Although many people seem to think that writing effective copy for the web is easy, it isn’t. It is its own unique writing form. One of the most important reasons why copywriting for the web is different from writing for traditional print publications is that the mindset of those who are going to be reading it is different.
More often than not, most web pages will be found via a search engine. This is very significant, as it means that the person reading your site has been looking either for you or someone like you. So that puts them in control. They will be focused on finding a particular program, service or piece of information.
Anyone visiting your site for the first time using a search engine will have a few questions in mind. “Have I come to the right place?” also “Will I find what I’m looking for at this page or site?” Finally, they would be asking themselves “Do I feel comfortable that I can achieve my goal here?”
What do visitors to parish sites want to know? Often, they want to know the Mass schedule. So why do so many parishes either not have that on their home page or disguise it under “Worship”? Please, post the “Mass Times”.
Visitors to the websites of religious communities want to know about your mission and how to locate members of your community. Is that clearly obvious on the home page?
Visitors to Catholic organizations want to know what services you provide. Can they get that information easily from the home page?
It is vital that you answer these questions on the home page or in just one to two easy clicks away from the home page. The website needs to provide an answer to the first time visitor immediately.
When writing copy for the web, always write to reassure any visitors that they are in the right place and that they should continue to read on.
What questions are you asking when you visit ministry websites? How often can you find the answer right away?
This article is taken from the free e-book Visitor-Friendly Copywriting for Ministry Websites, A Guide for Beginners. You can download the entire e-book (17 pages) at Catholic Web Solutions: Resources for You.