Course Outcomes

This copywriting course for web writers will:

  • Explain how web text should differ from other writing and why.
  • Provide a framework for profiling users, identifying segments, and writing to meet the needs of various audiences.
  • Teach a method for identifying central messages and creating strong page titles.
  • Suggest a process to help writing teams choose a voice and craft-consistent copy.
  • Offer concrete guidelines for and practice opportunities to use plain language and craft strong web copy.
  • Review accessibility and usability guidelines.
  • Examine choices that erode credibility and visitor trust.

Course Overview

Website visitors are not like traditional readers. They scan, skip, and jump as they take in information. For this reason, designers and writers have mere seconds to engage people before they click the “back” button and disappear. Standing out online is harder than ever, and the competition grows stronger each day. Bottom line: If you’re going to put information on the internet and you want it to be found, you’ll need to write in such a way that search engines understand what your pages are about, and visitors can quickly find what they are looking for.

This hands-on workshop focuses on six essential skills for creating strong web copy. During this program, participants will learn how people visit websites and how reading online differs from reading hard copy. They will also discover how to identify visitor segments; choose meaningful messages; write with a voice that reflects the site’s brand; and organize information for easier skimming, scanning, and retention.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain what visitors want when they come to a website and how they take in information.
  • Describe how writing for the web differs from other types of writing.
  • Identify visitor segments and the needs of different groups.
  • Isolate key messages.
  • Write with a consistent and on-brand voice.
  • Use headings, bullet points, paragraphs, links, and other mechanics to create easy-to-read and search-engine-friendly text.
  • Identify problems in their page copy or site design that could prevent people from accessing or using it.
  • Avoid actions that erode visitor trust and hurt a site’s credibility.
  • Follow a plan for reviewing and updating site pages.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

What Are They Looking For?: Understanding Visitor Segments

Each day, thousands of new pages join the sea of information available online. As the ocean of websites expands, so does the challenge of getting found. What’s more, even if a site ranks high in search results and manages to attract site visitors, keeping their attention is another ordeal entirely. This course opens with a discussion about visitor segments: what defines them, what each looks for, and the extent to which each group is important to the organization. 

What’s Our Story?: Defining and Organizing Messages

Once the participants have isolated their site-user segments, in this part of the program we will work through a series of exercises to identify the types of messages the organization wants to send to each group, the extent to which there is overlap, and how the information will be organized for easy navigation. We will also address the importance of a refresh plan.  While some pages stay evergreen, others have a limited shelf life. Without a protocol, organizations unnecessarily expose themselves to the risk of publishing mixed messages, outdated data, or contradictory information.

How Will We Tell Our Tales?: Choosing a Voice

Our next course segment focuses on voice and the persona with which the organization wants to be associated. We will work through an exercise that explores tone, style, and vocabulary. Next, we will establish guidelines for writing with a consistent online voice, regardless of who authors copy.

How Do We Organize and Write Information?: Adjusting for Better Skimming and Scanning

This portion of the program covers steps for creating copy that is easy to skim and scan. First, we will review 20+ tips for writing web-friendly text: how to organize information, how to choose a page title, how to use headings, when and how to use bullet points, and more. Then, we will apply those rules to documents originally created for other mediums and rewrite them for the web.

How Will Our Site Work for All Visitors?: Staying Accessible and Usable

Accessibility online means making sure all people (particularly those with an impairment) can use a site. This part of the program reviews choices writers and designers can make to ensure site visitors with disabilities are not put at a significant disadvantage. The segment also discusses factors that can improve general usability and site stickiness: ease of use, navigability, efficiency, enjoyability, and memorability.

Why Will They Believe Us?: Building Credibility and Trust

Trust can take a long time to build with site visitors, but it can erode at a much faster pace. This final module discusses the importance of credibility and how to establish it online. We will discuss the signs of a reputable website and the mistakes many designers and copywriters make that hurt their site’s reputation. During this part of the program, we will look at multiple examples of good, bad, and ugly. We will then audit the organization’s site to identify any obvious problems.

By the conclusion of this workshop, participants should be able to tailor their writing to the web and meet the needs of their site’s visitors.