the habit of long-term investing when you’re reading.
The longer a sentence, the more likely you are to split off a word or insert an unneeded filler item. Avoid paragraphs that seem like run-on sentences!
Keep prose short and simple, with plenty of verbs. By being provided with simpler language, you will feel encouraged to write higher quality content.
You also want to avoid using too many quotes when you author content. While these can be useful for making your points clearly, they may not be as helpful if you have to write a lot about a topic.
Lastly, try to use bullets instead of lists. This works well for any type of article, but especially blogs because people love discussions and debates.
Note how Barack Obama uses bullets in this excerpt from his speech “My Plan For A Better America”.
Although it’s easy to promote your content through Twitter by simply repeating the words you use for Twitter handles, we do not recommend this style of copywriting for several reasons.
First, tweets are often read as messages between friends and followers. They are also used as direct quotes, so including links may be distracting and take away from the message.
Second, many people prefer reading full articles rather than having to scan a tweet to see if there are any links included. Not only does this help with engagement, but original content is another way to gain authority and trustworthiness.
Third, according to Google’s webmaster guide, “Tweeple sharing” Google posts that link directly to other websites will gradually lose their ranking order over time.
Google has stated they don’t want anyone using Tweeps to share website links really just to push traffic. It can put pressure on users to buy when they might not otherwise have bought.
Even if you are not an under-writer, your customers may rely upon you to read and respond to their emails. This is even more important now that we live in a fast-paced digital world where people expect quick responses from companies.
Whether they are trying to buy something or simply ask a question, people want answers. If you do not have what they are looking for, they will assume nothing.
Furthermore, being able to reply to messages is a way of showing you care about them and understand their problem. It shows you’re willing to work with them to come up with a solution.
And lastly, it’s good customer service. Anything you can do to help someone out is always appreciated.
Respond quickly to messages, but don’t answer back right away. Letting messages pile up into tomorrow morning’s inbox is never a great look. And unlike when you are talking to one person, any unresponsiveness toward comments could hurt your image as a company.
It could also make users feel like they were not heard or understood which would be bad feedback for anyone reading those messages or comments.