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10 Web Site Copywriting Tips

The anatomy of a Web site from a copywriting perspective can be confusing. Many business owners think they just need to "write something." They see their Web site as something that is just one of those costs and necessities of doing business.

Not true! A carefully crafted Web site is essential to not only build your brand, but also to attract prospects and make them "fall for you." Here are 10 Web site copywriting tips:

1. Keyword Research
After gaining a clear understanding of the products, services, goals, mission, features, benefits, differentiators, and other characteristics of the company, it’s time to perform keyword research. Performing keyword research is essential for optimizing a Web site. Without it, you’re missing the primary building block for creating a Web site that attracts both the search engines and the consumers searching for your products and services online.

2. Headlines
Once you’ve identified the keywords for the Web pages, turn your attention to headlines. The keyword should appear in the headline of the Web page. It not only identifies what the page is about, which is important in and of itself. But it is also what appears as the link in search engine results.

So, a headline needs to include the keyword and also must be compelling enough for the visitor to want to learn more. Headlines that are in the form of questions work very well, as do statements that speak to the visitors’ pain points or, in other words, their reasons to be searching the keyword in the first place.

3. Keyword Placement
In addition to the headline, the search engines want to see the primary keyword in the first or second sentence. This further identifies the page as being relevant to the topic. The keyword should also be sprinkled throughout the copy as much as possible without seeming forced or stuffed, and also needs to be in the last one or two sentences. The right keyword placement cannot be overstated. It’s one of the things that separates spammers from legitimate content.

4. Homepage Copy
The homepage can be a tricky page as far as SEO copywriting goes. You should include 200-300 words so you can include a keyword that will have a sufficient amount of weight.

Some people like to use flash as the primary content on the homepage or otherwise make the homepage navigable without much copy. This is a fine strategy because, if it’s done well, it can compel a potential customer to click-through to other pages.

However, unless the flash on the homepage does a great job of convincing the visitor to click through the site, they’re gone. But it also can be very detrimental for search engine placement. The homepage is very important in search results, so without an optimized homepage, you may be risking lots of exposure and clients.

5. Persuasive Copy
This next step sounds kind of general, but we all kind of intuitively know it when we see it. It’s having a site with compelling and persuasive content. We’re not talking about keywords here. We’re talking about copy that addresses the prospect’s pain points and makes them want to contact you because of the way you position yourself and, specifically, how you communicate the benefits of your offering.

6. Bullets
Bulleted lists break-up the copy. Many people have short attention spans when they’re browsing the Internet. If someone finds your Web page because you’ve done a great job of optimizing it and wrote a great headline, the next thing they will do is scan the copy.

Some people want to read everything on the page to learn as much as possible. But a significantly higher percentage of people will quickly scan the copy and focus their attention on bullets because they stand out. So having bullets describing the benefits of your product or service within the copy can make a huge difference.

7. Customer-Focused Copy
Your Web site copy needs to be customer-focused. You want to concentrate on the benefits of your product or service—keeping in mind the fact that your prospect is either consciously or unconsciously thinking, “What’s in it for me?” How can you solve their challenge or need right now? If you don’t make it clear, they may click-away to a competitor in a few seconds.

8. Subheads
This one is easily missed. Subheads, like bullets, break-up the copy and make people want to read more about your business. Subheads should always be benefit-driven and include your keyword, when possible, to attract both search engines and the human readers for whom you’re writing in the first place.

9. Call to Action
Your Web page isn’t complete without a strong call to action. What do you want them to do right now? Call for more information? Fill-out your contact form? Purchase a product on your e-commerce site? Whatever it is, your call to action must give a prospect a compelling reason to take whatever action you want them to take.

10. Meta data
Meta data is the content you don’t actually see when you’re reading a Web page. For SEO copywriting purposes, meta data is comprised of the meta title, meta description, and meta keywords. The meta title is the link you see when you perform a keyword search, and the meta description is the content directly below this link that describes the content of the page. Including meta data is important because the search engines have an easier time finding your site when someone performs a search on your business or keyword.

How is your Web site working?

Scott Siders is the President of Novo Writing, specializing in SEO copywriting and website copywriting: