Effective Web CopyWriting

Write Effective Web Copy is not an easy task, Herman Drost,
wrote and interesting articule about how to do it well:

Writing effective web copy begins with an understanding of
what the goals of your web site are. Are you trying to get
your visitors to purchase something or have them sign up
for your newsletter? Remember you are trying to get someone
you can’t see and have never met take a step towards
building a relationship with you or your company.

1. Create a customer profile – try to find out what are the
needs and desires of your visitors. Here are some examples
of questions you could ask:

Are they young, middle aged or senior?
Are they primarily male or female?
Are they financially secure or budget-minded?
What gets him or her excited?
What are his or her most pressing concerns?

Try to brainstorm a list of topics that might interest your
target audience.

2. Create a Unique Selling Position (USP) – This is a
statement of 2-3 sentences that explains why you are
different from everybody else. This is the unique factor
that sets you apart from your competition. Make this the
first thing your visitor sees when they arrive on your home
page.

3. Focus on benefits – most web users want to find the
information about the product or service they need as fast
as possible. If they land on your site, they want to know
how they will benefit from buying your product or
subscribing to your ezine. You will need to answer that
question as clearly and concisely as possible or you will
lose that visitor.

4. Use the inverted pyramid style – provide a summary of
your information by clearly communicating the direction of
your discussion. Use informative headings and subheadings
with a paragraph of 4 to 5 lines that supports them. You
only have a few seconds to grab your visitors attention.
Most will simply scan for the information they are seeking.

Use bulleted or numbered lists, boldface or colored font
to emphasize the points you wish to make. Include links
at the end of your paragraph (or within the text) to direct
visitors to other pages of your site for more in-depth
information.

5. Write in an informal or personal style – write in a
unique way that differentiates you from other small
businesses in a similar business or niche. It doesn’t have
to be elaborate or super-creative. You simply provide a
style that gets the attention of your visitors.

6. Keep your sentences simple – you are not writing to
impress. You are writing to communicate. You want to
pre-sell your product or service, therefore write as if you
are talking to a 13 year old.

Don’t use large words but opt for strong verbs over weak
ones. Use the active voice instead of a passive one. i.e.
Instead of “a good score was achieved by the team”…say “the
team scored a season high”. Speak “to” but not “at” your
visitor. Keep your sentences short and snappy.

7. Include searchable keywords – use targeted keywords in
your web copy that will allow the search engines to find your
site. Include these keywords in your meta tags, links and
file names also.

8. Eliminate the fluff – don’t waffle on in your writing.
You will only bore your visitors and they will click
elsewhere. Try to remove filler sentences that contain
phrases like “for those of you” and “all of you”.

9. Proof read your web copy – errors in your web copy give
the impression of being unprofessional or sloppy. Read the
copy aloud to yourself or get someone else to proof read
it. Often they will find more errors because they are more
objective.

Use the spell checker but don’t rely on it. Often it
doesn’t pick up all incorrectly spelt words. Print a
copy of your content. It’s easier to find grammatical or
spelling errors on a hard copy.

10. Take a break – revise your web copy after taking a
break from it for several hours or a few days. This allows
you to see it from a different viewpoint. You may find a
better way to say something to further improve your copy.

11. Use images sparingly – images should only be used if
they relate and support your web content. If not, they will
only distract the visitor from reading your web copy. Too
many images will slow down the time it takes for your
visitor to load your site in their browser.

12. Use effective navigation – your navigation bar should
help visitors easily find the main sections of your site.
Read: How to Create an Effective Web Site Navigation Structure

Writing effective web copy is the key to converting visitors
into buyers. Getting 1000s of visitors to your web site doesn’t
guarantee sales. Reading your web copy should pre-sell your
product with the words you use. Once you achieve this, your
web site will become very profitable.

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