I had an interesting conversation with someone I “know” on G+ about web copywriting, who was considering hiring me to improve his site copy. He knew a lot about things like sales funnels, site optimization, meta tags and so on, but felt he didn’t have a knack for the actual site copy. I agree, although his copy wasn’t terrible, it did need to be updated.
I can summarize his problems pretty easily:
- Site copy wasn’t a top priority for him, so it didn’t get the attention it needed
- He used a lot of $10 words when $2 words would do. He’s a really smart guy, but he isn’t a copywriter so he wrote as though for himself rather than for his audience. Never forget who your market is!
- He’s proud of his product and its features, but he droned on and on about it. Copywriting for the web is not the same as other formats, and audiences tend to skim rather than read. His most important details were buried in the body.
- He wrote about what his product does, rather than what it could do for his customers. For example, a hybrid car might get 40 MPG, but the customers care more that it will save them $2,400 yearly in gas, or let them take a dream vacation every year that they couldn’t afford otherwise.
- Not enough subheads and bullets. Web copywriting should make heavy use of those. ‘Nuff said.
- No descriptive alt text and such, for the images on his page. Those things grab readers’ eyes, but also help page ranking.
- And, he didn’t do a lot of research on his competitors. I checked some of their sites and found a couple features they did not offer, which would be great points to use in his web copy.
Unfortunately he went with a freelancer who will end up working for about $2.50/hour on the project, which I won’t do, but I did pass on these points to give to the guy he did hire. He’s a nice guy and I wanted to help him out.
Anyway, keep these points in mind if you end up doing your own copywriting rather than hiring someone. And don’t forget Amazon – there are some pretty good books on the basics of web copywriting available for not much money.