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Web Copy: What’s in a Word?

January 31st, 2012

What makes good web copy? Whether you operate an enterprise or maintain a hobby blog, quality web writing can help you connect with your audience.

So says Rick Sloboda, Senior Web Copywriter at Webcopyplus, which helps businesses increase online traffic, leads and sales with optimized web copy. He speaks at Web-related forums and seminars, and conducts web content studies with organizations, such as Yale University.

I recently asked Rick about writing effective web copy.

What are the key ingredients to effective web writing?

A well-versed web writer writes for both the audience and search engine spiders, which is integral considering the majority of new visitors to websites arrive via Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines.

What’s important when writing for search engines?

Keywords. You need to write using the language of your target audience, and repeat the specific terms in your web copy, as well as your meta tags. For instance, if you want to rank high for “Vancouver fashion,” use the termVancouver fashion throughout your website.

What’s important when writing for the audience?

To deliver clear, concise and relevant web copy. About 80% of Internet users scan copy – they don’t read word for word. So making your web copy scannable promotes positive online experiences. Several web writing tactics can help, including descriptive headlines and links, and bullet points, versus walls of long-winded copy.

As a general rule of thumb, web copy should be about half the length of the copy you would use in traditional print media, such as brochures. On the fast-paced Web, less is more.

Can you expand on “relevant” web copy?

To get your visitors to take interest in your products or services, you need to write about things they care about. It seems completely obvious. However, business owners and copywriters alike tend to let their egos get in the way, which leads to self-centric web copy. What business owners and inexperienced copywriters want to say isn’t necessarily what prospects want or need to hear.

To achieve customer-centric web copy, your web content should focus on benefits, clearly conveying what your products or services can do for the visitor. You need to understand your audience’s trigger points – what will get them to take a desired action – to fully engage them and leverage your website’s full potential.

Speaking of action, you should always include a call to action on your website, whether it be buy now or contact us today. We might be working with cutting edge technologies, but the old-fashioned ‘ask for the sale’ still applies.

Rick Sloboda
Senior Web Copywriter