Was your website written by a web writer? Your readers can tell in 7 seconds or less.

*** The following article originally appeared in the April issue of my newsletter, The Evolving Website. To subscribe to my free e-newsletter, use the yellow sign up box to the right of this blog posting.***

Writing for a web site is unlike any other form of writing. That is because people read web sites differently from the way they read newspapers or books. Or even this newsletter. Studies have show that people visit a site for no more than seven seconds before they decide to stay or click off. Is your site catching your reader’s interest… and then holding his attention and leading him to take action? A site written by a good web copywriter will do exactly that.

Here are some key tips that good web writers keep in mind while writing for a site.
 Copy should be directed toward the reader. Focus on words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ and not the words ‘we’ and ‘our’.
 Speak to the reader in a clear, concise manner. He wants to get the information fast.
 Provide a way for your readers to scan the page so they can quickly find the information they want.
 Give the reader the information she is looking for…not what you want to tell her.
 Provide good links where the readers can find more detailed information, if they desire.
 Use lists, bullets, capitalization, line breaks, and other formatting techniques to enhance the reader’s ability to scan.
 Don’t leave the readers wondering what to do. At the end of the web page provide a ‘call to action.’ Have the option right there. Don’t make them search for it. Odds are, they won’t. Click. (oops!!!)

Now take a fresh look at your web site. Pretend you are seeing it for the first time. As a new visitor, can you easily find specific information? If you are selling a service, is the service clear and well defined? If you are selling a product, is it easy to determine that you have a great shipping policy… that you take credit cards? Is it evident what sets your product apart from the competition… and even what your product is? Can the reader find the answers to her pressing questions without having to slog through words she doesn’t care about? If not, you are losing valuable business prospects every day. Because your reader holds the mouse. And she’s not afraid to use it… CLICK!

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