Effective Web Writing
is the Key to Success.
Web writing must accomplish three things:
1. Get found by search engines
(Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, etc.)
The Web writer is responsible for on-page search engine optimization (SEO). She must weave the primary keyword into her pages in key positions as seamlessly as she can. Both search engines and people like focused writing, so Web writing should concentrate on one topic per page.
The primary keyword should be in:
- the file name (URL)
- the title
- the first word in the keyword list (if more than one)
- the description
- the headline
- the first and last paragraphs
- the body copy (2 to 4 percent)
- a text link, i.e. "Leave Book Covers and return to Book Design."
Use "H1" HTML tags with your headline; and use subheadings with "H2" and/or "H3" tags.
2. Attract visitors with interesting and/or valuable information.
Web surfers are exposed to more information than they can process, so most of them have learned to skim. Good writing for the Web facilitates skimming with bulleted lists, numbered lists, tables, and lots of white space. Use clear subheadings to break up your material into smaller chunks.
It helps if you are truly passionate about your subject because your passion will come shining through. With the exception of the more technical sites, a conversational style is preferred. I am not a great conversationalist, so I just strive for clarity. Microsoft tells me I usually write on an eighth grade level. I think my style can best be described as grade school PowerPoint.
Surfers on the Web are not looking for you or your business. People search for information, for solutions. So give them what they want. The more keyword focused information you provide, the more visitors you will attract.
When you provide your readers with the information they are looking for, a bond is formed. They begin to trust you; they begin to know you. This is known as "pre-selling," and is very important.
3. Get visitors to do something or buy something.
Ninety-seven to ninety-eight percent of all online business websites fail.
- They fail because they don’t attract enough traffic.
- They fail because they don’t do search engine optimization.
- They fail because they prepare to sell and collect money, before they have provided what their visitors are searching for: information.
- They fail because their sales copy is not written for sophisticated Web surfers.
The Internet crowd has become allergic to blatant sales pitches because they are everywhere, even where they shouldn’t be. Standard sales copy used to work, but we are so inundated that we have learned to spot it a mile off.
I used to be concerned when I was told the price of something was going up. Today, I just giggle because I know the price of everything on the Web is doubling tomorrow.
When I realize I have to scroll down a 40 foot long web page to find the price of an eBook; I know it is going to cost too much, so I head over to the Kindle store instead.
The most common use of search engines is to locate information or to get help. People are not looking for a sales pitch. Web surfers are not a captive audience. They are only a click away from moving on, if they are annoyed.
If I am searching for a new broccoli recipe, I don’t want to read a sales pitch for organic broccoli; and I don’t want to read a phony review of the ten best types of broccoli with a recommendation for the one with the highest commission.
The needs of your visitors are your number one priority.
The sale comes second. The benefits of your product need to be subtly interwoven with great content that is of value to your visitor, or presented after his needs are met.
For example, if I am explaining that you have to notify the search engines every time you add or modify a page, which is really a hassle, I would never fail to mention that “Solo Build It!” does that for you.
It is important to make your information scannable.
It is even more important to make your sales copy scannable. Eighty percent of your traffic will leave after scanning the opening headline.
Use lots of white space. Use blank lines between paragraphs instead of indents. Use bulleted lists and numbered lists.
Begin with an opening headline that tells what your product can do for your customers.
List all of your products features, and then rewrite them into benefits. Confusing features and benefits is the #1 copywriting problem. Benefits tell us what’s in it for the customer.
Turn as many benefits into subheadings (H2 or H3 tags) as possible, and then provide the details.
Put your entire sales pitch on one page.
List all of the benefits that could possible persuade someone to buy, but please don’t make it 40 feet long.
End with a call to action.
Let the customer know specifically what you would like them to do.
Write short simple sentences.
Do not use technical terms, acronyms, jargon, or hype. Positive tone always.
Want to learn more?
Take the NetWriters Masters Course. It’s free.
It is the only book about netwriting that covers both PREselling and selling (every other book on netwriting focuses only on writing to sell -- this itself is a reflection of that "starting-at-the-end" philosophy).
The Netwriting Masters Course mixes in some standard offline copywriting techniques and some new e-techniques. You don’t need special creative writing classes.
WARNING: The Netwriting Masters Course is full of sound information; however, it is also full of links to SiteSell’s Solo Build It!, a fill-in-the-blanks easy, but powerful business website building platform.
I use it, and highly recommend it, primarily because it is fill in the blanks simple, yet it is the most sophisticated and the most powerful hosting and business website building program available today.
It comes with all the training you need to build a successful online business. Their step-by-step Action Guide (Your choice of video or text) is indispensable and available nowhere else.
It is the most successful e-business package available, and they have the stats to prove it, should you be interested.
Full disclosure: I would receive a referral commission if you were to purchase Solo Build It!.
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