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How to write web copy

By Jakob Jelling

Traditionally, copywriting has been defined as any kind of business writing whose goal was to market products and services to a target audience. This would include writing such as brochures, leaflets, and infomercials etc. The increased popularity of the internet has made it an effective medium for savvy marketers to target an increasing number of internet surfers. However the peculiarities of the internet do not allow for traditional marketing strategies. Any successful web copywriter has to be in tune with the multifarious possibilities of the internet to create effective web copy.

The primary question any copywriter needs to ask himself is – what is the object of my website? Are you looking to generate direct sales? Is your website information-based? Is it meant to provide troubleshooting information or technical help? Do you want to generate subscribers or repeat visitors? It is quite clear that each of the above listed end result requires a different approach. An effective web copy would deliver the desired result swiftly.

To yield the optimum result, any marketing campaign has to identify its target audience. Traditional marketing has demonstrated that the most successful marketing campaigns are those that are geared specifically towards their desired customer. The next step is to identify the specific benefits that you are marketing to your desired customer. Effective web copy insures that the visitor is left in no doubt of the exact advantage they’ll derive from the product or service advertised.

Once you have identified your customer and your core competency, your next step should be to choose an effective marketing tactic for your specific product. Would an e-mail campaign or a banner ad be more effective? Should you go for pop-up advertising or an e-zine? If you are combining a number of approaches, keep in mind that they should support each other.

Now comes the task of writing the actual copy. The most important aspect of a web copy is the headline. The majority of internet surfers can be lured in by an attractive headline. The prose should be occasion- and audience-specific. Marketing a sports car to rich urbanites is very different from offering technical support over the internet to a harried software developer. An informal style that adopts a personal tone is the most influential. Clear and direct prose should be preferred over a more ornamental style-the object of a web copy is to communicate.

Since your medium is the internet, you have to constructively utilize its inherent capabilities. Use targeted keywords-this directs search engines to your website, translating into a more effective campaign. Provide links at the bottom of the paragraph or the web page directing consumers to additional information. Graphics should be relevant to your copy. Any excess of visual detail just clutters the page and distracts from the message. Also, a graphics heavy page takes time to download-this may turn off quite a few customers. You have to keep in mind that a truly successful web copy is a selling tool and a savvy copywriter would work towards maximizing this attribute.

About the author
Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.sitetube.com. Visit his website for the latest on planning, building, promoting and maintaining websites.

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