10 Tips For Writing Effective Web Copy
On the Internet programmers and designers rule, not the writer. Yet words drive targeted traffic to your site, carry content, make the sale, convey marketing messages, persuade people to buy and make the difference between your site's success or failure.
Here are 10 tips for writing effective web copy:
1. Make sure content is easy to read
In the online world, less is nearly always more. Write your copy for the impatient, online reader. Here are some guidelines for the length of your content:
- Headings: 8 words or less
- Sentences: 15 ? 20 words
- Paragraphs: 40 ? 70 words
- Page word count: 250+ words
Eliminate pompous words and fancy phrases. Effective online writing is not about impressing the reader with your extensive vocabulary. It's about communicating. Use short, simple words. Get to the point. And then stop.
2. Write from me to you
The most powerful word in the English language is "YOU". Write for your reader, in a conversational tone, not for your ego.
Get to know your reader. Is there a common style or tone you need to use to reach her? Don't forget, she's come to your Web site to do something-make a purchase, obtain information, sign up for a subscription. Make sure every word you write moves her toward a solution.
3. Drive Actions With Content
Content is about getting the reader's attention and keeping it. Content is about selling. Make sure your content is driving your customer's actions. Then put that content on your home page.
4. Write for how people search
If you want your site to be found when people search the web, use words your target readers use. Before you begin to write, sit down and think carefully about the keywords you're going to use. Then carefully weave those words and phrases into your copy. Here's two Web sites that will help you find the right keywords and phrases for your site.
5. Create Effective Headings
The heading is the most important piece of content you'll write.
When writing headings:
- Keep them to eight words or less
- Include important keywords
- Avoid the use of adjectives and prepositions (and, a, the, of).
- Be clear and concise. Avoid wordy, wishy-washy phrases.
6. Write keyword-rich title tags
Title tags are a small piece of HTML code that appears in the top bar of your browser. "For example, "Acme Company Home Page." Title tags, along with meta keywords and meta descriptions, are one of several important factors in achieving high search engine rankings.
Title tags appear in your site's HTML code like this:
ACME COMPANY HOMEPAGE
You can view a site's title tag by clicking VIEW then SOURCE on your browser's tool bar.
Because search engines use title tags to gather information about your Web site you need to think carefully about what words you put in the tag. Don't be tempted to put your company name in the tag (unless you're a well-known brand like Nike or Microsoft).
Instead put specific keywords relating to your business. For example, if you're a California real estate company, you would want your company to appear in search engine results for searches on keywords such as "California Real Estate" or "Realtors in California." So, you would use the keywords "California Real Estate" or "California Realtors" in your title tags. If you wanted to be more specific, or you prefer seeking business in a specific geographic area you would use keywords such as "Silicon Valley Real Estate" or "Silicon Valley Realtors."
7. Provide links and connections
The web is about linking information. Make sure your site links your reader to other information and other sites link to you. Never make your Web site a dead-end. Some search engines, including Google, are based, in part, on their ability to find you from links on other sites
8. Write effective summaries, sentences and paragraphs
An effective summary is who, what, when, where, how. It's about getting the information across in 50 words or less. Keep your summaries short and factual. Make sure they encourage your reader keep reading.
Remember, keep sentences to between 15-20 words. Paragraphs between 40-70 words. Make your first sentence grab your reader's attention or they'll move on.
9. Sell Benefits not Features
If you want your Web site to sell your product or service you must write about benefits and not about features. A feature describes a product or service. A benefit is what the user gains from using that product or service. Don't say, " Our duvets are warm and comfortable," say "You'll be warm and comfortable in one of our duvets." Tell your customers how your product or service will make them happier, sexier, healthier, wealthier. In other words focus on making sure every line of your copy is dedicated to what's in it for them.
10. Edit. Edit. Edit. Then edit again
Mistakes in online copy are temporary and easily fixed, but by the time you've noticed your errors so have thousands of other people. Have two or three people proofread your text. Check it yourself for consistency in grammar, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations etc. And finally, read it backwards-you'll be surprised how many errors you'll spot.
About The Author
Julia is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in search engine marketing and copywriting, direct mail, brochures and other marketing materials businesses need to increase sales. To find out how Julia can help boost your companies profits visit www.juliahyde.com. Or email email@example.com. She'll get back to you right away.
8 Tips For Writing Headlines That Grab Attention (and Keep Prospects Reading!)
Effective headlines make all the difference in whether your prospect reads your marketing materials or simply tosses them to the side. You don't even have a chance for a sale if the audience won't read what you write. One way to keep prospects reading is to give your copy attention-grabbing headlines. Here are eight tips to make sure your headlines get the message across:1. Turn each headline into a problem or benefit-oriented statement. What interests a prospect most about what you offer? Reading headlines that tell how great your company is or focusing only on the features of your product or service won't cut it. Instead, speak to what appeals most to a prospect ? usually, that's the fact that you offer the solution to their problem.2. Make headlines short, sweet and to the point. Your reader's attention span can be measu...(related: Copywriting)
Writing Suitable Copy For The Press
Summer is finally here and school is out, but learning for the rest of us continues. Whether you're a seasoned PR professional working for a top agency, a novice just beginning a career, or a mid-level manager working in-house at a small business, the time comes when we all could use a refresher course in properly writing suitable copy for the press.My lesson occurred recently upon reading an inter...(related: Copywriting)
Health And Fitness: A Huge Industry In Need Of Writers
Think about how much you read about and spend on health and fitness.Do you ever exercise? Take supplements? Go on a diet? Visit the doctor sometimes? Most of us do all four. And how many books, magazines, tapes of videos ...(related: Copywriting)
Advice From Successful Freelancers: Starting & Maintaining A Freelancer Career
For the e-book, Advice from Successful Freelancers: How They Built Their Careers & How You Can Too!, I asked ten questions of freelancers who were living their dream life. Following are some of their answers. They cover successful marketing techniques, how to get client...(related: Copywriting)
7 Steps You Must Take Before Writing A Word Of Copy!
Copywriting ChecklistOkay, you know you have your product (or service) in front of you. Now it's time to get the word out with an attention-grabbing sales letter. But where do you begin? Whether you hire someone to write your copy, pass it off to a staff member or learn to write it yourself, you need this checklist.The Critical Steps to Take Before Writing Your Sales LetterOne of the biggest misconceptions new clients have when they come to me is I can whip out a sales letter in a few days. Wrong, wrong and wrong. A lot of preparation goes into writing copy. I spend on average 50% - 70% of my time PREPARING to write copy. If you don't do your homework, the chances go up exponentially that your copy ...(related: Copywriting)
How To Write Adverts That Forces People To Respond
Think for a moment some day and consider the kind of advertising you see in your post box, on the TV, on your computer, on the radio, etc. Then ask yourself this question, "Would I buy this or not?" If you say "No," then ask yourself why. If you say "Yes," then ask yourself why.Consider what is it that makes this advert attractive or what is it that this person's offer is deemed to be unattractive. By carrying out this exercise regularly you will be surprising ...(related: Copywriting)
Copywriting: Secrets Of A Freelancer
Lately, I've been getting emails from other copywriters who ask me questions like "What's your secret?" and "How did you do it?" and "Can I be your apprentice?"Aw, heck, are you serious? People are talking to me like I'm some kind of demi-goddess... when really, I'm just a humble girl from Jersey who's having a fun time running a freelance copywriting business.I take that back. Freelancing isn't fun. It's AMAZING. Brilliant marketing, like beautiful music, makes my arm hairs stand up. Meeting people who share my passion for writing and dreaming up clever advertising strategies exhilarates me. Connecting with entrepreneurial geniuses who can teach me things I didn't know before is such an incredible privilege. Having the option to walk away from people I don't respect... well, ...(related: Copywriting)
Can 97% Of Netpreneurs Be Wrong?
Why Some People's Ads Almost Always Make MoneyDiscover the Master Copywriter's Little-Known Secret of Locking in Profits!You don't know it yet, but in the next 5 minutes you are going to learntwo things that will enable you to command someone to do something anything ? and that person will do it without question. What's more, they'llthink it was their idea, not yours. Hypnotic Selling: Myth or Miracle?Dear unhappy business owner;Listen, we all know the key to success in any business is how well your message gets across. Do you know how to grab a visitor to your business and keep em? It's what they experience when they arrive that brings them back. And the biggest secret is-it's all in your writing!? Struggling with Your Marketing? Here's How to Fix That! (Read on!)? Who ...(related: Copywriting)
Can You Become A Freelance Copywriter In Los Angeles?
Is it out there? The chance to be a freelance copywriter in Los Angeles? For those looking to become a copy writer, finding employment in various cities can be difficult. In fact, most freelance writers around the world struggle to find employment or jobs that are within their own cities and home towns. But, if you want to bec...(related: Copywriting)
Six Reasons You Don?t Need A Technical Writer (and Why They?re Dead Wrong!)
I know, I know. Times are tough. You have to make due with the staff you have. It's a common and valid lament in today's workplace. You've got to do more with less, so an obvious place to cut costs is in your documentation efforts. After all, writers and editors are a luxury in lean times. You're a small company and you can produce your documentation in-house, right? Think again. Hiring the right freelancer to do the job correctly the first time around could save you hundreds or thousands in help desk calls, service calls, document revision, and distribution. Here's why.1. You want someone with your i...(related: Copywriting)