Friday, August 24, 2007

How to write successful website copy

Writing for the web is a difficult task for most people, especially those who are used to writing for print. The basic difference is a viewer’s attention span. In a magazine or a newsletter you have more of your viewer’s attention. They will thumb through and read whole articles because they have to decide to read it or throw it out. They are also typically left with no other immediate alternative for that same information.

With most websites, people have the attention span of a goldfish (7 seconds). If they cannot find what they want in 7 seconds they will just go and find another site. So how do you keep your viewer’s attention?

Summarize your text: Keep your text shorter. You may want to go in-depth on a subject, but use a blog, whitepaper or a downloadable pdf if you want to go deep into a subject.
Bullets and paragraph headings: Bullet points and headings of paragraphs are very important if you are listing topics out for your audience. They can quickly scan for what they are looking for and ignore what they don’t like.

Graphics: Use graphics and colors to draw the viewer’s attention to parts of the screen. This is the same strategy magazine use; it is the same for the web.

Keywords: This is the hardest part for some. To write text properly for the web you must use your keywords over and over throughout the website. This is mostly for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but also because your audience is not going to read it in any particular order. For example: If you owned LogicBright CRM, you would want to make sure your url ( appeared all over the website. Also use your keywords: CRM, Customer Relationship Management, small business software and online CRM software; throughout the site. Don’t forget to mention your competitors -- you may be able to get some traffic from them as well.

Length: If you think it is too long, it probably is. Even this article would be lengthy on a website that isn’t news or information oriented.

Keep it simple, and follow those suggestions outlined above and your website will be optimized for the web audience.

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