Monthly Archives: June 2008

Writing web copy

Many people think that writing a website is easy and that it’s just the same as any other sales copy. I disagree.

Why web copy is different from other sales copy

Reading sales copy in a newsletter or a brochure is different from reading on a computer screen. There is an urgency on the web that isn’t there in physical sales materials. Many people find it uncomfortable to read on screen and so they want to get the relevant information as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Making it easy for web readers

The technique I have found most effective – and yet many people don’t use it – is to have sub-headings for most paragraphs. This allows readers to scan the page to see if it’s for them. If the sub-headings catch their interest then they’ll read further.

Why having sub-headings makes it harder for writers

This is why I say that writing good web content isn’t easy. You have to be able to summarisethe content of each paragraph in a sub-heading that is interesting, relevant and engaging. This takes creativity, practice and experience.

If you only get one page professionally written…

Your homepage is your first impression on the web. It’s a make or break page. If you don’t have the resources to have your whole site professionally written then I would urge you to at least get your homepage written by a professional web copywriter. Failing that, get it edited by a professional web copywriter. That’s probably the most cost-effective way of getting a homepage that makes a great first impression.

Helping struggling entrepreneurs

I was reading another blog the other day and came across some information that really interested me. Like many people I like to contribute to charity from time to time to give back or “pass forward” some of the bounty I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given. Also, like many people, I hate giving to the telemarketed charities where I know so much of my donation will go to the sales person, the marketing company and the administration of the charity. That’s why when I read about Kiva I was really impressed.

What is Kiva and what does it do?

I guess the best way to describe Kiva is as an enabling organisation. It co-ordinates microfinance loans to entrepreneurs in third world countries. It partners with microfinance charities in these countries and passes on your donation to them. You get to choose which project you loan your money to and how much you give. There are details of who the money is being lent to and what they want to do with it.  And whenever you visit their website you can see how many loans have been paid back each week and more. When the loan is paid back you can opt to either get the money paid back to you; re-loan it to another project; or give it to Kiva to help defray their expenses. 100% of your money goes to the people who need it.

Re-usable charity

This is a fabulous charity and I love the idea that any money I give will keep on working as it is lent out multiple times to hard working people who are doing there best to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. If you’re interested to find out more then visit www.kiva.org and see how easy it is to make a real, measurable difference.

OK! You’re the best at what you do. Why isn’t your website?

People tend to assume that because they are acknowledged as the best in their field it doesn’t matter if their website isn’t the best it could be. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We’re a community of consumers that has come to rely on the web for information

I’ll give you an example without mentioning any names. I had heard about a world class hairdresser and wanted to know a bit more about him before I parted with my cash. So the first port of call was his salon website. It really didn’t do him justice.

The copy was full of business-speak

Who talks about “core-objectives” and “directional boutique environments” to people who want a great haircut? This site patently wasn’t written with the target audience in mind. It looks like it was written to impress a bank manager.

The colours were pale and washed out

Pale pink with white text reversed out is very, very hard to read. Why make it difficult for your customers? And, trust me on this, a paler pink text on pale pink is almost invisible. Why would a person do such a thing? Because they don’t know any better or because they don’t care? Either way it put me off.

If you’re good at what you do then your website must reflect it

If you have a cheap and nasty website you can’t expect people to pay $200+ for a haircut. It doesn’t look professional and it casts doubt on your professionalism too. Most people check businesses out on the web these days before they do business with them. This is your surrogate persona and it has to reflect who you are; how good you are and the standard of your services. Don’t sell yourself short.

New services for cash-strapped, time-poor small businesses

Small businesses always do it tough compared to their larger relatives. Rising costs hit the bottom line hard and so they are always looking for ways to become leaner.

How to cut costs without impacting new business opportunities

At The Copywriter Online we’re always looking for ways to help businesses gain new business and maintain current business relationships in an efficient and cost-effective way. That’s why we’re introducing our new editing service.

Save money without losing impact or SEO effectiveness!

OK, so you don’t have much time and you don’t have scads of money to throw about for snappy, SEO, sales-oriented copywriting. Our new service is just for you! You write the basic copy, give us a list of your keywords (if it’s for web copy) and let us massage your copy into effective,interesting and engaging copy. Whether you need a web page, a newsletter, a blog or a brochure, we can edit your copy to more effectively deliver your message.

What is good copy?

This is the question everyone would like to know the answer to. It seems to me there is no one right answer either. What is good copy for one audience or medium won’t necessarily work well for another.

Are there are any common factors?

I think that there are some “must have” qualities before something qualifies as good copy. Here’s my list. See what you think and feel free to post your list or additions you think are important.

  1. It must be written in a style that appeals to its target audience
  2. It should be clear what is being sold
  3. Benefits and unique selling propositions should be well articulated
  4. It should answer the implied question “Why this product and not another?”
  5. It should assist the reader to understand why they need the product or service
  6. It should be interesting and engaging and make the reader want to know more
  7. And it should contain a call to action