Copywriting for the Web Part 1: The “Three Cs”

The three Cs - concise, clear, compellingCopywriting for the web can be difficult for any writer. It requires you to hone in on a specific audience, simplify many aspects of your business or organization, work with quantities of pre-existing content, and create compelling copy that is easily “scannable” for over-stimulated web audiences.

All in all, a pretty daunting task!

With this in mind, in Part 1 of our feature on Writing for the Web, I’d like to touch upon the three Cs of effective web copywriting.

Whether you’re utilizing marketing staff at your business or have hired a freelance copywriter, maintaining a central voice (a topic for another time) that stems from the three Cs will help you create effective web content that your readers will appreciate:

Be concise

  • Less is more—keep content brief
  • Avoid long paragraphs and organize copy in easily digestible bits
  • Make pages “scannable”—use subheads and bullets when appropriate to make the content more attractive to the reader’s eye
  • Minimize scrolling—link to pages or downloadable PDFs for more detailed info
  • Use links sparingly in copy and consider placing links to related topics in a sidebar instead

Be clear

  • Be direct—get to the point
  • Avoid run-on sentences and keep one idea per sentence
  • Eliminate extraneous words and phrases
  • Avoid jargon that might be foreign to a reader

Be compelling

  • Put the most important information first
  • Engage the reader by writing from his/her point of view—what is most interesting/important to him/her? Use anecdotes or examples, when appropriate
  • Be informative—avoid “fluff” and use facts whenever possible
  • Use active verbs and avoid the passive voice

These tips will help make your website more informative and easier to read. Stay tuned for the next parts of the series when we dig deeper into some good and bad examples of each of the three Cs.