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Essential tips for copy writing

by Chris Sutton | February 5, 2012

When you’re writing a blog the best way to keep on schedule is to have a series of topics ready to write to. One that I hadn’t intended to cover again for a while is copy writing, especially as it relates to products although the principles apply to any copy on a site. So why revisit this topic? Over the last week I’ve had discussions with a couple of clients who have been keen to improve their online sales results, but really don’t see the need to rewrite and spruce up their product descriptions. In recent weeks Tim has covered the need for killer textfor online sales, and I’ve looked at why good descriptions are so important and the mindsetrequired to write them.

Today we’ll provide some essential tips for writing product descriptions or any website content. Some are obvious, and others perhaps less so.

  • Possibly the most important tip is that the website isn’t about you, it’s about what you can do for your customer. We’ve all been to sites where the overriding message is about what a wonderful company they are, sometimes banging on at great length. This example below for instance extends to nearly 400 words with the offer of more if you click on the link.

    Our commitment

    Now information about your company is not unimportant, but if you don’t tell your visitors what you can do for them, they’ll be gone in a flash.
  • Sell benefits, not features. This is an oldie and applies to any sales situation, online or otherwise, but it’s staggering that some site owners think that a few cursory facts about a product will actually make the sale. Remember, “Facts tell, benefits sell”
  • Try to indentify customer needs or problems that the product will solve, that’s a powerful benefit.
  • Keep your copy concise, 100 – 150 words is enough text to tell a story about the product and to include the relevant keywords, but there are certain products where longer descriptions are necessary and when it is, break up the text with headings, or use tabbed sections to make it easy for the customer get the information they need.
  • Use words that evoke emotions such as: energise, refresh, vibrant, strong. For instance, which sounds more enticing:
    available in red green and blue”
    available in three vibrant colours, red green and blue”
  • Have somebody proof read your copy. Frequent spelling and grammar mistakes say as much about your professionalism as the quality of your website design.
  • Don’t use jargon or clichés, you won’t impress anybody by jamming in lots of industry jargon, or banal clichés, they are simply a barrier to effective communication. Don’t do it.
  • Don’t be overly formal or boring. It’s tempting to try to write “professional” sounding copy for your site (this often involves the use of clichés) but often such copy just ends up sounding wooden and uninteresting. Write in your natural style and remember your copy can be professional and compelling.
SiteSuite Website Design - Online Marketing Blog Author Chris Sutton

Co-founder and Managing Director of SiteSuite Australasia, Australian pioneers in web design and ecommerce since 1997. For more from Chris you can follow him on Google+ or Twitter, and for further professional musings and thoughts on his other passions in life,

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