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Writing Effective Web Copy – Part 1, From Planning to Publishing

Copy writing is a long winded process and is not an easy task. In order for your copy to be successful it is important that you are extremely organised throughout the whole copy writing process. This involves being organised from the moment you start to plan the project, collect the data / content, create a layout, write the copy, draft the copy and publish the copy.


Planning/ Researching the Topic
You will need to set aside some time to do some initial research into the field / area that you are going to be writing about it. You will want to feel fairly comfortable about the topic so that you are able to write confidently. The importance of preparation is extremely crucial particularly if the topic you are writing about has tricky technical terms. You will need to get your head around these first so that you are able to convey a clear message to the readers.

Collecting the content
Once you have grasped a basic understanding of the topic the next step is to build more layers that will really flesh out and give readers the information that they need. A great way of producing this information is by creating a set of interview style questions. You can then take these questions to the company you are writing the copy for and get them to answer them in as much detail as possible. It is important that you prepare these questions thoroughly so that you cover all aspects. If possible you should arrange to see the individual in person so that you can have an in depth discussion. I have found that in order to get the most out questions you could send the list of questions to the individual prior to the meeting so that they are able to think about the information that they want to be included for each. Then when you go for the meeting you will be able to ask further questions if there is something you are unsure about, dig deeper for more details and perhaps ask more questions based on the information that they have just given you.

Organising the content
Once you have all the relevant information, the next step is to work out how this is going to be organised on the website. Unless the person you are copy writing for has given you a strict layout then it is your job to figure out where the pieces of the puzzle connect in order to provide readers the full picture. Most websites will follow a similar layout; this usually includes a home page, about us page, services page, case studies page, and contact us page. If you have a lot of information you will be able to expand on this list and create additional relevant pages. When you have formed a list of pages you then need to work out which content will be placed where so that you are able to create a first draft.

Drafting the content
Again, this is another crucial part of the copy writing process. It is important that you draft a copy that you can then check through. This will allow you to pick up on any mistakes that you might have made. It is worth getting someone else to read through the draft. A fresh pair of eyes will be more likely to pick up on mistakes or point out anything that does not make sense. Once you are happy with the content you have written, you should send it to the client. They can suggest any amendments that need to be made. You can then re-draft the content and then re-send it to the client. It is important that you get the clients approval before you publish the content. This way you can be sure that your content is correct and ready to be published online.

Look out for Part 2 of writing effective web copy which will address how you can write persuasively.

 

Sophie Angell
Sophie is part of the Digital Marketing team at WNW Digital, concentrating on running your social media channels, writing blogs and writing content for your websites. You can follow Sophie on Twitter @SophieWNW or alternatively email her at sophie@wnwdigital.co.uk

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