Who are you writing for?
- Your prospects
- The search engines
Some web copy satisfies both. Others miserably fail to achieve or maintain a high ranking with the search engines.
The best approach is to develop your web copy to provide loads of valuable information to your prospects. That way, your web copy should also satisfy the search engines.
What do the search engines want?
Search engines try to filter out commerce websites. They want INFORMATION websites. So hide your underlying commerce objectives within valuable information.
What do your prospects want?
You know more about what your prospects want than we do. Or you should!
Research, research, research.
Find out as much as you can about your target audience. For example, if your audience is mainly comprised of women, choose lighter colours for your website - research shows that women tend to favour lighter websites, with more variety of colours and graphics with curves, than men do.
Look to your competition.
What are they doing? What do you like? What don't you like? Why? Write everything down. What are your competitors doing that you find yourself saying, "I wish I offered that!"
Different from Print Copy
You can't just transfer your print marketing materials to your website and expect them to work the same. At least not without some editing.
Break up your text.
People don't read text from start to finish, left to right, on a computer screen. Reading on a monitor is very hard on the eyes. Your customers will be scanning your web pages, jumping from heading to heading, in an 'S' pattern down the screen. They are scanning for an interesting topic.
So, use lots of headings, secondary headings, lists, bullets, boldface text, links, etc. Try to lead your prospects through your website to your "call to action."
Long paragraphs will scare your visitors! Enclose longer text in a pdf document that they can print easily. As a bonus, your prospects will have a tangible document with your contact information.
Above all else, if your visitors get frustrated with your website or lost in the pages, they will leave.