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I hesitate to single out a handful of "must-have" words for your Web site. It brings to mind the overblown promises of "power words" and the like. "Power words" strike me as being about as useful as "power naps" and "power lunches." Heavy on hype and light on content.

However, some words really can make a difference on your site. They are not "powerful" in isolation but, in the right context, can make an important difference.

No. 1—Free

For those of us, myself included, who go on about how writing online is different, it is humbling to see how some things are exactly the same. "Free" is an extremely important word in the world of offline marketing, and it's just as important online.

In fact, in some ways, "Free" is even more important online. Much of the Web has grown up on the promise of Free:

  • Free browsers
  • Free music
  • Free software trials
  • Free subscriptions

And so on. If you have any doubts about whether users of the Web are that interested in "free"—do a quick search on Google. I just did, and got 172 million results. The number one listing? "Adobe Acrobat Reader—Download."

So don't be shy about using the word. Offer free downloads, free subscriptions, free reports and papers, free trials, free shipping, free consultations.

The Web likes free (even if online publishers don't).

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image of Nick Usborne

Nick Usborne has been working as a copywriter and trainer for over 35 years. He is the author of Net Words, as well as several courses for online writers and freelancers. Nick is also an advocate for Conversational Copywriting.

LinkedIn: Nick Usborne

Twitter: @nickusborne