How to write easy-to-read content for the web

Do you know what bugs me about some websites? It’s difficult-to-read copy: walls of words,  poor syntax and irrelevant information.

You probably know that when online, people are impatient. If they can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds, they will  usually “tune out” and visit another site.

For this reason, I reckon that a website copywriter should always aim to create scan able copy. Scan able copy allows the reader to find what they’re looking for at a glance. The simple fact is that most web visitors only read about 20% of the text. So, if, for example, a visitor wants to know what products or services a business offers, they shouldn’t have to trawl through the other 80% to find out.

I’m interested in your thoughts, so please leave your comments at the end of this post.

3 writing sins that drive me mad

How to be a more productive copywriter

How does a website copywriter create scan able copy?

A copywriter can create scan able copy with:

  • the economical use of words
  • bold headings
  • different colours and fonts
  • bullet points
  • good grammar and spelling.

Economical use of words

Amateur writers often try to impress by writing too much or using the most impressive words they can think of. This isn’t a good idea. If you don’t need a word, don’t use it. The whole purpose of your web copy is to communicate clearly why your prospects should do business with you, so don’t muddy the waters with too many words or words that might not be understood.

People like reading in chunks, so it pays to stick to short sentences and paragraphs. Of course, you shouldn’t be too rigid with this rule, a longer sentence here and there adds variation, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

Bold headings

Bold headings are great; I love them and you can see I use plenty in this post. Headings break up the text and make it appear less imposing. Make sure that your headings explain clearly what the following text is about so that a reader can go directly to what interests them.

Bullet points

There is not a lot to say about bullet points other than there is no better way to break up text for fast reading.

Different colours and fonts

Using different colours and fonts is a great way to differentiate text and, therefore, make it easier to read. However, not all fonts can be read on all devices and browsers, so make sure you test them first.

I find the text on some websites is often in a very small font size meaning that you need to expand your computer screen to read the copy. I don’t get this. There is no harm in using a nice bold font for easy reading.

Grammar and spelling

Copywriters often break the rules of grammar. That’s fine, but don’t let poor grammar get in the way of being understood. Remember your website content is a reflection of your business, so if it’s littered with spelling and grammatical errors, you look unprofessional. If you struggle in the grammar department, it could pay to employ the services of a proofreader or copy editor to tidy things up.

A website with good clean copy is like an open motorway that enables traffic to get from A to B without aggravation. What do you think? Leave your comments.

  1. It’s never advisable to use highfalutin words too much. Clients will be more interested to read further if they can read it easily.

    1. Hi Ben, I couldn’t agree with you more. Using big words that might not be understood only causes confusion and is more likely to cause visitors to ‘tune out’. Thanks for your comment.

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