- By Kevin Sinclair
- Published 03/24/2008
The Internet is a virtual goldmine – call it a virtual El Dorado, if you will. And, there’s a gold rush out there. Just about every small business owner is doing his best at selling his product, waiting to get that big break – something that will bring home the bacon, the ham and the pudding, and much more. But, to get that big break is not so easy. And one of the reasons for that is small business owners treat their website as a display unit – a showcase for displaying their wares. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong because a website is much more – the website should be treated like a salesman who not only displays products but also communicates with the visitors and manages to convince them to buy the product. And for that to happen, a website needs good, sorry, make that great, copywriting. Fundamentals of Good Web Copy First impressions are the truest and they stay for a long time. And any website’s copy must create that killer first impression that can go a long way in making a sale. Needless to say, good web copy should be absolutely free from grammatical mistakes, and so it is essential to hire the services of a professional writer to create outstanding web copy. Apart from the grammar and writing part, here are the other fundamentals of good web copy: 1. It has to be accurate. A single false claim or even an exaggeration can have disastrous consequences. Every fact that is mentioned must be reliable or verifiable. Remember, if an exaggeration is discovered by a customer, he will blast the website on his blog and on various bulletin boards. Moral of the story: Say what you mean and mean what you say. 2. It has to be written in a conversational style. Like we said before, the website acts as a salesman and, just like a salesman, it should communicate with the visitor in everyday language, without confusing him with long words and big sentences. Think about how you talk in real life and then put it down on paper, and get it fine-tuned by a professional. Remember: short words, short sentences help! 3. The copy needs to be organized and should flow seamlessly from one paragraph to another without jumping the gun. There is beauty in logic and people love to read an interesting bit of copy that takes them by the hand and leads them through the jungle of words.
4. The copy has to be to the point. A heavily worded document is tedious to read and web visitors have short attention spans. Combine these two facts and figure it out for your
self! 5. Hype and oversell kills. Avoid them. Stick to the basics. Period. 6. Finally, the copy must be interesting to read. There’s no joy in reading short copy with short words that just goes blah blah and does not interest the visitor. It must be ensured that the copy has enough twists and turns to compel the visitor to read it in its entirety and then make a purchase. A website owner must liken writing copy to making a movie – plot, character, story, tautness, drama and suspense. Okay, What’s Next? Okay, let’s say now that you have sufficient knowledge to write web copy that will hold your visitor right up to the end. The next step is to build in the pitch that will make the visitor act and buy the product. And you can build up the visitor’s desire and make him act by building a value proposition, by making him an offer he cannot refuse! And, to build in this value proposition the website owner has to persuasively tell the visitor that if he buys from his website he’s getting a whole lot of benefits, along with a knockout deal on the price too. Once the website describes these benefits, it must then create a sense of urgency by announcing a time-limited offer or limited-visitor offer – something that will make the visitor act immediately on impulse and clinch the deal. This is one of the oldest sales techniques and it doesn’t fail – provided you have got all the fundamentals of good web copy going and the product you are selling does have some sort of a market – no matter how small the market may be. A Few Tips & Tricks 1. Always proofread and perfect the copy before it is published. 2. The copywriter must always place himself in the reader’s shoes before he writes the copy. If the copywriter does not get motivated or enthused by his own writing, then he must junk it until he gets it right. 3. The copy must not be written in an “I-am-clever-and-I-know-it” vein. Rather, it must connect with the readers by considering them as equals. Conclusion To conclude, you must get your inspiration and energy from these two super quotes: “The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and “Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish” by John Jakes.
Now combine the two and see the wisdom in them and go ahead and write that eyeball-grabbing copy you always wanted to write but didn’t do so because you were waiting for a spark that would egg you on. And we hope this article has given that boost to your imagination. Good luck.