In order to write effective copy for the web that is relevant to your audiences, there are two primary areas that you should consider. They are titles and the meta descriptions. These are usually the first two things that a person will see when searching the web for a particular program or service. They often determine whether the seeker will click on your site or not.
You know what the title is, but what is the meta description?
The meta description is intended to be a brief and concise summary of your page’s content. Think of the Yahoo! directory. You see your site title followed by a brief description of your site or ministry. Wording that you provide as the meta description on your website page or post will be used by search engines or directories for this purpose.
The author/editor needs to be thinking about the title and the meta description as they write the copy. The author should provide the meta description (150 characters or less) to the person who posts the content on the web. This is to get your best descriptive copy in the search engine results. Just so you know though, not all search engines or directories show the meta description. Some will show a snippet of the content from your site usually the beginning sentences. This makes the page title even more critical. In either case, paying attention to meta descriptions will help you think strategically about your content and write it in a more focused way.
Key words are very important! As you start to write your copy, make a list of words or phrases that visitors to your website would most likely use to find the information they are seeking and that you are providing. Get ideas from others. Use these words and phrases judiciously in the areas listed below. The areas are given in their order of importance (your webmaster will be able to help you with #s 2, 3,&4).
1. Page Title – This is the first thing that any visitor will see when carrying out a search on the web. Titles need to be informative, not subtle or nuanced. Whenever possible, use the most important keyword in the title.
2. Meta Description – Usually the second thing the visitor will see when carrying out a search through a search engine or directory. The person who is posting the content will have access to this tool. As I stated previously, the author/editor should provide the description.
3. Heading Tags – This will relate to specific subjects within your site.
4. Visible Content – This is another area that you should focus on in order to produce effective copy for the web. These are provided below in order of importance.
- Hyperlinked Text and Title Attribute – This is frequently displayed as a “tool tip,” which is a short message that will appear when the pointing device (cursor) pauses over a particular object.
- Alternate Text Tags – This should be for an image and is not to be used for stuffing with keywords that do not apply to it.
There are tools to research keywords and key phrases, but generally they are not helpful to ministry sites. The best thing to do is to brainstorm with others to determine the words that people interested in a particular ministry are most likely to use in an Internet search. Then use these words in your titles, subtitles and throughout your text and list them in your tags
By using the correct keywords and keyword phrases in the appropriate places, you are taking one of the most important steps in writing effective copy and getting it found by search engines.
When you write copy for the web, do you think about keywords?