The Secret to Writing Online Copy

The-Secret-to-Writing-Online-CopyThink about the last book you read. Unless you’re into picture books, it probably had long blocks of text. Now imagine those same blocks of text on the web. Did you just shudder?

Writing for the web is much different than print. I like to think of it as the difference between what you expect picking up a book vs. a magazine. There’s a reason there is only one New Yorker.

The secret to writing online copy that is commanding and effective is knowing the tricks:

– Split it up. Avoid large blocks of text. Break up your message with lists, bullets, headers, white space, pictures, videos, etc. The easier your content is on the eye, the longer your visitors will stay.

– Keep it short. Unless you have the storytelling talent of Dooce, the rule is to use as few words as possible. If you need to explain something in detail, link to it. That way people will be able to find the information they need without their eyes starting to bleed.

– Only make promises you can keep. There is so much content on the web that makes ridiculous promises. Use engaging, compelling headlines, but make sure you deliver.

– SEO Optimize. Write for the web in a smart way. Use keywords whenever possible, incorporating them in a discreetly.

– Tell a story. Since there is so much content out there, one great way to hold attention spans is to tell a story. It’s not always appropriate, but when used, it’s very effective.

What are your tricks for writing for the web? Do you have a formula that works for you?



  1. This probably sounds strange, but after spending time writing flash fiction, I feel like that prepared me to be a better blog writer. You have to tell a story in a very condensed amount of words, and you have to keep it tight and on-point.

    Breaking your posts up with subheadings really does make it more reader-friendly (especially to slow us skimmers down). 🙂 Nice post!

    1. I bet flash fiction would be a great preperation for blogging. And I agree, subheadings are fantastic. The key is making them interesting enough that readers will read what’s below them as well.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Sometimes I have trouble sticking to one point.

    1. It can definitely be difficult sticking to one point. One way to keep to it is to write your headers and title first. It helps keep on track.

  3. This is wonderful information, Rebecca ~ thank you for sharing! All of your information is always extremely helpful. Keep up the great work!

    1. HI Caitlin, I’m glad you find the information useful! Thanks for your comment! Rebecca

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