Writing for the web is a little different from other forms of correspondence. If you were to write a letter, it would be addressed and sent to the recipient. They would know it was for them. On the internet, they need to find your message and recognise that it is more relevant to them than all of the other messages that are available.
As a freelance copywriter, I visualise writing for the web as a triangle. I have to balance the requirements of the company, the target customer and the search engines.
Common Challenges of Writing for the Web
The challenges are writing for the web can be illustrated by the Family Law pages of two solicitor websites that I have come across.
Content on Family Law Page of Website One
This read along the lines of:
“Our experienced family law solicitors are aware of the financial and emotional cost that family proceedings can bring. Timely, focused legal advice can be crucial in cases of:
• Divorce and Separation
• Paternity and Parental Responsibility Issues
• Adoption Proceedings
• Domestic Violence and Injunctions”
(and the list extended to cover every other element of family law).
Now, this clearly states what they offer, but my first question is, how does this differ from the message that any other family law solicitors are sending out?
The content is full of keywords that people might search for and included geographical location, which can help them to be found online. However, when someone reaches their web page, it is impersonal. Despite stating that individuals needing their service are likely to have financial concerns and be in an emotional state of mind, they have not addressed this in the written content.
What is more, the list was so long that it was overwhelming. If you were going through a separation or divorce, do you need to speak to have a separate meeting to discuss parental responsibility? How much is that going to cost?
Content on the Family Law Page of Website Two
The second was at the opposite end of the spectrum:
“As an established firm, our committed team have earned a reputation for providing responsive and caring advice.
We offer all new clients a free 30-minute consultation. In this session, we ascertain your situation and advise on how we can use our expertise to help you. We recognise that this is a stressful time, so to get the most from this consultation, it can be beneficial to note down any key points in advance.”
It continued in this caring tone, which addresses the emotional and financial concerns by providing a clear idea of what to expect.
The issue in this example was that no relevant keywords could be found on the page. There was no mention of ‘divorce solicitors’ ‘legal advice’ ‘parental rights in a relationship breakdown’ or any other words or phrases that someone needing their services would search for.
Updating Website Copy
Both of these solicitors were in the process of upgrading their websites. As part of this process, they asked me to review the existing page content and provide feedback. I was then involved in creating fresh copy for the web pages; balancing the requirements of the company, the target customer and the search engines.