In the literary world, "good writing" may be notoriously difficult to define. But on the Web, good copy has two clear, easily understood objectives:
- It elevates your search engine rankings.
- It attracts qualified traffic and holds the attention of your prospects and customers.
If yours is an e-commerce site, your copy must also assume a third role as a virtual salesperson capable of closing the deal.
On the Web, your words carry a lot of weight. Fortunately, you can build verbal muscle, fast. Following are five tips, hints, and suggestions you can apply right now, with a minimum of time or technical hassle, to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your website writing.
1. Write informative, keyword-rich hyperlinks
Text hyperlinks enjoy a privileged status on the Internet. Search engine spiders value the text within them more highly than ordinary body copy. More important, they're virtual tour guides for your visitors: Good links direct your readers to the destinations they seek. But when they're poorly composed, your readers may overlook important content or be misdirected to irrelevant pages.
Why be stingy with words? There's no penalty for length, so make your text links as informative as possible. Instead of click here for more information, load your link with appropriate keywords that tell readers what they can expect upon arrival, such as compare laser printer prices, features and print speeds or download Whiff & Poof's top 10 life science stock picks for the upcoming quarter.
2. Use headlines and subheads
Headlines attract attention, whet the reader's appetite and encourage investigation of subsequent text. Subheads break long blocks of text into smaller, less-intimidating pieces, and they provide a content summary to the large number of readers who will scan your text. They're standard features of articles and brochures, yet remain underused on the Web—where they have an additional advantage: The formatting devices used to distinguish heads and subheads, such as bold print, italics, or a larger font size, give them added weight with search engines.
Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.
LinkedIn: Jonathan Kranz