How to Write a Good Web Copy: A Three Point Checklist for Better Web Text
Nowadays, almost anyone can create a website and try their luck at ecommerce, services or any other business you can think of. But being online is not enough. We’ve been so immersed in media consumption that “good” is actually terrible. Web copy must be great. It mus communicate value, do it quickly, and make it fun as well. Here’s a quick checklist that can help you write a better copy.
What is the goal of the web page?
Before you put pen to paper, make sure you know what the page is about, what you want to achieve with it:
- Do you want to convince people that your idea/product/service is the best out there
- Do you want to inform visitors that you have a unique product or service
- Do you want to entertain visitors with a funny case study or event
Once you know what the goal of the page is, you can set the tone of voice and wording you use. A page that is built to inform will speak and sound differently than a page that is built to convince people to fill up a form or purchase something online.
Here are some sample goal formulas:
The goal of this page is to make visitors understand that my hairstylist services are unique in town because I sterilize all my tools, there are 50 hairstyles to choose from, and there are 50 dyes to choose from. They can even schedule online.
The goal of this page is to let my visitors know that there will be a Sales Mania in our local store, and that everybody who gets the discount code from this page will get a 10% discount on anything they buy.
The goal of this page is to share an uneasy situation that we had with a customer, and how this funny event got resolved, making the client happy.
Pinning down the goal of the webpage will help you set your mind on the right lane, so you can communicate with clarity.
What is the best competitive keyword I want to rank for?
Once you know what you want to say, it’s now time to figure out how to word it.
Performing a solid keyword research using the free Google Keyword Tool or any other free or premium service can make or break the success of your new page. This is why it is best if you take at least 10-15 minutes researching for a good keyphrase. Once you nail down the best keyphrase, that fine one with a good Search/Competition ratio, it’s now time to start writing. Come up with a good title and description, and of course make sure the keyphrase is in both. Also, sprinkle the keyphrase in the web copy. Less is more.
A Basketball or a bucket-load of golf balls?
Make sure you focus your text on one or two similar phrases, and keep every paragraph on the subject. Every single page should carry a single big idea that you can then break down and explain/support with the web copy. In a sense, a good web copy is very similar to a good speech.
Several years ago I attended a public speaking seminar held by a guy from a consulting firm somewhere from Ohio. The guy spent plenty of time explaining key concepts of public speaking, and when it came to cover the issue of speech length and content:
“When you deliver a speech, you want to deliver a packed succinct concept that your audience will easily identify and capture. Think of it as a game of throwing and catching. What do you think, is it easier for a player to catch a good pass of a single, big and distinctive basketball, or will she be happier if she has to chase a bucket-full of golf balls? It’s easier for her to catch that single basketball. And that’s the same with your audience, if you pass on a single distinctive idea, they’ll get it. If you throw at them a bunch of stuff without any structure, they’ll miss most of it.”
When there’s too much going on in your web copy people have difficulties figuring out what the big idea is. If you try to cover too big of a turf on a single post you’ll let people wonder around, and everybody will end up drawing out a different point. Dr. Flint McGlaughlin over at MarketingExperiments calls it unsupervised thinking, we can call it confusion, or losing the crowd, or whatever else fancies you. The point is, you’ve somehow got visitors on your site, and instead of giving them something to follow through, with over-delivering, you’re actually chasing them away.
Ah, just let visitors find their own conclusion from my little native, right? Um… WRONG. If visitors want to bother solving the plot, they’ll read a crimi-novel or do Calculus. When it comes to communication on the web, you better drive the point in small, memorable package that everybody can remember.
Figure out what you want to achieve with your web copy and assume the mental position that is suitable. Then, go over to Google Keyword Tool and spend about ten minutes researching the ideal keyphrase you want to cover. Put it in the page’s Title, Description and mention it a few times in the web copy. Lastly, make sure you have a single big idea you want to communicate, and repeat it in this form:
Tell them what you’re about to tell them, Tell Them, and Tell Them what you’ve told them.