Web Copywriting Style Guide

by Chris McCrow

Publishing new content on your website should be one of your highest priorities. A word of warning: publishing content at break-neck speed can lead to a lot of content of an inconsistent quality. This can be damaging to your brand. The problem of having lots of content is especially prevalent when your content is being published by multiple authors. A style guide can make sure your writers keep their content writing consistent.

Choose Your Copywriting Style Early

There is no right or wrong way when it comes to choosing copywriting conventions. The key is just to make decisions early on, and then be consistent. Doing so will save you a big headache further down the line.

Copywriting Style Points

Below are some sample conventions we follow on CrowCreate.com.

  • Use British English, not American English.
  • Write from the we perspective, not the I perspective.
  • Use commas in large numbers: £1,000 NOT £1000.
  • Don’t hyphenate words, e.g. online NOT on-line, and website NOT web-site.
    *On a side note, there is a search engine marketing benefit in not hyphenating words as most people don’t use hyphens within their search terms.
  • Use words for one to ten, numerals for 11 upwards, percentages and money. With the exception that if you use numerals in a sentence, all numbers in the sentence referring to the same subject should use numerals. For example: “Two hours into the party, 10 or 12 neighbours arrived with five ice chests full of drinks.”
  • Use common capitalisation rules for headings:
    1. Capitalize the first and the last word.
    2. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
    3. Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
    3. Lowercase the “to” in an infinitive (I want to play guitar).
  • Capitalise the first letter of every word in bullet points.
  • Try to keep headings to one line to avoid ‘wrapping’.
  • Don’t punctuate headings with full stops. Question marks and explanations marks are ok.
  • Use a full stop after each bullet point that is a sentence or completes a sentence from an earlier statement. Don’t use full stops after bullet points that are not complete sentences or completing a sentence.
Anything Else To Add?

Please feel free to give us your suggestions by leaving a comment below.

Looking For Help?

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9 comments on “Web Copywriting Style Guide

  • Avatar for Chris McCrow

    This stuff might sound finickity but it is so important to add consistency to your copy to send a consistent brand message, one I just thought of, always use two spaces after full stop.

    • Avatar for Chris McCrow

      Please, don’t put two spaces after a full stop. There is no reason for it. There need only ever be one space, and it’s really annoying when they appear in text to edit.

  • Avatar for Chris McCrow

    Copy is SO important on a website; you are absolutely right. There seems little point in paying good money for a fancy all-singing all-dancing website and then economising on copywriting standards, either because you’re too rushed to spend time on it yourself or you’ve run out of budget to commission a copywriter to do it for you. On a daily basis, I see high-end sites with the most appalling bloopers and that makes me seriously doubt the professionalism of the company concerned.

  • Avatar for Chris McCrow

    Thanks Terry, added to the list!

    Thanks Caroline, I couldn’t agree more. I always advocate clients focus their initial investment on their copy instead of design etc. because to put it bluntly, design can be bought off the shelf, content can’t.

  • Avatar for Chris McCrow

    The exception to “use words for one to ten” should be that if you use numerals in a sentence, all numbers in the sentence referring to the same subject should use numerals.

    “Two hours into the party, 10 or 12 neighbours arrived with five ice chests full of drinks.”

  • Avatar for Chris McCrow
    Jake Morrison says:

    ‘Always use two spaces after using a full stop.’ Totally incorrect. Besides which, you didn’t follow your own rule!

    • Avatar for Chris McCrow
      Emma Cheesman says:

      Well spotted, that was actually a test ;-)!

      Thanks for the feedback about that Jake, but when you say totally incorrect, by whose standard do you mean? And why do you think it is better to only use one space?

      p.s. I was told by my English teacher once to use two, but think that dates back to the old days of using a typewriter, WordPress seems to remove the double space anyway!! Gonna remove this one from the list! Thanks!

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