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    Useful tips how to make your content sell

     

    Whatever niche of the market you operate in, you should always have direct, convincing and appealing communication with your existing or potential clients. Steadfast and returning customers will undoubtedly judge you by the quality of the products or services that you provide. They might recommend your company to their acquaintances, friends or relatives; yet majority of persons who do not know your company will judge you by the text that you present on your web site, your web content counts. Attracting and convincing content can really perform the miracles. Many of us know that the memorable phrase can influence our decisions, can transform our understating of existing situation and induce us to take some actions. Copywriting does the same; in a nutshell copywriting is a written message, text or content that promotes your business and induces your customers to purchase the products or services that you provide. Professionally written copywriting transforms a casual visitor into a steadfast client. How does it work? It works by technique that includes memorable content intriguing headlines and easy-to read yet convincing texts, by developing web content. In today’s rapid word it is indispensable to grab the attention of a person immediately once he has visited your site. Remember that the majority of your potential clients skip through rather than read all your text. Nevertheless, not every text will do, what is appropriate for one person, can be wrong for another and visa versa. The content must target your audience - group of individuals who are really interested in your products and services; therefore copywriting and marketing should go hand in hand in order to achieve the best possible results. It imperative for every copywriter to write the content based on research of the market the company operates in. The typical marketing research for copywriter should contain the following information: Detailed information on the market (the trend on the market, saturation of it and etc); Information on the major competitors of the company (what tactics do they use, how they advertise their products and services); Information on your potential (the preference of your potential customers, what products and services they would like to purchase). Once you have found out this information you can start develop and write copywriting. However, one should remember that this is a complex process and it might be advisable to give some professionals to complete this task especially if this is the first time you get down to it. Once this task has been completed you might try to use this copywriting copy in the writing of your future copywriting messages.

         
    Value added copywriting

     

    I know a preacher that can burn any pulpit down within an hour. His sermons cause the greatest stirs and responses in his audience and he really can keep his congregation awake. But there is one tiny problem. Ask many of his listeners what they think about his sermons and they’ll quickly respond with only words of acclamation. Follow that questions with a request for what the sermon was about and you’re met with only blank stares. They knew that the sermon was “great” but cannot recall what they learned. This reminds me of the popular selling tenant referred to as ‘selling the sizzle and not the stake’. In other words, build enthusiasm and curiosity about your product without giving away too much. Let them hear it, smell it, imagine it but never taste it until they buy. I find however that when you’re selling high ticket items, because you are asking for a higher level of commitment from the prospect, you have to give something in order to get something back. So you have to give some ‘steak’ along with the ‘sizzle’. This is what is commonly referred to as ‘value added copywriting’. I use some of this myself at my website webcopy-writing to sell my copywriting services. Right there in the sales letter itself are some tips and ideas on how to sell to prospects online. So the reader gains some value from reading the letter even before he or she uses my services. But this “free information” also serves a few other purposes: 1. It helps to establish goodwill with the potential client. My willingness to share this information shows that I’m not stingy and helps to develop a relationship with the reader. So even if the prospect doesn’t use my service he walks away with something. 2. It helps to establish my credibility. This is an opportunity for me to show that I know what I’m about and have the qualifications to help the reader’s business. 3. It serves as a teaser. It’s obvious that I’m not saying everything that I know and that there is a ‘lot more where that came from’. In other words, if I’m willing to give away this information I must have a lot more ‘secrets’ up my sleeve. 4. It lowers the sales resistance of the reader because I’m in the giving rather than the taking mode. There is really no argument against someone who is giving you something for free. 5. It provides a natural incentive for the prospect to read your entire sales letter. Any device that encourages readership will also improve sales especially with longer sales copy. It will be therefore helpful if you can provide your prospects with useful information in your sales literature. This may be in the form of a free report, an email course or case studies. Once this information is useful and not seen as an overt sales piece, then this should lead to an easy conversion of a new customer. This technique of value added copywriting works very well in service-type industries. There are many services where the professional can ‘reveal’ a lot without fear of losing his value to the customer. This often occurs because even though someone may know how to perform a task, the job may be sufficiently difficult or unpleasant that it may be better left to the professionals. A quick example comes to my mind. I know how to do simple maintenance work on my vehicle but I’ll prefer to pay to have this done. I’ll happily read all the available literature from my mechanic about how a mechanical repair should be done. The fact that my mechanic made this literature available to me gives me confidence in his performance of a great job. So, in the same way, a lawyer may want to provide information on how to fill easy legal forms, while a plumber may provide information on performing simple repairs around the home. When a prospect read this helpful information and they need further ‘expert’ attention they would easily think of that lawyer or plumber. Because the public today is bombarded with so many advertisers’ messages the usual sales talk is having less impact. With the advent of online advertising where it is easier and cheaper to get your message before thousands of eyes your sales message must have a lot more bite than its bark; a lot more steak where only sizzle use to be. After listening to your sizzling message, your market congregation will need to recall more than the enthusiasm of your delivery. They must be able to recall enough value to want the whole shebang from you.

         
    Watch out copy mistakes are sinking your site

     

    No matter how well you write, or even if you have a professional writer create your web site copy, you're going to have errors. Misspelled words, awkward sentences, phrases that don't make sense, and words that are used incorrectly run rampant through many sites. And it's no wonder. Writing well is hard work. Even a good writer will be too close to the copy and won't see ALL their mistakes, even when re-reading the copy carefully. Mistakes in your copy can sink your web site. The online audience who accounts for most of your customers are a rather literate group of people. Studies show a large percentage have a good knowledge of spelling and punctuation. If they find your copy has several errors in it, prospects will figure you do sloppy work. The solution is simple. Get a proof reader to carefully check your copy. You can enlist the help of a friend who has a sharp eye for spelling and punctuation. Better yet, get a professional proof reader to read your copy. Proof reading is almost always affordable and the investment will pay off big time in avoided embarrassment and missed sales. Don't get too comfortable with spell checkers. Many have limited numbers of words they recognize, and will skip past some misspelled words. One of the most common problems is that a spell checker can't help you if you use the WRONG word. Don't feel like I'm picking on you. I worked in the TV and movie industries for many years. I can tell you from personal experience that even Hollywood's writers struggle with typos and other errors in their copy. None would dream of turning in a script without first having a capable proof reader go through their drafts and revisions.

         
    Web copywriting

     

    Web Copywriting Within this article on Web copywriting, we will look at copywriting in general and how to succeed in this particular niche of copywriting. Copywriting is a growing field but some of the greatest growth is coming in the niche of Web copywriting. There is a great deal of demand for Web copywriting today as more and more people realize the importance of good web content. This is critical for two reasons and explains why there is such a demand for Web copywriting. The first reason is that there are more than 4 billion web pages out there according to Google and this number continues to grow in leaps and bounds every day. With such a large number of web pages, it is very hard for your website to get noticed if you're writing average content that no one wants to read. The second reason that is important to have good web content is that it will give you a better chance at having your website indexed. The way that websites are indexed is that search engines have search bots go through and find different web sites. The search bots analyze the page and look for particular keywords. To truly know what you should write when developing a website, you need to have some knowledge of Web copywriting. There are many different factors that go into getting your website indexed and noticed by the search bots so this is where experience in this arena can greatly help. If you have experience in Web copywriting, you will find that you will have a great deal work available for you. You can write Web content for websites as well as sales letters and other types of marketing materials for websites. In addition to the reasons that you must write good web content, this content must also be easy to read for your prospective audience so that the traffic driven to a client's website can be converted into sales. Web copywriting will continue to grow in leaps and bounds due to the difficult nature of this task. You must work to get your website noticed by both search engines as well as human audiences. This is a difficult task because you're writing for two audiences as opposed to one and making sure that you can sell at the same time. Hopefully this article and Web copywriting has given you some good information if you are thinking about going into this field. There are a great deal of opportunities and it is a very flexible and high-paying occupation due to the fact that you can work from around the world if you have an Internet connection. You'll want to take some time to read more about the field so you have a better grasp of how you should write for people. Any person can write Web content but it takes a strong copywriter to write content that can sell as well as get indexed. This is a field which will take a great deal of time to learn so be sure to expand your Web horizons as well as you can.

         
    Web copy how much is enough

     

    These days, there’s widespread acceptance that a website is an integral part of the marketing plan of any business. Likewise, it’s commonly accepted that web copy is a vital component of any website. But how much web copy is enough? The pure volume of information available on the Internet is daunting – often counterproductive. There are approximately 550 billion documents on the web, and every day another 7 million are added. According to an A. T. Kearney, Network Publishing study (April 2001), workers take so long trying to find information that it costs organizations $750 billion annually! Yet people continue to use it. Information gathering is the most common use of the Internet (American Express survey, 2000). And it seems work-related searches are amongst the most common, with 48% of people using the Internet to find work-related information, as opposed to 7% who use magazines (Lyra Research, 2001). Interestingly, however, the average person visits no more than 19 websites in the entire month in order to avoid information overload (Nielsen NetRatings in Jan 2001). So how do you ensure your site is one of those 19? How do you make your content helpful without making it overwhelming? That’s what this article is about… I’ve written several articles on WHAT to write on your website in order to make it helpful. (See divinewrite/benefits. htm, divinewrite/webbenefitwriting. htm, and divinewrite/webwriting. htm.) But that’s only half the battle… Businesses also need to know HOW MUCH to write. Here are 5 quick rules of thumb to help you decide how much is enough. 1) Know your audience (Reader or Search Engine?) Think about whether you’re targeting human readers (potential customers) or search engines. This must always be one of your very first questions, as the answer will determine your approach to content. In general, human readers think less is more. Search engines, on the other hand, think more is more (well, more or less…). In many ways, it comes down to a question of quality versus quantity. Human readers are interested in quality, whereas search engines are interested quantity. Human readers want you to answer their questions and make it clear how you can benefit them. And they don’t want to wade through volumes of text. Search engines want a high word count, full of relevant keywords, and short on diagrams. (See divinewrite/seocopy. htm for more information on writing for search engines. See divinewrite/SEOCEO. htm for an introductory article on search engine optimization.) You need to think carefully about your audience. In most cases, it’ll be a trade-off. A high search engine ranking is important (or at least beneficial) to most businesses, so a happy medium is required. The following tips will go some way toward providing this balance. 2) Make it concise Say everything you need to say, but always ask, “Can I say it with fewer words?” The literary world may be impressed by complex writing, but visitors aren’t. Keep it simple, and keep it brief. Your home page shouldn’t be more than 1 screen long. In other words, visitors shouldn’t have to scroll. Subsequent pages can be longer, but try to keep them to a maximum of about 300-400 words each (approximately 1 scroll). A lot of people will tell you that you also need 300-400 words or more on your home page for a good search engine ranking. You don’t. If you focus on the right keywords and generate a lot of links to your site, you can achieve a high ranking without losing your readers’ interest by padding TIP: For most businesses, a good rule of thumb is to make it conversational. Old school writers and would-be writers oppose conversational copy; don’t listen to them. Unless you’re writing for an old-school audience, feel free to write as people talk. 3) One subject per page On this, both readers and search engines agree. Don’t try and squeeze too much information onto a single page. For example, instead of trying to detail all of your products on a single Products page, use the page to introduce and summarize your product suite, then link to a separate page per product. This way, your content will be easier to write, your readers won’t be overwhelmed, and you’ll be able to focus on fewer keywords (so the search engines will get a clearer picture of what you do). 4) Make it scannable According to a 1998 Sun Microsystems study, reading from a monitor is 25% slower than reading from paper. As a result, 79% of users scan read when online. So make sure you accommodate scanning. Use headings and sub-headings. Highlight important words and sections. Use bulleted lists and numbered lists. Use tables. Use statistics. Use meaningful indenting. Use short sentences. Most importantly, be consistent in your usage. Oh… and follow rules 2 and 3 above. 5) Use a simple menu structure Try to keep your high-level menu (Home, About Us, Contacts, Products, Services, etc.) to a maximum of about 10 items (5-8 is ideal). If you have too many options, your site will seem unstructured and your visitors won’t know where to start. In order for a visitor to want to come back to your site, they need to feel comfortable when they’re there. They need to know what to expect. If they can’t identify any logic in your menu structure, they will always feel lost. What’s more, this lack of structure will reflect badly on your business. The Internet can be an incredibly cost-effective form of promotion because the cost per word to publish is so low. Don’t be fooled into thinking more is more just because it costs less. Audiences – even search engines – don’t want everything; they just want enough. Happy writing!

         
    Web site copywriter in the 21st century

     

    The process of keywords search is well-known. However large the company can be, whatever industry it operates in there are usually some persons at the company who can perform this task. However, once the keyword search has been performed one should start working these keywords phrases into the text of your web-site. The person who performs this task is a web site copywriter. Apart from being creative and have an aptitude fro producing appealing, memorable and attracting content the professional web site copywriter should be able to write the text in easy-to-read, convincing and action-driven style. He should also be able to perform thorough web site analysis and understand how the web site maintained by you should be changed or adjusted in order to get higher conversion rates. But even if he has these qualities it may not be enough. It today’s highly competitive and ever-changing online world it is indispensable for him to understand current marketing trend, what customers want to purchase as well as what expectations they have. Apart from this he must also analyze marketing and advertising strategy of the main competitors of the company and propose effective adjustments in the content of the web site to countervail them. If you are hiring experienced web site copywriter it is advisable to look through his portfolio in order to get an insight into his experience. Experienced web site copywriter who has already provided some copywriting service should indicate what type of copywriting he has been working on and what results he has achieved. Moreover he must also understand modern marketing techniques such as writing press releases and writing article. The web site copywriter should always keep himself abreast of the latest changes in marketing in order to produce high-quality content. If the web site copywriter you intend to hire matches the above mentioned criteria, than he will be able to bring high results for your company.

         
    Website copywriter tips homepage copy the transition zone

     

    : Have you read Paco Underhill’s fascinating book, Why We Buy, about the psychology of retail store shopping? One of his major tenets about brick and mortar shopping holds the key to effective homepage copy – something he calls the “transition zone.” If your homepage copy creates a sales zone not a transition zone, you could be losing sales. The Transition Zone Explained Think about the last time you visited a brick and mortar store… Maybe it’s raining or snowing outside. Maybe you just left the dry cleaner before arriving at the electronics store. As you first enter the store you constantly make adjustments to changes in lighting, temperature, sounds, and visual stimulation. You need to get your bearings. Underhill calls this part of the store the “transition zone,” a place for adjusting from outside to inside, not selling. Selling attempts in this early stage are lost. When does your homepage copy start selling? Unless your answer is never, it is too soon. The Trade Show Lesson I remember that the worst trade show booth to have was just inside the front door of the trade center. Instead of making sales I was giving directions, demoted from VP Sales to greeter, gopher. You would think that being first was an advantage. This position might be true in search engine ranking but not in trade shows booths. The fact is many people don’t even notice the first booth until they have completed their adjustment process. By that time they are well past the first booth and buying from booth number 4. Most website visitors behave like trade show guests. Is your web site copy trying to close business in booth one or giving the visitor time to adjust to the new digs? Why not put your actual sales copy in booth two or three or four? Better still distribute the message across all three. After all, that’s where the customers are headed anyway once they have transitioned to your site. Cushion Don't Convince So if selling is inappropriate what can you do to make your homepage copy sell without selling? Effective homepage copy cushions the hard landing strangers feel when they first arrive at your site. A soft landing is a receptive landing. Why not use your homepage copy to give visitors what they need:

    • Acknowledgement
    • Anticipation
    • Acclimatization
    Acknowledge Your Visitors Let’s go back to your recent store visit… You’re barely inside the door and the overly friendly sales clerk asks, “Can I help you find what you are looking for?” Most times this clumsy sales attempt is made too early in your transition to the store from your previous location. For most people shopping is an experience not a mission. Instead of being sold during their time of transition, most customers simply want to be acknowledged – greeted, recognized.
    • How does your website copy acknowledge visitors to your site?
    • Does your homepage copy confirm that your visitors are in the right place?
    • Does your copy welcome them?
    • Does your web copy make demands of these shaky travellers too soon?
    • How does your homepage copy help them adjust to the change in environment?
    Build Anticipation You’re standing ten feet inside the store. And there it is, way over there - the outline of that gorgeous HD TV you’ve been after. As you walk towards this target your heart races a little as you anticipate getting up close and personal with your quarry. The closer you get, the more you notice the details of your treasure. By putting products a little off in the distance smart retailers build anticipation. You know what it’s like. Details come into focus over time. Expectation increases.
    • Where could you put your best offerings to heighten anticipation without killing transition?
    • How can you replace assertiveness with anticipation?
    • Wouldn’t it be a good idea to introduce your value proposition in your homepage copy, without demanding customer action right away?
    • Where could you place the copy that supports this value proposition?
    • Shouldn’t your remaining pages build expectancy and familiarity at the same time?
    • How about making your web site copy one integrated “time release capsule”?
    Deepen Acclimatization Whenever copy goes against the customer’s natural order, it becomes a threat, losing credibility and any chance of influence. It doesn’t make sense to challenge the site visitor’s natural need for transition. Why not embrace this idea? Remember the old ABC’s of selling? Instead of “always be closing,” why not use the transition zone strategy “always be comforting.” Think of ways your homepage copy can help your customers acclimatize to your site.
    • Do you repeat your key ideas to build familiarity?
    • Is the look and feel of your copy consistent?
    • Does your copy give a snapshot of what’s possible on your site?
    • Is your navigation system explained?
    • Has your homepage copy briefly highlighted your content?
    • How can your visitors gain quick control of their journey?
    That’s acclimatization. Now you’re ready to sell. YES! Effective homepage copy smoothes the transition from stranger to guest using acknowledgement, anticipation, and acclimatization. Done well and it’s sales zone time for the customer. Done poorly and it’s cortisone time for you.

         
    Website copywriter tips web copy 101

     

    : You already know how to create great web copy. Just remember your childhood nursery rhymes. As silly as it sounds, “3 Blind Mice” will show you the way. For some reason, “3 Blind Mice” paid me a visit. As I heard the 100th replay, it hit me – this would make great web copy. As a matter of fact, this simple little ditty contains 10 elements of Web Copy 101. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s how it goes. "3 Blind Mice; 3 Blind Mice. See how they run; see how they run. They all ran up to the farmer’s wife; She cut off their tails with a carving knife Have you ever seen such a sight in your life As 3 Blind Mice?” Let’s see how this children’s nursery rhyme is a model of Web Copy 101. Web Copy 101 #1, 2, 3 …3 Blind Mice (title or heading) 1) Try singing “A trio of visually impaired rodents, A trio of visually impaired rodents.” Catchy? Formal writing doesn’t sell. Write the way people speak and you will be heard. The title does something else for this song. 2) If you had to choose between songs entitled “Cows,” “Ducks,” or “3 Blind Mice,” which one would you choose? The title in all web copy has to grab the attention the reader. There’s more. 3) This alluring title makes the content clear right away. How many times do you stumble on a website only to find you’re not sure what they are selling or how it relates to you? Be sure your web copy uses the title or headline to set the table for the visitor. Web Copy 101 #4 …3 Blind Mice, 3 Blind Mice (first line) 4) This song is going to be about little rodents, not geese. Does the first line of your web copy highlight what you offer, or at least whom your site is for? Good web copy is not mystery writing. Instead it says, “We’re here to sell you something and here’s why you need it today.” Web Copy 101 #5, 6 … See how they run, See how they run 5) Repetition is the key to any message track and a staple of effective web copy. From a psychological point of view it lets your message become familiar and safe. From a search engine point of view repetition builds your keyword density and raises your search results. From a net reader perspective repetition in your web copy reinforces your message for the superficial reader who is scanning your site quickly. Repetition works on many levels. Let me say that again – repetition works on many levels. 6) The invitation to watch how the mice run around is also a clever way to involve the readers by getting them to do something. Does your site invite some kind of reader activity in the body of the web copy? Web Copy 101 #7 … They all ran up to the farmer’s wife; she cut off their tails with a carving knife 7) A good way to stitch your ideas together and build more active involvement in your copy is to use pronouns (they, she). By forcing the readers to build connections between previous and current information pronouns keep your site visitors more engaged. Web Copy 101 #8 … Have you ever seen such a sight in your life? 8) Do you know the best way to keep someone interested in what you are writing? What is 3 times 3? If you thought “nine” you proved my point. If you thought “eight” try night school. If you thought anything at all, you demonstrated the power of questions to generate reader participation. Everybody loves and needs to answer questions. Does your web copy provide thought provoking questions that get your reader thinking and involved? Web Copy 101 #9, 10 … As 3 Blind Mice 9) Brilliant web copy. More repetition. Plus, the story ends where it started. One of the advantages of writing with search engines in mind is that keyword focus helps you stay on topic. The glancing reader needs this controlling idea to get the essence of why they need what you have, now. Is your site's central idea consistently expressed all the way through your web copy? 10) True, the song is written for children, but notice the use of short, crisp sentences to tell the tale. How are you telling your tale? You want your web copy to be clear, smart and direct. I hope they get stuck in your head – the 10 lessons that is, not the lyrics. By the way, no animals were hurt during the writing of the article about web copy 101.

         
    Website copywriter tips web copy sabotage

     

    : How does your personality affect your web copy? Whether you mean to or not, your site reflects you in ways you might not notice: sometimes good, sometimes bad. While personality peccadilloes can be endearing in social situations, minor personality flaws can cause web copy sabotage. So before you get out your keyboard, get out a mirror. Why not see if any of these 3 personality traits are seeping into the design and copy of your web site?

    • Insecurity
    • Pride
    • Anxiety
    Web Copy Sabotage #1: Insecure people create timid sites Most people are insecure in certain situations as they vary their image to gain the favour of others. Nothing kills web copy faster than trying to be a people pleaser. Insecure people create timid sites that try to be all things to all people. Instead of declaring, “Here’s who I am,” insecure web copy tentatively pleads, “I can be whatever you want; hope you find something you like.” How forgettable and phony is that? Secure people on the other hand have learned to get real. Some people like them; others don’t. Their web copy stands out because their authors stand up. Their web copy is memorable because it is authentic. Does your web copy take a stand or does it sit on the sidelines wanting to be liked? Is your web copy real or real phony? Web Copy Sabotage #2: Proud people produce narcissistic sites While timid web copy aims overly outward, narcissistic web copy looks too far in the other direction. Business owners have a justifiable pride in their business. Sorry to say this pride can lead to web copy sabotage.
    • Many owners lost in their delight often boast, “Look what I can do,” instead of proclaiming, “Look what you get.”
    • Their web copy tends to focus on features instead of real customer benefits. It highlights trained staff rather than peace of mind.
    Missing are empathy and impact. Nothing kills internet rapport like a one-sided, relationship. Does your web copy brag about you or resonate with strangers? Web Copy Sabotage #3: Anxious people make nervous sites Nervous sites are the most common form of web copy sabotage. They don’t gaze outward or inward; they look nowhere, all hurried and patchy. The visuals are the first give-away:
    • a little red here and a dash of purple there
    • a touch of bold with a smidgen of underlining
    • a bevy of random quotations
    • a frenzy of isolated graphics
    Where’s the rhyme? Where’s the reason? Where is the message? The web copy reads more like a digital ransom note than a calm presentation of a distinctive value proposition. The sad part is this kind of web copy sabotage is that it frequently betrays an honest business person who is just not comfortable about expressing his business. This web copy unfairly depicts sleaze and incredulity. Sometimes the anxiety is driven by a specific learning style. A number of individuals are more comfortable with trees than a forest, preferring details to the big picture. That’s too bad because site visitors usually crave the big picture before they invest their care and clicks. What image does your web copy convey – calm or chaos? Web Copy Sabotage: What can you do about it? So you’re not perfect. Everybody is a bit insecure, a tad proud and slightly anxious. The trick is to keep these failings from invading your web copy. So what can you do to prevent web copy sabotage? Your human shortcomings might populate your site because you are just too close to the data to detect your demons creeping up the keyboard. You’ve got to get some distance. First have a third party who’s not a family member play site doctor, looking for symptoms of insecurity, pride, and anxiety in your site design and copy. There’s nothing like conducting your own foible check to be sure you parked your sabotaging issues at the curb, not in your web copy. Here are 3 questions to ask:
    • What exactly does my site stand for?
    • How do my visitors see themselves?
    • How have I organized my design and copy?
    If these tactics don’t help you improve your web copy, you could either see a qualified psychiatrist or hire – you know – a handy copywriter.

         
    Website copywriter tips write web copy for people not technology

     

    : Every website copywriter faces a trap – Search Enginitis. Writing web copy with technology makes sense, but writing web copy for people makes the sale. Here are two ways to connect with people across broadband and create web copy that sells. Your website looks great: solid words, easy navigation, graphics just so, and maybe even a bit of flash with some multimedia. But customers are not buying. The Technology Trap You wonder if it’s the web copy itself. How can that be? You remembered the two key mantras of powerful web copy - “write for the search engines” and “write for the medium.” Your web copy used appropriate keywords to help search engines find you and traffic is up. Surely, customers enjoy reading your content because your web copy is laid out with the internet in mind using:

    • short sentences
    • brief paragraphs
    • bullets
    Customers might be reading your words, but they still are not buying your product. Chances are your web copy has been optimized for technology not people. Even on the internet, selling is still about connecting to people. Selling on the internet means writing web copy for people not technology. So how do you press the flesh across broadband? Start where brick and mortar relationships do – trust. Why not become the trusted provider in your marketspace? Your web copy can use words to raise your credibility in at least 25 different ways. Here are two ways to craft web copy for people not technology:
    • write the way customers speak
    • replace your pitch with a theme.
    Write Web Copy for People not Technology Step 1: Write the way people speak. People instinctively trust strangers who speak like them. If you find this article useful, how would you tell someone? Are you really going to say, “I read an unusually amazing web copy article that fundamentally increased my sagging sales”? Not likely. Weak web copy, not everyday people, uses too many modifiers. “Amazing,” “fundamentally,” and “sagging” weaken trust. How’s your site for modifiers? Give your web copy the finger test. You might not want fingerprints on your screen, so I suggest printing a copy of your homepage content.
    • put your baby finger on the first modifier you can find.
    • put your ring finger on the next adjective or adverb.
    • repeat until you run out of modifiers or fingers.
    If your page is a handful, you’ve got too many modifiers and your web copy is hype heavy, not trustworthy. In addition to giving readers web copy that matches how they speak, it helps to give them time to get to know you. Write Web Copy for People not Technology Step 2: Replace your pitch with a theme. Customers need time before they trust. They will get used to your site in tiny steps, so hold off selling; buy some time with thematic web copy. Have a theme for your site, introducing your offer only after your customer feels comfortable. Themes are a subtle form of repetition because they continually reinforce a single concept. Repeated exposure to an idea usually makes it familiar and safe. Remember the first time you used instant messaging or the family car - not so scary now. Let’s say your site sells dental floss. Here’s how your web copy might handle it. Instead of listing the benefits of DentaThread, you could tie the presentation together under the central idea “Some people have nothing to smile about.”
    • The opening section could point out how the discomfort of Gingivitis wipes the grin off a person’s face.
    • Another segment of the web copy would show how ugly cavities make someone too self - conscious to smile.
    • Yet another piece would reveal how the high cost of root canal causes an individual to frown.
    In this way, the web copy offers three versions of one idea to help the site grow on the visitor: one idea, three versions. Does your homepage have a theme? How many chances does your web copy give visitors to get comfortable with you? In this article, I tried to use the two key elements a good web copywriter uses to write for people not technology:
    • the language of my readers
    • a central idea, trust
    Did it work? Did my web copy help? If yes, I guess I proved my point. If no, I have 23 more ideas to go.

         
    Website translation and localization diy guide

     

    : Expanding businesses into other countries means that you will be conveying your messages to people who speak other languages. What's more, your audience may have cultural background other than yours -- and it does matter. Surprisingly many people think that creating, say, a website in a foreign language means just to translate the existing English version. Good translation by all means is very important. But what about putting your message into the context of the particular culture, which is native to your new audience? This process is called "website localization". It is like "tuning" your website (both content and design) into unison with mentality of other people -- the prospective visitors. Here I won't describe the part of web site localization which deals with programming; this issue itself is complex enough. I will focus on writing content for your website and its further translation. What part of this work you can do yourself? Probably not all of it, but quite a lot. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you in the process. Step Zero: Remember: Your Website is Not for You. It is for VISITORS. So it is logical to consider what THEY think such websites should look like. It is their points of view that matter, not yours. When you memorize this axiom, go to Step One: Learn! Self-education is useful in itself; besides, this knowledge is going to save you money and bring profit later. Learn as much as you can about your prospective audience. The more, the better. It's a rather time-consuming but exciting process. I hope you will manage, as Ancient Romans used to say, "Miscere utile dulci" (to mingle the useful with the pleasant). You will find out plenty of interesting things about another culture. Customs and traditions, rules of etiquette and moral principles, stereotypes, superstitions and lots of other stuff for you to consider when addressing people from a country other than yours. You can find plenty of information in the Internet. Search Groups as well. Show your interest in other culture, and almost any native will appreciate it and help you as an expert. In addition, you will make good friends with great people. Travelers' guides can be an excellent source of information; they will help you avoid costly mistakes not only during a trip abroad. Just one example. You must have seen websites with pictures showing people gesticulate. Note that any gesture which is quite OK in the USA may be misunderstood somewhere else. By the way, do you know what the "OK" gesture means in some Asian countries? Demand for money, that's what. In Tunisia it will be interpreted as a threat to kill; in Arab countries -- "go to h…" In France it means just "zero" or "nothing." In Denmark or Italy it can be taken as an insult; and so is in Brazil, Guatemala and Paraguay -- here it is considered very obscene. So, you'd better make pictures of your website "culture-neutral". The farther in, the deeper… What is considered rude, impudent, offensive, or impolite in this culture? What is respected, valued, venerated? What traits of character are appreciated most? What are the favorite colors and what are they associated with? What are the most noticeable differences between your culture and this one? Don't be surprised if points of view on what is beautiful and what is ugly will also differ from yours. When you come to the conclusion that your text won't do and the design probably needs changing as well, go to Step Two: Analyze! Turn your findings into tips for writing another text. "Don'ts" here are of much more important than "Do's" Realize how you shouldn't write. Learn what won't work. Find out what to avoid in graphics and website design. When arranging content and graphics, it is very important to know whether the audience reads left-to-right, right-to-left or vertically. Step Three: Write for your audience. What to begin with when writing for a person from another culture? Put on his shoes first. Well, that's second. First, take off your own shoes. I mean don't be a representative of your own culture -- just for a short time you'll be writing the content.

    • Avoid jokes, slang, idioms, proverbs and sayings. They are YOURS, not theirs. Allusions to books they probably haven't read, quotations, however familiar they are to you -- all that won't work.
    • Be cautious with metaphors and similes (comparisons). Pretty clear and familiar to YOU, for others they might be not so obvious.
    • Symbols can mean something very different in other cultures. If you can't do without one, find out what it means THERE.
    • Abbreviations and acronyms are tricky, too – they may be unknown to your audience.
    • You will have to explain stuff you think to be trivial. Not everybody in the world knows what is eBay, Paypal, or Amazon. Celebrities' fame isn't worldwide, either. Big companies and brands may be unknown on the other side of the globe.
    • Step Four: Find a RIGHT translator If you can, get a well-educated native speaker of a language you are going to have your text translated into (it is called "target language") The reason is that nobody can ever say: "I have learned this language" -- only "I have been learning". We all have been learning our mother tongues since birth. That is why native speakers have an advantage. The larger the translator's vocabulary, the better your message will be expressed. Besides, a native speaker often has precious knowledge on the culture -- it's precisely what you need for website localization-- and will help you in the process. Step Five: Bring it to Perfection How to check the end result? Ask somebody from this culture to proofread the text before launching the website. Encourage feedback when your website is launched. Correct mistakes, if any, at once. Improve your website all the time. Getting your messages understood in other languages and cultures is a tricky task. It takes plenty of effort -- but it will pay. Not only will you make profit and avoid bitter losses caused by misunderstanding. As a bonus you will get deeper undestanding of people whose languages, cultures and even ways of thinking are different. This understanding is the key factor of your success in doing business or communicating with these people. Good luck to you! Success be to your efforts!

         
    What does it take to succeed as an independent copywriter

     

    In looking back on the nearly four dozen aspiring copywriters I've trained and mentored over the years and asking which personal qualities posed challenges and roadblocks and which enable beginners to carve out a lasting niche for themselves, I have zeroed in on four key skill areas. To build and sustain a copywriting or marketing consulting business, you need to be or become good in these four competencies: 1. Writing. To develop persuasive written materials, you must learn to meld creativity, which involves being able to put forth fresh ideas, concepts, phrasings and images, with proven formats - structures for sales letters, brochures, press releases, home pages and so on that embody techniques that work. If you learn only the latter, your work comes across sounding formulaic and hollow. It can attract clients and produce results, but only to a limited extent. Perceptive clients will notice that your projects tend to come out much the same. They'll conclude that you're either still in the apprenticeship phase of mastery or that you lack the problem-solving skill they need to get the kinds of results they crave. And on the other hand, if you depend too heavily on creativity, you fail to use the little devices, turns of phrase, formatting tools and finishing touches that help improve response. I see this weakness in a lot of my beginning students - which is fine, because any halfway decent copywriting training course, whether live or canned, can remedy this shortcoming. To achieve the ideal balance between creativity and the tricks of the trade on your own, you'd need great instincts and loads of practice. Top-notch mentoring, with frequent feedback from an experienced master, is a surer and faster route to finding your feet as a copywriter. 2. Pleasing clients. I've seen people who have no trouble with #1 flounder or become miserable because of this essential factor. Again it's necessary to strike a balance, this time between doing great work and making sure that the person or company paying your fee is satisfied. Without knowing how to please clients, you can turn out terrific copy and have clients refuse to pay, or pay up but never come back. It's crucial to be able to listen to the client's goals, to keep those goals in mind while shaping the work, to explain what you've done and why, and to talk through differences in perception so that the two sides eventually see eye to eye. This skill did not - does not - come naturally to me. I have learned this painfully and repeatedly, by overlooking or forgetting it, analyzing what went wrong and resolving to do better in the future. Sometimes the error here is in accepting projects where the client's expectations are at odds with the way you think things should be done. Sometimes there's not enough communication with the client and education of the client away from what you see as wrongheaded ideas. While this factor still goes awry for me a few times every year, most of my projects go well because I attract plenty of clients who love the way I do things and respect my opinion where it differs from theirs. If you build a strong enough reputation, clients tend to listen to you - though not always. On the other hand, I've seen plenty of beginning copywriters as well as colleagues with years of experience struggle with the opposite side of this balancing act. They know how to please clients but in doing so, they make themselves unhappy. For your own sanity, you need to be able to set firm boundaries - ground rules, policies and things to say when clients become unreasonable in their demands. If they demand rewrite after rewrite, insist that their ignorant ideas are superior to what you know, expect you to chitchat endlessly whenever they feel like calling or otherwise drive you nuts, you must be able to head off these problems, negotiate solutions and disengage. Having trusted colleagues to discuss problems with, an online or in-person peer group or a coach help immeasurably in finding your way with pleasing clients. 3. Business skills. How much should you charge? How many clients do you need, and how can you find them? What if your sure-fire marketing tactics fail to bring in clients, or bring in more than you can handle? What if clients who say they loved what you did don't pay? No one is born knowing any of this stuff. With guidance from people who are running or have run a successful business, you can learn key business skills. If you've run any other kind of business before turning to copywriting or have watched successful entrepreneurs up close, you'll probably find this skill area easy. Years of membership in the New England Women Business Owners organization and my prior experience as a freelance writer for national magazines taught me how to be tough with clients when needed, charge what I'm worth, keep on trying when I felt I was on the right track, regroup when necessary and avoid dumb business decisions most of the time. One of the most common business challenges I've seen for aspiring copywriters involves money issues. Charge too little, and you may be working very hard, have loyal clients and yet not be earning enough to sustain yourself (or your family) over time. A support group or mentor can help you battle the inner demons that keep you from raising your rates, whereupon almost always you discover that the best clients don't mind paying more, and you feel happier about the business. The second most common business challenge involves perseverance. If something doesn't work out the way you'd hoped, do you retreat in hurt and disappointment, or do you simply try something else? I've watched a couple of people jump into the copywriting business with supreme enthusiasm and then brood obsessively over every minor reversal. Unfortunately, this type of person isn't suited to self-employment. If you give up or feel overwhelmed easily, then you may be better off working on salary for an employer. 4. Discipline. To earn a living writing copy for others, you must be able to manage deadlines and details. By deadlines, I mean not only the obvious point that if you've promised that a project would be finished by June 30, it must be, but also the less obvious point that you need to be able to complete top-notch work in a reasonable amount of time. If you can reach excellence only painstakingly or through a slow process of repeated drafts, you may not be able to make it in the business. Few clients are willing to pay enough for a web site, or be patient enough, to let you treat their project as if you were Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Another personality type that has trouble with discipline is a Crisis Cathy - someone who masterfully and continually creates emergencies, problems and roadblocks so that things never get done, but with seemingly legitimate excuses. Family members may put up with this kind of behavior, but clients generally won't, especially if it rears its head more than once. As for details, you must have the discipline to proofread, check facts and get things like names and numbers right. I've seen a couple of writers who can't spell or use proper grammer become fabulously successful nevertheless, but I do not recommend this. Where clients are concerned, it's a much bigger handicap than these blithe spirits will admit. Most clients do not take well to carelessness on your part. When you deliver work containing mistakes, they consider it disrespectful and unprofessional. So there you have it. These four competencies are roughly equal in importance for success as an independent copywriter or marketing consultant, I believe. Do you measure up? Are you willing to work on developing the qualities you don't have?

         
    What seo copywriting is and isn t

     

    I've been frustrated lately. It seems people just don't get it. There's lots of talk about SEO copywriting these days, but hardly any of it is on target. The majority of the conversations, posts and articles I've seen deal with topics like keyword density, allowable limits, over optimization and such. These people are making search engine copywriting all about the search engines. They are forgetting the fact that SEO copywriting is still copywriting. What that means - generally speaking - is you are still writing promotional copy designed to cause a *person* to take a specific action. Your target audience (your site visitors) should come first. The elements designed to help the copy rank well absolutely come last. What good is all the traffic in the world if your site copy doesn't convert visitors into buyers? Not much. That's why - when writing SEO copy - the human visitor comes first. Unfortunately, SEO copywriting is getting a bad name because so much of what is being cranked out is repetitious babble. Most of these pages would never have made it on to a site, except for the fact that the site owner wanted to rank highly for certain key terms. So, in the interest of salvaging the good name of search engine copywriting, before it's too late, let me offer some guidelines. SEO Copy Is: · first and foremost - written for the visitor. · unique and purposeful. · natural-sounding - it flows. SEO Copy Is Not: · written exclusively with the engines in mind. · mirrored, adjusted or altered to create new pages by simply changing keyphrases. · stiff, forced or overly repetitive. The Dos of SEO Copywriting When writing SEO copy, you'll want to: · understand who you are writing to. · choose what the focus of the page will be. · create a plan outlining the message you want to convey. · decide how best to communicate that message to your particular target customers. · choose which keyphrases will be incorporated into the copy. · make sure those keyphrases work well with the page and the planned copy. · incorporate keyphrases as you write (not after you write), so they flow naturally with the planned message. The Don'ts of SEO Copywriting When writing SEO copy, you should never: · create a plan based solely on how to rank high. · replace *every* instance of a generic term (car) with a keyphrase (red, convertible car). · add pages of copy simply to appease the search engines. · rely on useless keyword density ratios and formulas. · shove keyphrases in everywhere possible. (No, it won't get you banned, but it will sound completely ridiculous!) SEO copywriting is not the process of writing exclusively for the search engines. It is the process of writing copy to appeal to your visitors, while including elements to help the search engines and your visitors understand what the page is all about. If you remember who truly makes or breaks your site's success (your customers!) and focus on them, you're sure to create SEO copy that rings true.

         
    What the difference webcopywriting makes

     

    Web site copywriting is special method that allows the companies to advertise and promote themselves. In today’s highly competitive and ever-changing online environment it is not enough to rely on the texts alone. One should combine the knowledge of offline copywriting with online realities. Professionally written web site copywriting is one of the most significant and important elements of your web site. It is widely regarded as one of the most effective ways to communicate with your potential customers, retain old ones and attract new clients. In the developing of your web site you should understand that web site copywriting is one of the most significant elements of your marketing strategy. It is used by many companies to promote their businesses and services. It is widely regarded as one of the most efficient tools in the developing of online copywriting process. How do people get on your web site? How do they find the site of your company? Certainly some of them already know your company and some of them might visit your web site because they have read advertisement about your company. However, most of the visitors visit your site by the results of search engines after they put search terms they are interested in into the search engine boxes. Once the visitor has come to your web site you should try to grab his attention immediately. One should remember that most of the visitors do not have much time to read the whole text of your web site, the bulk of them just skip your text through. That is why one should develop trustworthy and reliable connection with the visitor right from the start. This is a prerequisite of transforming him into your potential client. If the visitor is not interested or not impressed with your text he will be impressed with the text of your competitor. Try to be precise, coherent and communicate with only one customer at a time. One should be engaged in direct dialogue with your customer. Individuality is what matters. By emphasizing that you speak directly to a person you might make your message more custom-oriented. The most successful web site copywriting copy is the one written based on the marketing research of your targeted audience. That is why the services of marketers who can evaluate the competitors of your market, as well wishes and expectations of your potential customers must used in conjunction with the development of well-written copywriting copy.

         
    Why great website makeovers begin with copywriting

     

    "Can you give me some feedback on my website?" a life coach named "Kevin" asked his e-zine subscribers. "I just revised my site - - finally!" Naturally, I couldn't resist clicking over to see what Kevin had done. I knew Kevin was a thoughtful coach with a reputation for high integrity. Kevin's new site cried out for a re-makeover. He had paid a designer to get drop-down menus and a bit of flash. As a result, Kevin admitted, "I have no budget to pay a copywriter." Ouch. After skimming a few pages of the site, I emailed Kevin. "Who is your target market? What do you offer? How are you unique?" Kevin replied, "I asked for feedback. I don't have time to answer a lot of questions. And everyone tells me the site looks professional." Okay. I can take a hint. Sure, the site looks professional. But Kevin admits he's in trouble. So far, he's gotten nothing but compliments -- no orders and no calls. What can we learn from Kevin? (1) Copywriters can save you money. Often I (and other experienced copywriters) can save clients money on web design. Kevin didn't need all those bells and whistles. In fact, some Internet marketing gurus claim they do more harm than good. And Kevin didn't understand HTML, let alone CSS. A copywriter might serve as go-between, translating Kevin's requirements into web design language. Your web designer saves time - which translates into saving money. (2) Copywriters help you earn money. Reading between the lines, I discovered Kevin could be a stand-out. He has developed an innovative 5-step process to help clients overcome obstacles and take charge of their lives. But Kevin doesn't realize why he's unique, so his website reads like five thousand other life coaching sites: vague promises of "take your life to the next level," "discover what's important to you" and "enjoy the work you love." Naturally I'm disguising the details of "Kevin's" story, but I really don't have to. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of sites sound just like Kevin's. (3) Copywriting is collaborative. Like Kevin, my clients often think they can show me a few pages of a website and say, "Make it sell!" Copywriting requires energy and planning, whether you're a do-it-yourselfer or a firm believer in outsourcing to a specialist. My clients often invest many hours answering my questionnaire. As they write, they often realize there's a hole in their business strategy. Or they're sitting on buried treasure. Until I know what Kevin wants to do with his website and his business, I can't make realistic recommendations - even as a casual ezine reader. I need to evaluate Kevin's copy in the context of Kevin's own goals, target market and unique selling proposition. Kevin could do this himself. But, like most busy business owners, he didn't want to invest the time. And he wasn't sure what questions to ask. When clients hire me, we have the luxury (and fun!) of creating a marketing message that hits the target market squarely in the center of the bull's-eye. Bottom Line: Websites deliver messages. Without a message, a website is a calling card - nice when you have more business than you can handle. Most of the time, revising copy brings traffic and sales. Websites typically earn back the copy investment with just a few new clients, not to mention saving energy and funds by avoiding a makeover to recover the makeover. And one day you realize you're not getting compliments... but you *are* getting sales.

         
     
         
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