Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2 Steps in Writing an Effective Web Copy

by Althea Tan

Most online instructions on how to write effective copy for the web revolve around details and tips regarding keywords, page titles, META descriptions, and other similarly technical things. These materials will tell you, for instance, to mind your page title or soak up your copy with keywords, all in an effort to jack up the chances of your site landing on the top results of search engines.

These pointers, of course, are grounded on the assumption that people who go online to perform searches on engines hardly have any time to spare to click where the links go. They think that people are so pressed for time that they just look at the list of results and pick the links that appear to suit their inquiry best.

It's true, but there's more.

Get people in…

Over the years, search engines have become the single most important tool to answer people's needs online. On the surface, their appeal lies in the simplicity of the interface of most search engines. This appeals to both to the tech-savvy who is looking for clarity and the technophobe who is after convenience. Because of their sheer usefulness, businesses and other profit-oriented entities have relied on search engines to lure customers in.

Given the current generation's diminutive attention span, plus the sheer volume of sites competing for users' attention, catching--and sustaining--the attention of prospective customers is vital to the success of a search engine-driven Internet campaign. Most information available online will point to technicalities that enhance the chances of getting someones attention. And for good reason. Most often a split-second glance is all you get. If you blow it, there goes your business prospect up in smoke.

As such, emphasize on the basics. A good page title reels people in. If possible, you want your title to not only capture the essence of their inquiry, but capture it verbatim. To online users, there is nothing more satisfying than finding a webpage that tackles exactly what they want in its title alone. A click, in this case, is almost automatic.

For the more discerning user or on a topic that is so popular that several webpages capture it verbatim, the next level of competition is in the META description. In Google, for instance, the META description appears to describe the link. Often, these are the only two chances you get in terms of attracting visitors and hits.

…and get them to stay

The second part of writing effective copy for the web is the need for the piece or page to be ultimately convenient, clear, and useful. For this to be possible, a copy should be short and sweet and apt, always complete, never superfluous and flowery, and always engaging. Remember, getting the bite is one thing, reeling them in is another.

Also, web copywriters need to understand the peculiarities of the online audience vis-à-vis the broader audience in general. It does not end in carefully selecting keywords and phrases; it is enticing an audience but not failing them and keeping true to your promise.

About the Author

Copyright (c) Althea Marie Tan - The Content Annex is a content development company that offers comprehensive writing solutions for busy entrepreneurs. Visit http://www.thecontentannex.com for more information.