Writing effective web copy begins with an understanding of what the goals of your web site are. Are you trying to get your visitors to purchase something or have them sign up for your newsletter?
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How to Write Effective Web Copy

Writing effective web copy begins with an understanding of what the goals of your web site are. Are you trying to get your visitors to purchase something or have them sign up for your newsletter? Remember you are trying to get someone you can't see and have never met take a step towards building a relationship with you or your company.

1. Create a customer profile - try to find out what are the needs and desires of your visitors. Here are some examples of questions you could ask:

• Are they young, middle aged or senior?
• Are they primarily male or female?
• Are they financially secure or budget-minded?
• What gets him or her excited?
• What are his or her most pressing concerns?

Try to brainstorm a list of topics that might interest your target audience.

2. Create a Unique Selling Position (USP) - This is a statement of 2-3 sentences that explains why you are different from everybody else. This is the unique factor that sets you apart from your competition. Make this the first thing your visitor sees when they arrive on your home page.

3. Focus on benefits - most web users want to find the information about the product or service they need as fast as possible. If they land on your site, they want to know how they will benefit from buying your product or subscribing to your ezine. You will need to answer that question as clearly and concisely as possible or you will lose that visitor.

4. Use the inverted pyramid style - provide a summary of your information by clearly communicating the direction of your discussion. Use informative headings and subheadings with a paragraph of 4 to 5 lines that supports them. You only have a few seconds to grab your visitors attention. Most will simply scan for the information they are seeking.

Use bulleted or numbered lists, boldface or colored font to emphasize the points you wish to make. Include links at the end of your paragraph (or within the text) to direct visitors to other pages of your site for more in-depth information.

5. Write in an informal or personal style - write in a unique way that differentiates you from other small businesses in a similar business or niche. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or super-creative. You simply provide a style that gets the attention of your visitors.

6. Keep your sentences simple - you are not writing to impress. You are writing to communicate. You want to pre-sell your product or service, therefore write as if you are talking to a 13 year old.

Don’t use large words but opt for strong verbs over weak ones. Use the active voice instead of a passive one. i.e. Instead of “a good score was achieved by the team” ... say “the team scored a season high”. Speak “to” but not “at” your visitor. Keep your sentences short and snappy.

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