By: Alison R Bowyer Freelance Copywriter in Milton Keynes
As a Freelance Copywriter, I’m the first to say that words are even more important than design.
But I’m not going to deny that the visual appeal of your website is super important in the digital age.
If you’re a small business owner, the chances are you’re building and updating your own website to keep costs down. But just because you haven’t paid out for a swanky designer-built website (yet), that doesn’t mean yours can’t look good.
So when it comes to writing your blogs (you’re blogging, right?), there are a few easy steps you can take to make your blog look good.
- Consistent heading style
There’s no right or wrong way to display a heading.Some people prefer Title Case, Where Every Word Begins With A Capital Letter whereas many prefer Sentence case where only the first word begins with a capital.
How To Clean Your Oven Title Case
How to clean your oven Sentence caseThere are people out there who have the time and inclination to argue about which is the correct approach.
I don’t think it matters. The important thing is that your heading style is consistent. So if you prefer sentence case (me too!) then stick with that style for every heading you use.
It’s all about the detail and creating a visual effect that is pleasing to the eye. Not everyone will notice inconsistencies, but those that do will be distracted away from your content.
This is the point where you risk losing their interest, so it’s worth choosing one style and sticking with it, so the reader can focus on your message rather than the style.
- Inject some colour
Despite all the funky colour options on my website builder, the slightly disappointing truth is that it’s easier for most people to read black text on a white background. I don’t want to alienate potential clients who may struggle to read my content, so black on white it is.
However, changing the colour of headings, quotes, statistics or short chunks of text can make the content more visually appealing and it’s a good way to make key messages stand out. I keep it simple, choosing purple for my name, introductory paragraph, key messages and call to action.
- People love pictures
Using an image that is pleasing on the eye helps to illustrate a point to your readers and breaks up the text. People love pictures; why fight it?
Depending on the nature of your business, you may use your own photography or hire a photographer.
If this isn’t for you, there are plenty of good websites for stock images. And the good news is that some of them are free.
I use pixabay.com – it’s easy to use and the images are free, with no attributions (although there is the option to make a donation if you’re able to).
Copyright is an important issue, so don’t be tempted to copy an image from another site. This is a big no-no and could land you in hot water.
The same principle goes for copying written content; just don’t. It’s okay to get inspiration from other sites, but the content needs to be in your own words and style, with your own spin on it. Be original.
- Use short paragraphs
Some people believe that humans actually have shorter attention spans now, due to the all the time they spend looking at screens. It may be true; who knows? But I think the design and layout of the content has a huge part to play in the length of time the reader keeps reading.
So breaking up the content into shorter paragraphs is just another way of making the content pleasing on the eye; and accessible and digestible to the reader.
So they keep reading.
- Now read the same message again, with no paragraph spaces:
Some people believe that humans actually have shorter attention spans due to the rapid development of the digital world. It may be true; who knows? But I have a hunch that the design and layout of the content has a huge part to play in the length of time the reader keeps reading. So breaking up the content into shorter paragraphs is just another way of making the content pleasing on the eye, accessible and digestible to the reader. So they keep reading.
This is still quite a short paragraph but, at first glance, it’s unappealing; just a big block of boring text.
Imagine a chunk of content 3 or 4 times longer with no breaks, images or colour changes. How long would you last reading that? I’m not sure I would even bother to try.
- Don’t forget your call to action
Remember, the purpose of your blog is to build trust and rapport with your potential clients and professional network. Be helpful. It’s not a selling platform. Save that for your Home page.
But… if your reader likes what they read and they’re already thinking they might like to contact you some time, make it easy for them. It doesn’t have to be too long or clever, just a short description of who you are, what you do and how you can be contacted.
You can see mine below, just after my name! 😉
Alison is a Freelance Copywriter based in Milton Keynes. She specialises in web content and business blogging. For more information about Alison, click here.