10 easy tips to make your online writing even better

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I once worked with a communications specialist who said “I look at my computer and never know what to write.” That’s understandable (but perhaps a bit surprising given her role). A clean Word doc or sheet of paper can be overwhelming, especially if it’s not your day job to be writing copy.

But having previously worked in a newsroom, studying online journalism and working alongside an exceptional copywriting team, I picked up some great tips for writing online copy.

Here are my ten favourite tips that you may like to follow:

  1. Don’t over complicate the opening sentence; make it interesting, not abstract.

  2. Don't bury the lead behind waffle; get the most important facts across first.

  3. Use active words rather than passive words e.g. "Julie left a positive review of the restaurant" rather than "A positive review of the restaurant was left by Julie."

  4. Remove any extraneous words from a sentence.

  5. Avoid clever words; just use simple language.

  6. Avoid -ing words where possible to make copy easier for readers.

  7. Short paragraphs are ideal for online readers.

  8. People enjoy reading lists, so use them where relevant.

  9. Group ideas or themes together.

  10. If it works, conclude with a question.


It’s also important to note that once you’ve written your piece, you’ll want to revisit it and rework it. Don’t expect to nail it on the first go.

I spend my days writing social media posts, product descriptions, email marketing and blog posts, and these principles come in very handy every time.

What are your favourite tips for writing copy?