17 (fairly) easy website copy fixes
Fraser McCulloch - Monday, February 05, 2018
Fixing your website copy may appear a low priority task however each of these tips have helped me rank better and improve subscribers and conversions.
Increase the font size of your body copy for mobile devices
I recently increased the font size of my paragraph or body font size from 13 points to 16 points.
I want to made it easier for my mobile users (30% of my traffic) to read the content of my pages.
My website stylesheet has the ability to define different font sizes for different device widths.
Here’s a comparison between a 13 point and 16 point body font size on an iPhone 7 plus.
13 point font size.
16 point font size.
Check your line space and paragraph space
I have a 1rem or 16 point space between each line and a 1rem, 16 point space between each paragraph.
The paragraph space is almost the same space as a new line.
Use headers to format your page layout
Instead of cramming 3 sentences into a paragraph, have 3 sentences and 3 paragraphs.
To communicate a new paragraph use a header such as an h3, h4 or h5.
Hard to read paragraph
Easier to read paragraph
The headers of my pages use the H1 tag.
The header of my page is almost identical to the title of my page.
My pages are created with the intention of being useful or resourceful and the content heading normally begins with “how to”.
These pages have been researched in advance not just thrown together on a whim.
Use Word or Google Docs to layout page format
If you do create a new page after doing your keyword research, start your draft with the headline of your post, page or article.
Start drafting your page content by entering your H1 header in Word or Google Sheets.
Then write out your next important elements using the H2 header.
As you can see from this article you are reading, I have 17 key copy fixes to offer.
Once I have my list of key points using the h2 header, then I can flesh out the sentences underneath each point.
If needs be, I can use the H3 header to break up the monotony of too many sentences.
Download 17 website copy fixes
Reduce words per sentence
When your sentences extend beyond 14 words it becomes much harder to read on mobile devices.
Sentences that take up 3 lines often become difficult to read as you scroll through a page.
Your sentences should not be any longer than 20 words.
One sentence per paragraph
A sentence of 14 to 20 words should be contained in one paragraph.
After you finish one sentence start a new paragraph.
Paragraphs with multiple sentences.
Paragraphs with one sentence.
I received some resistance from clients who told me that this is not what they were taught in English class at school.
My focus is not perfect English grammar but rather the users’ ability to read a web page clearly on smaller devices
The header images on my pages have been changed to full horizontal width and minimum height to allow the word on the first sentence to be visible on all browsers.
However, on mobile devices, screenshots in the body of my page need improved.
Most of these images are readable for users on desktop devices but difficult to see the copy with the images on mobile phone screens.
I have tested out taking screenshot from a mobile device as these screenshots tend to deliver a square image.
I will also work on showing only the necessary copy details from these screenshots as I improve the website this year.
Use bullet points and numbered lists
I am using bullet points and lists in three different ways on my website.
- As chapter or section links to direct users to each section on the page.
- When I get lazy and don’t want to write long sentences.
- To keep the reader’s attention and prevent skimming the content.
Download 17 website copy fixes
Tell users what your page offers them straight away
All my blog posts have been researched before I write the page title, header or page copy.
However, if you want to make quick copy improvements you can change the heading on the page and the copy in the first paragraph.
How to plan and design a new website structure in 8 steps is a resource that is helpful for web designers.
Over 10% of people who read that page have downloaded my free guide.
Look at the first sentence underneath the image; I have repeated the heading of the page in the very first sentence.
You can easily fix the copy the heading and first paragraph and tell users what your page is offering them.
Write for the user not for Google
The title of my home page reads “Power Pages help promote great looking websites that aren’t getting results”.
Most people do not know what a Power Page is.
I have taken the problem of not getting results and combined the sentence with “help promote great looking websites”.
I’ve written the headline so that people, business owners and web professionals, can understand the problem and solution in plain English.
Answer your customers questions
I recently launched a free link building course to educate prospective customers.
I visited a number of sub-Reddits (forums on Reddit) to find out some of the main questions people had about link building.
Without a doubt the most popular question was a lack of clear step by step link building guides or instructions.
As you can see on my landing page below, the heading is titled “Clear, concise, step by step link building course”
Further questions taken from sub-reddits were included in the bullet points on the page.
My 10 lessons provide clear instructions and answers in a series of emails and videos.
Alternatively, I could have written an in-depth article on a page; however with videos it is easier for me to explain link building.
10. Write like you’re writing a recipe (semantically related keywords and content)
One of my favourite content frameworks is a ‘how to’ guide.
If you want to improve your page, reader engagement and conversions, then re-writing and updating your copy in the style of a recipe is a great approach.
A recipe will contain the ingredients you need in preparation.
A recipe will then outline step by step instructions to turn the ingredients into a lovely cake, meal or dish.
Just Google any recipe and use that example as your copy framework.
Write at least 1920 words per page
Some recipes are very simple and do not require many words; sometimes a few visuals and bullet points are all you require for a recipe.
However, research by Brian Dean has shown that pages that rank in the top 10 search results have 1920 words on average.
My average word count per page is around 3400 words.
I have an 18,000 word blog post that ranks for over 1,000 search queries and delivers over 1,000 organic visits per month.
When I wrote down the 17 tips on this page I never imagined I would end up writing over 1700 words.
Download 17 website copy fixes
Jump To or Table of Content
If you are going to update your page with more in-depth copy it will result in a lengthy page.
That’s why I introduced table of content links on most pages.
These links, similar to chapters in a Kindle book, allow users to quickly jump to a particular page section very quickly.
Adding Jump To SEO links may also help you rank better in Google for related search terms you added to your updated page.
I have written a full length guide about the benefits of Jump To SEO links.
Back To Top link
In addition to jump to links I have added back to the top of the page links throughout each blog post.
The idea behind such links is to keep the user engaged on the page and have the page used like a manual or reference guide.
Just click the link below and you'll be taken back to the top of this page.Back To Top
Write page title and description tags like an advert
First do a Google search for a search query such as “plan a website structure”.
I currently rank in position 2 in the UK for this query.
The page title describes my page but the title must also compete with and be more persuasive than the other results on page one.
The description below then describes the page.
To write your page title and description like an advert, first copy and paste your url into this free tool.
If you have the Yoast plugin for WordPress, you can preview the title and description.
Next, ensure your main keyword or question is located near the start of the title and description.
Then start to re-write the page title using a tool such as the ShareThrough headline analyser.
Download 17 website copy fixes
Unique Call to action per page
I have a light grey box with call to action copy, a first name and email form and button positioned throughout my resource pages or blog posts.
The copy in each call to action box closely matches the page title.
I avoid generic call to action copy such as register for more tips or join my newsletter.
My best blog post converts around 11% of page readers per month.
Delay introducing welcome mats, pop ups and lightbox forms
You need to give people who visit your page sufficient time to read the majority of your page.
I have a light box powered by Drip.co that will appear after 120 seconds or when users scrolls down 70% of the page.
On mobile devices the lightbox is laid over the page content and sits at the foot of the browser during the readers’ entire page visit.
Hamburger menu on mobile devices only
Hamburger menus are fancy features on modern responsive websites.
But they fail to display text links to your products, services and contact pages.
In this seo case study blog post I outlined how I updated the theme on my website to replace hamburger menu with a good old fashion horizontal navigation on desktop devices.
And the results, not conclusive, produced an increase in subscriber conversions.
Website Copy Summary
These website copy tips should give your some inspiration to improve and upgrade your existing web pages and copy.
But don’t take just take my advice.
There are numerous A/B testing tools available to gain certainty that your changes actually deliver improvements.
I shall create very few new and original blog posts in 2018.
Google tend to rank established urls higher and faster when page content has been updated.
Instead I shall be upgraded my existing pages to rank better, earn more website traffic and subscriber conversions.