The Secrets Of Writing Website Copy That Keeps Your Visitor Reading Each Page!
How to Make your Headlines Work
The first item to load and the first item read is usually your headline, unless it is a graphic, which can take a long time to load and by then the visitor is most likely halfway down your page! Your headline must attract attention, inform, and interest the reader if you want them to stay on the page.
The purpose of your headline is to make people read the first paragraph, and the purpose of your first paragraph is to make people read the second paragraph, and so on down the page until you ask your reader to take affirmative action. Many people writing copy for Website make the most terrible mistakes: Click Here to read an article about this topic.
A decade or two ago, all headlines were short and direct to the point, similar to a book title, but today a longer, descriptive headline with a by-line or two is much more effective.
As an example of this change, if you were selling a shampoo for dogs your headline may have read:
New Dog Shampoo
Today, it is considered more effective to write a descriptive headline that either outlines the problem, provides a solution, or both!
Give Your Pet A Fresh Look
With This New Dog Shampoo
They Will Look Better And Feel Better!
This headline is not only more descriptive but it adds a benefit and the majority of dog owners will be attracted by it and glance down the page. Some may start reading the copy in your first paragraph, but research shows that most people scan the page first.
This is why it is important that you made your page interesting for this quick scan by providing things that will catch their eye and attention: Subheads, photos, and graphics.
Why Your Readers Scan Subheadings
When a Website page opens, viewers quickly scan the page looking for items of interest. When you look at the Google Analytics for a particular page, you may find most visitors leave within 10-seconds. Website surfing is a similar process to window shopping; you don't look in detail at every item in a shop window, but you rapidly scan the window for something of interest, and if you don't see it you walk on to the next one.
The one thing visitors won't do is read your carefully crafted, Website copy. Not at the first reading, anyway.
They will glance down the Website page with eyes flicking from item to item, and if you've used informative subheadings and made them stand out, your visitor will read them and perhaps a line or two of copy.
Make It Easy To Read
You must make it easy for visitors to find topics of interest to them, and then provide copy that encourages them to read at least the first paragraph, and hopefully much more.
Two common mistakes you will often see are:
- Long, bulky paragraphs
- Wide columns of text.
The easier it is for the visitor to read your Website copy, the more likely they will stay on the page and absorb your message. If you provide overlong sentences and massive paragraphs, you will lose most people. They just don't have the time.
Short paragraphs of two or three sentences in your Website copy are much easier to read on a computer screen than long, 12 or 15 line paragraphs. Although the visitor can adjust font size with most browsers, they mostly cannot be bothered to make the effort. Set your initial font sizes so that they are easy to read for most people.
This division is set at 700 pixels in width and is easy for your eyes to scan quickly from left to right across each line. Some Websites like to use almost the full width of the screen, and set their page width to 1000 to 1200 pixels, and then format paragraphs to the whole width.
Visitors quickly get bored with this style of format and can often lose their place, giving it up altogether. A column width of 600 to 700 pixels may be ideal for most copy.
Speed readers like to read vertically down a page, without any side-to-side movements of their eyes. If your column of copy is too wide, you will make it very hard for them to take in your complete message.
Let Your Copy Flow
The whole purpose of your Website is to inform and persuade your visitors, not to impress them with your knowledge and expertise. Click here to read an article on this topic.
Your Website copy must be simple and easy to read, so avoid complicated words that you wouldn't normally use in conversation. Print your completed Website page and read it out aloud. You will soon find the mistakes and places for improvement.
Take care with abbreviations and acronyms, because your readers may not be aware of their meaning. You can write, "Take care of your PC..." in preference to "Take care of your personal computer..." because it's a common acronym in everyday use for more than 30 years. However, you are advised to avoid technical jargon, shortened words, and slang that is used only by a specific group of people—unless, of course, your Website is specifically aimed at that type of person.
In your Website copy, don't use long sentences to describe something that can be said in a few words. Great writers take hours to ensure that each sentence is reduced to the fewest possible words without losing any meaning.
For example, you don't write: "In consideration of the fact that..." you must simply start, "Because..." and don't write, "This new software costs the sum of $39.99" you write, "This new software costs $39.99"—avoid all unnecessary words. Cut them out of your copy.
Put Purpose Into Website Copy
The purpose of your Website, the reason you have one, and the action you want from your visitors must be uppermost in your mind with every word of Website copy that you write. It is the very first question you ask yourself before you start the design and structure, and way before you even think about copy and content.
What result do I want from my Website?
With this in mind, you can now craft your pages and create your Website copy. However, make sure you don't lose sight of your objective. If your Website is a single page promoting the sale of your eBook, don't go off at a tangent half-way down the page and promote your free newsletter.
Why? You may think it's a great idea to collect the names and e-mails of people not prepared to buy at first reading, and you're so wrong. What you have done is to give them a choice: Pay $47 for a product or Subscribe to a free newsletter.
What will you do, given that choice?
We are all like water flowing downhill; we take the easiest route—all our lives, in every decision we make. If you want to give them a decision, give them the option to buy now at a discount, or next month at the full list price.
If the purpose of your Website is to sell one product, then concentrate on that alone and don't confuse the issue. This subject is covered in great detail with plain instructions on how to achieve your objectives in our new Website Publishing course.
Selecting Your Keywords
Your keywords for each of your Website pages are Meta Tags that are inserted into the Head section of the HTML. Ideally, they should be words and phrases that can be found on that page—if not, the Search Engines are likely to reject that page, or at least refuse to index it.
The Keywords are those words and phrases that Internet visitors insert into a Search Engine to find the information they require.
On this page that you're now reading, for example, you will find that among the Keywords are: Website, and Website copy. But, just look how many times they're used on this page:
- Website: 44 times
- Website copy: 12 times
These counts can give this page a higher ranking in Search Engines for visitors who search on those words. So, the lesson is to select "key words" from your page as the Meta Tag keywords, and make sure you use them frequently and with relevance on that page. However, do not make the mistake of repeating them indiscriminately, or Search Engines can penalize you!