Be simple. Be clear.
The digital world has changed the way people read. In truth, it’s a scanner’s world. But the hallmarks of good writing remain the same: Be clear. Be precise. Avoid jargon. Keep it actionable. The following section summarizes our web philosophy and how creative (copy and art direction) contributes to making our website as useful as possible to visitors.
Write for readers searching for answers.
SEO — Search Engine Optimization — means writing with the keywords and terms people use to find more information. If certain phrases, words, or variations of words/phrases keep appearing on the page, a search engine will likely rank that page higher in a user query about that term. Writing with the search terms that help your audience find your page on the web is critical to a successful page. The following guidelines will help you write for SEO.
- Choose headlines that read naturally and effectively communicate the topic of the page's content
- Think of headlines as an outline that make points and subpoints so the page is more skimmable
- Stick to suggested word counts to ensure headlines are optimal length
- Use URLs with words that are relevant to your site's content
- Avoid headlines with no relation to the content on the page
- Avoid using a single (the same) title across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages
- Avoid unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users
- Avoid duplicate or near-duplicate versions of content across the site
- Avoid large amounts of text on varying topics onto a page without paragraph, subheading, or layout separation
- Avoid copy and pasting (plagiarized) content from external websites. If you do copy and paste content, provide links to credible resources — this can boost SEO in some cases.
Where and how often to use SEO keywords.
- URL (Primary) - 1x
- Meta Title (Primary) - 1x
- Meta Description (Primary/secondary) include if possible, but not a ranking factor -1x
- Headings (Primary and secondary) - 1-3x with primary keywords in H1 and secondary keywords in H2-H3
- Intro/Spotlight text (Primary) - 1x
- Body copy (Primary and secondary) - 1-3x each, avoid keyword stuffing
Write for scanners, not readers.
Think of headlines as the page’s table of contents. They should make points and subpoints that support the message in the HERO and break the page into smaller, more specific sections. This gives readers multiple avenues into the content and makes it more skimmable.
- Always start each list item with a verb
- Use sentence case when driving a user to action
- Stick to recommended word counts
- Use bullets to break down dense copy and give impact to details
Ask people to take action.
Buttons and CTA text links set expectations for readers and help them understand the next step in the journey. Be direct, specific, and brief when writing CTAs.
- Always write in the active voice — start each CTA with a verb
- Buttons should be written in Title Case
- Buttons should not include punctuation
- CTA Text links should be CAPITALIZED
Write the sentence as you normally would, and link relevant keywords.Don’t
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Don’t include preceding articles (a, an, the, our) when you link text.Don’t
Read the Construction Software Buyer’s Guide to learn more.Do
Read the Construction Software Buyer’s Guide to learn more.
Lists for Web Pages
List and bullets help scanning readers absorb information and insights about any subject matter. As a distinctly different experience in digital, they are handled differently than in long form content like ebooks, reports, and verbally-denser copy. (For those rules, please see “Lists and Bullets in Long Form Content.”)
Here are the rules for lists on web pages:
- Write in the active voice and begin with a verb when possible
- Restrict bulleted copy to no more than one line as a best practice
- Try not to include more than one sentence (or thought) on a line
- Capitalize the first word of each sentence
- Do not use punctuation at the end of sentences (commas and periods)