Perhaps you're trying to write Web copy for the first time. Perhaps you're not a writer, but you're charged with developing content. Perhaps you're an interactive pro who's wrestling with difficult, disorganized content—and a committee of reviewers.

Take a minute to review these 10 fundamentals of great copy. How does your Web writing stack up?

1. Connect with readers immediately

Speak to their concerns. Answer their questions. Value their time.

After you write a page, step back and ask yourself, “Do my readers care?” If the answer is “not really,” rewrite the headline to make them care. Or delete the content. Your readers are bright, impatient, ready to move on.

2. Use the tenets of good persuasive writing

Trying to wrestle content into shape? Force yourself to follow these five tenets. (Remember freshman composition?) Yes, it takes work, but you'll be surprised at the improvement in your copy.

  • Capture attention. What's the most compelling aspect of your message? Put it first.

  • Hold interest. Reward your readers with meaningful, need-to-know information.

  • Answer questions. Figure out the questions readers are asking. Answer them!

  • Overcome objections. Be persuasive. Provide details. Reassure. You know the objections to whatever it is you're promoting, selling, explaining. Don't avoid addressing them.

  • Compel action. What do you want your readers to do? Tell them.

3. Write in the first or second person

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gwyneth Dwyer is director of writing services at Larsen (www.larsen.com), an interactive, branding, and design firm with offices in Minneapolis and San Francisco. She blogs at MarketingProfs Daily Fix (www.mpdailyfix.com). Reach her at g.dwyer@larsen.com.