Is Your Website’s Copy Up to the Mark?
By Donald Nelson,
© copyright 2004
The Internet is a relatively new
medium. What works for you in your printed offline brochures and
advertising materials may or may not work on your web page. If you
have already invested either time or money or both in your website
you should carefully scrutinize the written words on your pages to
see if they can really deliver a return on your investment. Here
are five important questions to ask to when making a review of
your website’s copy.
1. Can a web visitor quickly grasp what your page is all about?
You only have a short time to let your web visitors know the
purpose of your website. If it is not crystal clear, they will
have already surfed on to another website. Headlines and sub
headings that convey your most important pieces of information are
a must, especially for the main page of your site.
Writing good headlines is a science in itself. Look at a
newspaper, almost every headline has a verb. Headlines must be
active, and they must be convincing. Marketeers and linguists
alike have identified what they call “power words”, words that are
emotive and draw attention like “breakthrough”, “new” ,
“discover.” Use these words to grip the attention of your web
visitor. An excellent introduction to the science of headline
Shelley Lowery’s article
or take a look at Ken Evoy's book
Make Yours Words Sell and you will find a complete tutorial on
the science of persuasive copywriting.
2. Is your “Unique Selling Proposition” highlighted?
There may be hundreds of websites offering the same thing that you
are offering. What sets you apart? What is the distinguishing
feature or benefit of your product that makes your product or
service different and, most importantly, desireable? It may be one
particular item, a combination of items or it may be the sum total
of all that you have to offer. If you were a web hosting firm it
might be “Worry Free Service at a Price You Can Afford.” This
particular particular item is known as your Unique Selling
Proposition (USP). It is your biggest “cannon”, and you have to
“shoot it” right at the top of your home page.
3. Have you clearly emphasized the benefits that a consumer
will get from your products or services?
It is important for you to first distinguish the features and the
benefits of your product or service. Using the example of the web
hosting firm, some features might be user-friendly control panels,
pre-installed cgi scripts, back up power supply, etc. Benefits are
not the same as features, benefits deriving from these features
would be: “Easy for you to maintain” and “you don’t have to worry
Remember, it is the benefits that sells your product or service,
not necessarily the features. You must convincingly show that your
product can answer the needs and desires of the person who has
just visited your web page.
4. Is the copy optimized so that your pages will do well in
search engine queries?
Optimization for search engines is something that traditional
advertising copy writers never had to deal with. No matter how
convincing your copy is, if no one can find your page then it is
useless. Be careful not to hide your keywords with synonyms. If
you want to be found for a particular word or phrase, then make
sure that this word or phrase is in your headlines, in the body
text and in clickable text (“anchor text”) of links on your page.
For example, if you have the sentence: Click Here to Learn more
about our Web Hosting Services. The clickable or active portion of
the link should not be the words “click here” but rather your
keywords, “Web Hosting Services”. If your copy doesn’t contain and
emphasize your keywords, your page will not fare well in Internet
queries, even if your meta tags include these words and phrases.
5. Is there a call to action?
What is your “most wanted response”? What do you want the surfer
to do after she or he has seen your pages? Maybe you would like
her to order your product, download an introductory ebook, to join
your mailing list, to fill out a form, or to call you up for an
appointment? You can’t expect her to do this, unless you ask her
to do it and show her how to do it. You may need a nice button
that says “Order Now”, or a sub headline that says “Download your
Free ebook.” The “call to action” is very important and that’s why
you should make it prominent, and repeat it more than once.
So, take a look at your website, and make sure that your copy is
really doing the job of capturing the attention of your web
visitors, convincing them about the merits of your offering, and
showing them how to take the next step.
Related articles on this website:
Content: the Key to Increased Internet Traffic
Ten Tips for Effective
Internet Article writing
Donald Nelson is
a web developer, editor and social worker. Hehas been working on
the Internet since 1995, and is currently the director of
a firm providing low cost search engine optimization, submission
and web promotion services.