Be yourself and don’t try to hard to be correct. People like to deal with people so if you make it to hype or professional it sounds off alarm bells.
If you can’t write then hire someone to do it for you but have a go first.
Highlight the benefits and what’s in it for you visitor.
Don’t use big words and keep it brief
Be excited about wat your writing and it will come through to the reader.
Research onhow users readon the Web andhow authors should writetheir Web pages. Mainly based on studies by John Morkes andJakob Nielsen.
People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead,theyscanthe page, picking out individual words and sentences. In arecent studyJohn Morkes and I found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.
As a result, Web pages have to employscannable text, using
- highlightedkeywords(hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and colour are others)
- meaningfulsub-headings(not “clever” ones)
- one ideaper paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
- the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion.
- half the word count(or less) than conventional writing
We found thatcredibility is importantfor Web users, since it is unclear who is behind information on the Web and whether a page can be trusted.
Credibility can be increased by high-quality graphics,good writing, and use ofoutbound hypertext links. Links to other sites show that the authors have done their homework and are not afraid to let readers visit other sites.
Usersdetested “marketese”; the promotional writing style with boastful subjective claims (“hottest ever”) that currently is prevalent on the Web. Web users are busy: they want to get the straight facts. Also, credibility suffers when users clearly see that the site exaggerates.
Measuring the Effect of Improved Web Writing
To measure the effect of some of the content guidelines we had identified, we developed five different versions of the same website (same basic information; different wording; same site navigation). We then had users perform the same tasks with the different sites. As shown in the table,measured useabilitywas dramatically higher for the concise version (58% better) and for the scannable version (47% better). And when we combined three ideas for improved writing style into a single site, the result was truly stellar:124% better useability.
|Site Version||Sample Paragraph||Usability Improvement
(relative to control condition)
|Promotional writing (control condition)
using the “marketese” found on many commercial websites
|Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000),Carhenge(86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).||0%
with about half the word count as the control condition
|In 1996, six of the best-attended attractions in Nebraska were Fort Robinson State Park, Scotts Bluff National Monument, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum,Carhenge, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.||58%|
using the same text as the control condition in a layout that facilitated scanning
|Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were:
using neutral rather than subjective, boastful, or exaggerated language (otherwise the same as the control condition)
|Nebraska has several attractions. In 1996, some of the most-visited places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000),Carhenge(86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).||27%|
using all three improvements in writing style together: concise, scannable, and objective
|In 1996, six of the most-visited places in Nebraska were:
It was somewhat surprising to us that useability was improved by a good deal in the objective language version (27% better). We had expected that users would like this version better than the promotional site (as indeed they did), but we thought that the performance metrics would have been the same for both kinds of language. As it turned out, our four performance measures (time, errors, memory, and site structure) were also better for the objective version than for the promotional version.
Our conjecture to explain this finding is thatpromotional language imposes a cognitive burdenon users who have to spend resources on filtering out the hyperbole to get at the facts. When people read a paragraph that starts “Nebraska is filled with internationally recognised attractions,” their first reaction isno, it’snot,and this thought slows them down and distracts them from using the site.
Get a Headline that Grabs
The home page of any site is the key web page, especially if it is where you want a person to take some action, such as buying something or subscribing to something.
So, one of the great ways of building momentum, and also increasing the number of people who act on this, is by creating some urgency.There are many different ways in which this urgency can be created, and below are just a few:
1.Provide them with an offer for a limited period of time.
2.Offer limited supplies of a particular product.
3.Offer them seasonal specials.
4.Why not offer them a free gift when they subscribe or pay for a particular item.
5.Daily deals – this is a great way of bringing in customers.
However, just a word of caution when using these types of tactics:It is important that you are both credible and honest with the visitors to your site.So if you are saying that an offer expires on a particular date or at a particular time, then make sure that it does.Just imagine how bad it would look if someone came back to your site the day after, only to find the offer still in place.
But there are other ways in which you can imply urgency on your site.You could show a page with the prices, and that they are the best prices to be found on the web as at that time.With this method you are not providing a time limit or a limit on how much of the product is available.But by using a time stamp, you are also implying that the prices on these products could increase at any time.
The whole idea of this method is so that you get people moving.So those who would normally be sitting on the fence will actually do something and make that all important purchase.
But above all, you can sell with urgency as long as you do it with integrity, or you may do more damage than good.
How to Go About Writing a Headline
So just how you go about writing a great headline?It’s quite simple really.What you need to do is spend less time stressing about how to write your headline, and more time on figuring out what it should say.
Even if you say the wrong thing beautifully, it is not going to do you any good, but if you happen to say the right thing with poor wording, then this will help you much better in the long run.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of copywriters out there today who will give way to their own egos.These are the types who want to show everybody else what wonderfully talented copywriters they are.So, it is important that you put your ego aside and spend time deciding what your headline is going to say.
So just how do you know what to say?
It is more important that you focus your mind on the desires and wants of your target audience, rather than on either the product or service that you are trying to sell.
Why use hundreds of words when 1 or 2 will suffice? It should also be deeply engaging, interesting so that it excites those that come to your site.It should actually make them sit up and say “yes” to what you are offering.
Keep it Short and Sweet
You are looking to keep your visitors coming to your site and also get them to return.There are a number of points you should consider when copywriting for the web.
Keep your copy short and simple
What you should remember is that unless a visitor has been directed to a particular page on a site, more often than not, they will only read 1 or 2 lines of the text.So the longer your text is, the less likely they will want to read it.So if you can, do not add any long copy to any pages where visitors are not expecting it to be.
Also keep your copy simple.This matters as much as how long it is.It is important that your visitors are able to understand what has been written on their first reading.They do not want to have to spend time thinking about what you have written.
In most cases, you should be able to convey one key idea effectively in just one or two lines of writing.By writing any more then that, you are likely to ruin the chance of the first idea you are providing to get through to them.
So by anticipating that your visitors will be willing to learn more about something, then they will look for the page that has more copy on it.So provide them with a link to another page of your site where they can get hold of the information that they need.
What if you do need to write long copy?
If you do need to include some longer copy, then organize it.Even if your visitors are expecting to find a page heavy with text, they may not actually be willing to read it.So in order to help them, divide any distinct ideas you have into separate paragraphs.Provide them with useful headings, sub headings and bulleted lists.This is a great way of introducing key ideas to them deliberately.
It is best to assume that not all the visitors to your site will read longer pieces in their entirety.So write copy that they will be able to skim through and lets them read the parts that they are only interested in.
Although longer copy does not need as direct as short copy is, it should still be easy to read.You will find that those visitors to your site who have difficulty understanding what has been written, will stop reading it.
Make your Copy Lively
Keep your copywriting clear and write vividly.You should be aiming to write in a light, unassuming tone of voice.If what you have written is boring or overbearing, this will in turn affect the reader, and what you are trying to convey will not get through to them.
So use a consistent voice throughout your copy.By doing this, visitors will more quickly recognize it and so become familiar with it.The more familiar a site or subject is to them, the more effective it will be.
Plan in Order to Succeed
It is vital that during the planning stage of your copywriting for the web, you understand what it is, exactly, you hope to accomplish.
You have already determined that you need to increase direct sales, build a subscriber base, circulate information, as well as provide technical support.But in order to do this, you must make sure that your web copy can help you to achieve these goals.
It is important to decide who your ideal customer is and just what it is that they really want.Then find and craft the words that will most effectively bring these people to your site.
It is also important to remember that without a detailed plan, it will become impossible to know who you are targeting.Without a target, you are likely to miss out on those people who are willing and eager to pay for your help and expertise.
So when planning your web copy, it is important to know that your target audience is normally smarter and more knowledgeable than the typical visitor to a site.
Now that you have started planning, you need to start looking at whom to target.
Targeting is used to figure out which customers will have any problems they can be solved by using your particular product.It is therefore vital that you become an expert in relation to every single benefit that your product offers.Then, once you are able to determine who you need to target, you can begin to search them out.So start building a profile of those people who will benefit from your help the most.Once you know who they are, then begin by repeatedly using strong web copy, and the most magnetic of the benefits your product can offer as bait.
At last, you have found your target audience, and now you must develop a strategy for writing your copy.
In order to do this, the best way is to do the following:
1.In the first part, write about what exactly the customer wants.
2.The tone is how your writing sounds to those that you are targeting.
3.When executing your copy it is important that you are able to present your idea to them in an easy way.
How To Think Outside The Box …
And Laugh All The Way To The Bank
From: Brett McFall
You need to listen to the recording below IMMEDIATELY.
It’s hot off the presses. In a LIVE interview, two of the most switched on ladies in the country
– Victoria Furey and Sabrina Yuille – have uncovered some ofmy biggest copywriting secrets for creating wealth.
- What I look for in a product or service in order to turn sales around lightning quick(imagine if you knew how to do the same for yourself)
- How to find the “killer” punch that can massively increase sales in just days(this is called finding something unique about your product or service – use my simple little formula revealed here)
- How to create an offer so IRRESISTIBLE that people can’t help but spend money with you(this is so easy it’s not funny – use my advice here to get the money coming in quick… quick… quick – in fact people will feel silly if they don’t buy from you)
- On-the-spot examples to make every point crystal-clear(these stories will get your mind racing – you won’t be able to stop the ideas flowing for your own situation … in fact you’ll probably have to pause the recording just so you can think clearly! Isn’t this the sort of injection and inspiration you need right now?)
So don’t dilly dally – hit the play button now … This will be the most important hour you spend this week(so don’t tell me you haven’t got time to listen to it – you haven’t got the time NOT to):
Audio Must be Online
THE10 PRINCIPLESOF EFFECTIVE COPY WRITING FOR THE NET:
1. Know Your Product
This is the cornerstone of good copy writing. Know your product and bepassionateabout it. Believe in it. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be selling it. It is not only unethical to sell something you wouldn’t buy yourself, but also difficult and unpleasant.
If you have a product that you *know* will change your customer’s life for the better, then copy writing becomes much easier. You’re doing her a favor – offering this product at this price – believe that yourself first.
After that, killer copy comes naturally.
2. Know Your Customer
Before you write the first word, create a profile customer.
- Is it a techno-peasant housewife or an IT company executive?
- Income range?
- In a hurry?
Select your words and page length to suit your reader – not yourself.
Then, once your web site is tailor made for her unique needs, it is time totest… Find about 3 people who more or less fit your profile customer’s specs and let them loose on the site. Give them tasks like finding your e-mail address, getting to the order page, finding information on a specific product etc.
See how easily they find it and ask for general comments as they go.
Testing is absolutely vital.
My own sales copy always looks good to me – but I wrote it, so I know exactly how it’s structured. Someone else might find it tedious or even confusing.
Confusing web sites is theNUMBER ONEreason people leave.
Swear at them if you must, but don’t confuse them.
That is why youhave totest.
3. Stress Benefits
Whatever you do, DON’T put you mission statement on your homepage.
We just don’t care.
We want benefits! What can your product do for me? Right now!
- Can it make me rich?
- Can it save me time?
- Can it entertain me?
- Can it make me feel better about myself?
That’s what people want.
Your product’s greatest benefit should be right in the top header in bold red letters. Your first three or four words should hit them between the eyes.
You never read everything on every page you visit. You scan – you look for something that seems interesting.
Statistics show that you have10secondsto grab your visitor’s attention. If you don’t, she’ll move on. No sentence starting with “Our goal is to…” has ever grabbed my attention. I don’t care about you. I care about me. What does your site/product do forme?Right now!
I know this seems harsh, but you’d do well to take it seriously. It’s been proven many times. E-consumers are very back-button-happy. It’s a big web with lots to see. You HAVE TO give them a reason to stay on your site.
4. Establish Trust
On the Net you don’t have the advantage of speaking face to face with your customer, so you have to load as much credibility into your words as possible.
Offer a free trial, a money-back guarantee, testimonials, put your e-mail address, physical address and phone number at the bottom of every page, show a (small) photograph of yourself etc.
Most important:Speak to your visitor.Don’t ramble about technical specs of your products. Imagine sitting down with a friend and telling her about something that can really enhance her life.
5. Use Headings Like This One
Break it up.
Few people will read your entire page. Make it scannable.
Each heading should do 2 things:
- Grab their attention
- Give them clues about the content of the next two or three paragraphs.
Remember that reading from the screen puts extra strain on the eyes. Make the read easy, quick and informative.
6. Words (not) To Use
Free; proven; discover; breakthrough; learn; you/your; benefit; first; complete; exclusive etc.
If; but; should; could; etc.
Why say “If you want to get to the top of the Search Engines…” when you could say “Nail the search engines in five easy steps. Read on… “.
As a rule of thumb, assume that your visitor couldn’t care less about you. Don’t use “I” or “me” more than “you”.
7. Keep It Short
I mentioned page-length up there at #2. The key is to keep it as short as you can. When you’re done writing your killer copy, see if you can say it in half the words. Don’t sacrifice quality though. Make it as long as it needs to be without dragging it out.
8. Create Urgency
Throw in something special for the first 100 subscribers or make it “this month only”. Your word selection is important here. Don’t say “Subscribe now!”. Put a specific time limit to it – “Subscribe during July and I’ll give you… “.
Try to get them to buy on their first visit, because chances of them returning later are slim. To overcome this create a mini course or something of value to allow you to keep corresponding with them.
9. Get A Response
Hook’em the first time.
If they don’t bookmark you, they probably won’t find you again. Have a back-up response ready.
Let’s say that you have a visitor that just can’t make up her mind. With a bit more convincing, you’ll hook her, but she’s at the end of the page and thinking about the dreaded back-button.
So give her something – like a free subscription to your newsletter or a trial download. That way you survive in her memory and you get another opportunity to persuade her.
10. Spelling, Grammar and Formatting
I won’t tell you that a typo will kill your sales effort. The same applies to grammatical errors. Use a spellchecker of some sort. I make a habit of pasting my text in MS Word and running a spell-check. It saves a lot of time later.
EASY ON THOSE CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!
They look unprofessional. Usebold textandcolorto highlight important points.
|“The 7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid with Your Promotional Web Copy”
With Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero,
President ofRed Hot Copy
Audio Must be Online
Using a Swipe file?
Simply put, it’s a collection of other peoples ad copy and web sites. Before the days of the Internet it would usually consist of a folder or scrap book. Every time you spotted some good advertising copy, either from a newspaper or from some letter that arrived in the mail that morning, you would keep it in your ‘swipe file’.
Whenever you came to write some new copy of your own, you could use these clippings and letters for inspiration and ideas.
With more and more sales copy appearing on the web, you can formulate an ‘electronic’ version of the same idea. I store web pages and copy of good sales copy in my favorites and sometimes I even print out copies and drop them in my now large collection of paper clippings and letters.
How to decide what goes in your swipe file?
Whenever you come across a piece of sales copy, whether it’s on the web, in your email, in a newspaper or it arrives in your postal mail, you need to take a couple of moments to look it over. If the headline grabs your attention and the letter draws you in then the chances are you are holding a good piece of copy in your hands. Never assume that every piece of copy you see is working well for it’s author, I’ve seen some hopeless examples arrive from even the largest companies (who also should be paying the best copy writers).
I actually have three sections to my personal swipe files. The first is what I considered to be good copy. The second is copy that has some good points but is weak in a few areas. The third is for total trash copy. I keep the trash copy for one reason – I can pull it out now and again and for practice I have a go at re-working some of it. Practice makes perfect and no matter how long you’ve been trying to sell through direct copy, the more practice you have, the better.
How to use your swipe file?
The main use of this collection of copy is to learn from the ‘good’ stuff. I use it for inspiration, and sometimes I pull out some good copy, and then with pen and highlighter marker in hand, I go through it and highlight the parts that are really holding it together and really making me get drawn in and convinced. I scribble notes in the margins too (now you see why I often print off good web copy).
As time goes on you will become better at working out which parts work and why certain things have the effect they do.
The only word of warning I have is this: Never just try to rip-off someone else’s copy. Firstly because it’s a breach of copyright and that happens to be illegal. Secondly, because you will never become good at writing copy yourself if all you do is copy someone else. And thirdly, although their copy looks good – there’s no guarantee it is definitely working for them, and no guarantee that what works for their product will work for yours. You always need to test copy yourself, but that is a whole separate issue.
If you are not already keeping a swipe file – start today. No matter what level you are at, as far as copy writing ability is concerned, you will always benefit from this powerful resource.
The secret of good copywriting for the web is to use conversational writing. Read it out loud to yourself to make sure it makes sense.
Most importantly be honest and don’t make any outrageous claims. Try and provide the reader with as much information as possible.