Q: What are your top five tips for writing Web copy that will grab and hold shoppers’ attention?
A: In today’s competitive landscape, it’s imperative to create Web copy that’s both clear and engaging. Customers want to do business with real people—not boring drones.
In the online world, copy is one of the few ways you can actually connect with customers. Here are five tips to help you stand out from the rest!
Web copy writing tip No. 1: Be original
Write original content. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen websites simply copy and paste text from the manufacturer’s site—or worse yet, from a competitor’s site. Not only is this poor for search engine optimization, but it doesn’t separate you from the competition, and it reflects negatively on your ability to establish your own expertise.
Start with all the features and benefits of your product. Examine your product with fresh eyes. Place yourself in the position of a buyer and point out all the reasons why shoppers must own this. Customers are savvy and, whether you’re selling a commodity product or a one-of-a-kind vintage piece, customers want to know why you think it’s something they should own.
Web copy writing tip No. 2: Respect your customers’ timeYou’ve got mere seconds to capture their attention. Be thoughtful in your choice of words, layout and length
It’s important to remember that, as consumers, we’re inundated with online text, and people scan copy looking for key points. As you craft your copy, keep in mind you’ve got mere seconds to capture their attention. Be thoughtful in your choice of words, layout and length.
I always write headlines and start with the top unique selling proposition, or USP, of the product to grab my shoppers’ attention. Keep paragraphs—and overall length—of copy short, but don’t do so at the expense of clarity or important details. Some products require longer descriptions than others, so consider setting up separate pages for instructions, scientific explanations, etc., that would otherwise muddy the key points.
Web copy writing tip No. 3: Write like you speak
English professor L.A. Sherman wrote: “No man should talk worse than he writes, no man should write better than he should talk.” Translation: Skip the complicated, $5 words and keep the formality to black-tie affairs. Instead, focus on using language that’s clear, concrete and simple.
Web copy writing tip No. 4: Write naturally
This is so important for creating copy that’s both engaging and reader friendly. Let your copy flow so it’s easier on the eyes, and the brain. Here are a few tricks that can help:
- Use contractions. It helps the reader process what you’re saying more quickly, and allows them to relate to you on a more personal level.
- Read your copy out loud. You’ll catch any clumsy sentence structure or incorrect punctuation and grammar.
- Have someone else read it out loud. Especially if you’re using humor or sarcasm, have someone else read your copy out loud to see if it translates properly. This simple act can make the difference between a giggle and a groan.
Web copy writing tip No. 5: Find your voice, and let it shine!
Customers will become loyal fans if they connect with you. Product copy with personality helps you stand out from the competition and develop a true following. Here are a few tips to finding your voice:
- Write with passion and enthusiasm, and be authentic. This prevents burnout and truly engages your audience. You love what you do, right? Share that love, and you’ll be rewarded with adoring customers.
- Ask yourself, “Is this something I would enjoy reading?” If it’s not, work on your voice until it resonates with you.
Remember, if you write your Web copy to please everyone, you’ll engage no one. People enjoy dealing with other people and a personal spin helps create a connection, putting you one step ahead of the competition.