how to write concise web copy

If you’re like most people, your writing skills (and, therefore, your copywriting skills) may be based largely on what you learned in your high school English class. As a result, you may be used to writing poetic sentences packed with complex words (the kind that helped you fill the required 8 pages for your essay on Macbeth).

But there’s a problem with this kind of writing. Although it may sound great, it’s wordy, dense, and hard to digest. As a result, it may be the way your teacher encouraged you to write at the time. But it’s not the best way to write web copy—the copy that you use for your website, blog, landing pages, and marketing emails. Instead, when you write for an online audience, your goal is to write clear, concise copy that’s easy on the eyes and even easier on the brain.

Why?

People read web copy differently from how they read English essays. They’re also bombarded with much more information on the Internet and in their inboxes today than they were 20 years ago. So if you want to capture your audience’s attention and make sure they catch your key messages, it’s important to keep your copy clear and concise.

How exactly do you do this? Keep reading below for my favourite tips on how to write clear, concise web copy.

 

 

Want a website, landing page, blog post, or email that converts?
Use my copy planning worksheet to craft copy that boosts your subscribers, sales, and growth.

1. Know your audience

When writing clear, concise web copy, it’s important to understand your audience. After all, if you don’t know who your audience is, it’ll be hard to know what specific points you need to mention on your website or landing page so that you can get straight to the point.

Before you write any web copy, think about the characteristics that define your audience. For example, how old are members of your audience? Where do they live? And what are their interests?

Knowing these characteristics will help you identify the points that are most important to convey to your audience when trying to get them to sign up for your email list, enroll in your webinar, or buy your product.

Related: 8 key questions to ask yourself before you write web copy

Example: This blog post on makeup.com was written specifically for the blog’s audience: young women.

 

 

concise web copy

 

2. Keep it short and simple

Your audience is just as busy as you are. So instead of writing an essay on your next landing page, write concise web copy by keeping your text short and simple.

How do you do this? Communicate your key points using the fewest number of words and sentences possible. And be sure to use the simplest words you can use without deviating from your brand voice or compromising the meaning of your copy.

Don’t try to showcase your SAT-level vocabulary by using obscure words and complex sentences. After all, most of you aren’t writing for a high school teacher or university professor anymore. Instead you’re writing for a broader audience, and some members of it may not have a full high school education. Make your website or blog accessible to them by using clear, concise copy.

When you keep your copy short and simple, you’ll also make it easy for members of your audience to consume your copy quickly and easily. This makes them more likely to read the majority of the copy on your landing page, website, or blog post instead of giving up early on because your copy seems too long and intimidating. And if you manage to keep people on your copy longer, you’ll have a better shot at converting them.

Example: See how these headlines on Girlboss are short and easy to read.

 

 

concise web copy

 

 

3. Don’t get too technical

Your website or blog probably attracts people who aren’t as familiar with your niche as others are. As a result, some members of your audience may not understand all of the jargon you would typically use when talking to an industry expert. (Remember the first time you encountered the term “click-through rate”?)

To write concise web copy that’s accessible to your entire audience, avoid excessive niche jargon, explain key terms, and spell out common abbreviations.

If it’s appropriate for the type of copy you’re writing, it may also be helpful to link to credible, external sites. This is a great strategy for directing your audience to places where they can find more information about relevant topics.

 

 

Want a website, landing page, blog post, or email that converts?
Use my copy planning worksheet to craft copy that boosts your subscribers, sales, and growth.

Send me the worksheet

 

 

4. Make it scannable

Most people read novels from beginning to end. But this isn’t how they read web copy. Instead, people tend to scan the copy on websites, blogs, landing pages, and emails. If something interesting catches their eye, they’ll slow down to read the copy in more detail.

Because your audience will primarily scan your copy, it’s important to make your copy scannable. In other words, you want to write concise web copy that’s easy for people to digest even if they’re jumping around on a page instead of reading it word for word. This involves using bullets or numbered lists, short paragraphs, and bold or italic text.

Scannable copy also contains several subsections with salient subheadings. This makes it easy for people to find information on a particular subtopic on your landing page, webpage, or blog post. Remember that if your scanners can find the keywords and general topics they’re looking for in your concise web copy, they’ll be more likely to spend time actually reading it.

Related: How to write scannable blog posts people actually read + free checklist

Example: See how Problogger uses subheadings, bullets, and bold text to make the copy on this page scannable.

 

concise web copy

 

5. Place the most important information at the top

Most members of your audience won’t stay on your website, blog, or landing page for very long. They also won’t scroll down the page unless they see something particularly interesting. That’s why it’s essential to place your most important points “above the fold.” This is the portion of a webpage that people can see without scrolling down.

When you place your key points above the fold, you make it more likely that most people who land on your page or post will process at least some of this critical information. And if it resonates with them, they’ll be more willing to continue reading below.

What should you do below the fold? Structure your copy using an inverted triangle approach. Specifically, after you’ve introduced your key points at the top, provide supporting or complementary information and then finish with other details that are worth mentioning but aren’t the key focus.

Related: 7 characteristics that make your website copy persuasive + free checklist

Example: Matt Phillpot illustrates this approach to writing clear, concise web copy in this blog post.

 

concise web copy

 

 

6. Avoid passive voice

Writing in passive voice is just one of many bad writing habits you may have picked up in high school. What is passive voice?

A sentence is in passive voice when the subject of the sentence is acted on by the verb.

Example: “A mistake was made by our fulfillment team.”

In comparison, in an active voice sentence, the subject of the sentence performs the action.

Example: “Our fulfillment team made a mistake.”

As you can see, passive voice sentences tend to be longer than their active voice counterparts. But that’s not all. They’re also wordier. And furthermore, it’s possible to write them without including the actor in the sentence at all.

Example: “A mistake was made.”

Because this sentence doesn’t indicate who made the mistake, it withholds potentially important information from the reader. It also allows the person who wrote it to avoid taking responsibility for the mistake or attributing responsibility to someone else.

In sum, to write concise web copy that’s clear and descriptive, use active voice as much as possible.

Example: Melyssa Griffin uses active voice in the sentences on her landing page to make her copy powerful and easy to read.

 

 

persuasive website copy

 

7. Incorporate examples

You don’t need to write complex sentences to explain a complex concept. Instead, you can use examples to make it easier for your audience to understand what you’re talking about. A powerful example can make abstract concepts more tangible, help your audience visualize an outcome or result, and even keep them engaged.

Example: Check out the example I use to illustrate the power of email list segmentation in my blog post on how to create effective email campaigns.

 

 

concise web copy

 

8. Add internal links

This tip for writing clear, concise web copy isn’t as relevant if you’re writing copy for a landing page or marketing email where you want to keep visitors focused on a single conversion goal. However, adding internal links to blog posts and more general webpages is a great way to keep your copy concise.

When you use internal links on your blog or website, you can keep each post or page concise by focusing on the most important information your visitor needs to know. You can then link to other relevant posts or pages as appropriate to direct your audience to additional information.

Related: How to properly add links to your blog posts + free worksheet

Example: In my blog posts, I add internal links to direct my audience to other posts on my blog that provide additional info about a topic.

 

 

concise web copy

 

9. Include images and white space

Writing concise web copy isn’t just about identifying the information to include and communicating it in the right way. It’s also about breaking your copy up with images and white space—empty space on a page or post that isn’t covered by text, an image, or a button.

Images and white space don’t just make your webpage, landing page, blog post, or email more fun to read. They also make your copy more accessible by dividing it into small, digestible chunks.

Related: 9 landing page design mistakes that reduce your conversions + free template and example

Example: See how Shareaholic incorporates images and white space into this post.

 

concise web copy

 

 

Take the time to write clear, concise web copy

In sum, writing clear, concise web copy isn’t about writing flowery prose that belongs in a poetry anthology. It’s about writing copy that’s effortless for your audience to read and understand. After all, when it’s easy for your visitor or subscriber to digest key information and understand how relevant it is to them, your copy will do a better job of converting them into paying clients and customers.

 

 

Want a website, landing page, blog post, or email that converts?
Use my copy planning worksheet to craft copy that boosts your subscribers, sales, and growth.

Send me the worksheet




How to write clear, concise web copy that converts + free copy planning worksheet
324 Shares

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.