There are ways to draw visitors to your personal website. One way to attract people is through your reputation. The internet has taken over the world and what is already there will stay on the web forever. Therefore, you have to fill your online space with good things about you and your work - never underestimate the power of the word of mouth.
Another way to get more attention to your website is your aesthetics. There is nothing more attractive than a well thought out and neatly designed website. Making sure that the theme, the layout and the colors and textures are cohesive to the overall presentation while remaining on brand.
While your web branding and aesthetics are important, the “language” you use to communicate to your audience is the most critical. How you talk to them is what makes them stay and follow you throughout your journey. Are you trying to sell a product or promote an event? Are you marketing yourself or a service? Defining the purpose of your website is why the consistent tone you choose to use on your websites copy is a major deciding moment.
Writing website copy is something that many new website owners often have difficulty with. Should they take a formal tone? Is whimsical more appropriate to their brand? Does sarcasm translate well to their audience? Being warm and formal are two conflicting tones most writers have trouble choosing from or balancing out. Whether your website covers a serious topic or leans toward a playful subject matter, one effective way to convey your message is to write in a conversational tone. Not only does it come more easily for inexperienced writers to write more casually, websites written in a conversational tone tend to be far more effective than website copy that sounds too formal or mechanical - it’s the same idea as to why podcasts are so popular.
Why Write in a Conversational Tone?
A conversational web copy style is incredibly important not only because it makes your business or brand more relatable, but it also makes your writing more persuasive and memorable. Recent studies have shown that people pay extra close attention to website content written in a conversational tone. When people read materials written in that tone, it tricks their brain into thinking that they are directly involved. Rather than simply talking to your audience, you’ll be engaging with them. Unfortunately, most of us have spent our lives writing by following rigid grammatical rules. But what works before may not work now and what is effective today might not be effective in tomorrow. Although one thing is certain, people want to be included so talk to your audience like a real person.
Breaking this habit involves a bit of effort to communicate effectively and colloquially while being relatable. It is important to note that writing in a conversational tone does not equal to writing sloppily or using poor vocabulary. Blogging is a great example of this kind of writing.
How to Write in a Conversational Tone
There are many different ways to establish a conversational tone - you have to find a style of writing websites copy that works for you. We’ll start off with a few suggestions. The first is addressing the reader directly. An easy way to do this is to pretend like you’re writing to a close friend. The second is to forgo formalities when writing. It is perfectly fine to break some grammar rules so that your writing is less arduous for your audience to read. Our third and final tip is to read your material out loud before publishing. Now, this tip may seem like common sense, but listening to your writing is the surest way to make sure that your material will be easily understood by your audience. We’ll go into detail about how you can take action on each tip below.
Address Your Readers Directly
As previously mentioned, address your readers directly as if you’re talking to a friend. This step truly helps establish a conversational tone. Formal web copy consists of writing in primarily third person. In order to write conversationally, address the reader directly and write in either first or second person. A website copy that uses first person writing involves writing from the subjective point of view and uses “I” and “we” as well as “my”, “mine”, and “ours”. For example, rather than saying, “all people should try using first person narrative,” try saying, “we should try using first person narrative.” A website copy in second person writing involves using pronouns “you,” “your,” and “yours.” For example, rather than saying, “one should use second person narrative,” try saying, “you should use second person narrative.”
Effective communication and great storytelling happens everyday in informal situations. Take this as an inspiration. How you speak to a friend conveys a sense of familiarity, partly because you’re not being restricted by the rules of “proper grammar” and the thought of talking to a crowd. But your natural intention is to solicit a reaction from them. Writing website copy is the same. Your website idea should be telling a story or conveying information in a relatable manner to get your audience to take action.
Break Grammatical Rules
Our second tip involves forgetting formalities and sacrificing “perfect” grammar to write in a more relatable and engaging way. Before we go into detail about this note, we would like to clarify that forgetting formalities is not an excuse to forget the fundamentals. Just because you’re writing in a conversational tone, does not mean you should forget the basic rules of the English language. For example, never get sloppy with your spelling. Abbreviations and slangs are debatable. Depending on the kind of website copy you are writing, abbreviations and slangs can be used to a minimum and when they’re explained once the first time they’re used.
Nowadays, writing copy for websites does not require you to be tight with the structure. We have a few other tips to help you break the right rules of formal writing:
- Vary Sentence Lengths
Varying sentence lengths is a great way to change up the pace and tone of your web copy material. Layering longer sentences with shorter sentences will change the readers’ rhythm and prevent your writing from sounding too choppy or too verbose.
Website copy that has shorter paragraphs are also common now. Gone are the days that you need to compose more than three sentences in order to produce one proper paragraph. The important matter is that your thoughts are organized and complete before proceeding to another one. Long sentences and paragraphs might be boring and hard to read to some people. It’s like listening to someone talk like it’s not going to end.
- Begin Sentences with Conjunctions
Another way to create a conversational tone is writing website copy sentences with “and” or “but”. While beginning sentences with these words break some basic rules, they are great ways to maintain a conversational and natural tone. Starting with a conjunction is a great way to emphasize specific points as well. More and more people use this nowadays. As long as the message is complete and can be easily understood, using this is forgivable to most grammar police.
- Use Fragments
Another way to break up long sentences is to occasionally use fragments. Really. This makes you more approachable on your web copy material thus making your readers more comfortable with you.
- Use Contractions
It’s quite uncommon to hear people say “do not” instead of “don’t”. Or say “will not” instead of “won’t”. Use contractions to make your website copy or blog posts sound less robotic and flow more naturally. Of course, robots are cool and people who aren’t comfortable using contractions exist. If this is your branding, stick with it.
- Ask Questions
You’re trying to engage your readers. What better way to do that than to ask them questions? Yes, we know- they won’t be able to answer you, but at least you’ll be getting them to participate while reading, instead of passively absorbing, or not absorbing information.
This is an effective way to go about your photo captions on your social media platforms, too. Describe what you do and ask your followers relatable things to keep them engaged.
Writing copy for websites doesn't end on your About page. Every text on your online platforms - including email lists, communicates with your audience. Stay in character!
- Leave Out the Fancy Words
To establish a conversational tone, it is much more effective to be succinct and leave out the technical jargon. Think about it, we rarely use complex vocabulary or tortuous sentence structure in everyday conversations. Don’t “dumb it down” as if your readers are slow. Some of them might have only encountered some terminologies once or twice in their lives or they might have only started learning about your craft now. It is important that your web copy materials make people feel included.
Read Your Copy Aloud
The last tip we have for creating a conversational tone on your website or blog is to read your writing aloud before publishing. Listen to yourself critically- are you conveying the same tone throughout the piece? Are you using words that you use in day-to-day conversations? And is your message coming through clearly to the “listener” or is it getting lost in jargon and unnecessarily long sentences?
Reading your website copy aloud will also help you troubleshoot potentially problematic content structure. If you’re running out of breath to finish a sentence, then reevaluate and edit your copy.
If you want to connect to your audience and grab your reader’s attention, then writing in a conversational tone is the way to go.
For more tricks of the trade, check out the Tips and How To’s and find more ways to improve your already awesome and gorgeous Strikingly website. Don’t be intimidated with website copy, and write your first one now. Your audience is waiting to hear from you.