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What makes a great website?

What are the essential traits of a great web site? After you visit a site and you browse through it for a while, what is it that makes you stay? Great design helps. Amazing graphics are eye catching. But the fundamental trait that makes a website work is the content.

The content or copy of your website is critical. This is where you hold the attention of your audience and your word choice and grammar are critical. Misspellings and poor grammar are a quick turn off. If your content isn’t easy to read people will go to other site to get information and buy.

Copy writing is often one of those jobs that people think they can do themselves but probably shouldn’t. We often help clients with their web copy to assist them in the creation of a professionally written website.

Tips on writing effective website copy

Keep it short
While choosing the right words are important, keeping them to a minimum is equally important. The length of your copy online should be about half that of the print version. Re-work your original, including succinct sentences and short paragraphs. Dot points are often a great way to achieve this.

Chose your words carefully
Try to avoid words that are too descriptive, colloquial or flowery. Descriptive words often don’t tell readers much and are a waste of words.

Understand your audience and write for them. Just because you have a well versed vocabulary doesn’t mean your audience does. At the same time by choosing colloquial language you often dumb down your website and limit credibility.

Organisation is the key
Organise your content and information. Start simple and then get to the details. Your homepage is designed to welcome your readers and include your key words. It is designed to tell readers what’s in it for them. Your inner pages can go into more detail.

Make sure each page is friendly, organised and uncluttered. Information is great, but make sure it is readable and easy on the eye.

Use subheadings
People often get lost or bored reading online so include subheadings to catch their attention and allow for scanning. Ensure paragraphs are short by cutting out any unnecessary copy. Make sure the font is reader friendly and bold all headings and subheadings.

Check and re-check spelling and grammar
Check and re check your content to make sure it is correct. If you are unsure whether there should be a comma, a colon or a semi colon it is a good idea to consult a grammar guide. Good grammar and spelling ensures your professionalism and increases your credibility.

Avoid exclamation marks!
If you are one of those people that put an exclamation mark after every sentence – stop! They make people edgy and they are annoying! Exclamation marks don’t make your sales pitch any more effective!

What other tips do you have for creating a website that customers and potential customers will love?

Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard is the founder and director of CP Communications, one of the most respected and innovative boutique PR and social media agencies. She is co-founder of Social Media Women, teaches a PR course she designed and writes the popular blog, Public Relations Sydney. Catriona regularly shares her expertise through articles and presentations to assist businesses grow and thrive by effectively using PR and social media. You can find Catriona on: Blog: www.PublicRelationsSydney.com.au Twitter: @catrionapollard Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PublicRelationsTips Facebook: www.facebook.com/cpcommunications

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