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Writing Words for the Web  and connecting To New Audiences

By John Alexander

Two of the most important writing skills that makes your Web site successful are:

1. Maximizing your visibility within search results to your ideal buying audience (being easily found.)
2. The delivery of a message that compels your visitors to respond to what they find. (action is taken as a result.)

While we tend to spend many hours fine tuning our SEO related skills to gain top visibility, far to many people never grow their skills enough in this second area. Writing words for the Web that result in the desired action being taken is as equally important as gaining top that top visibility for your researched keyphrases. 

Writing for your readers is not less important than writing for search engine friendliness. You absolutely need both if you want to be profitable. 

So for today's article I want to give you some tips that you can apply in your practice of optimization that will also help you learn to communicate better or as I like to say, connect to the heart of your readers. You need to be easily found by people searching but you also must take that traffic and make use of it so that your Web site becomes profitable. There are a variety of ways you can write words and dialog that will help you hit home every time.  Before we discuss a few of these, let's briefly identify a few common errors in Web communications today.

Errors in Writing for the Web:

For the sake of this article - it not JUST about SEO influences anymore and has not been for some time.

In my opinion, the most common error that people make when they put their Web pages together, is the aspect of "self focus." People are often not aware of how much their Web copy may dialog about how they are the most experienced, or they are the best, or they are going to sell you something of exceptional value. 

This type of dialog: 

  • We are the best
  • Us
  • Ours
  • Our program
  • Our service
  • We have the best...etc...etc.

Is not nearly as powerful as focusing on words that speak to the reader:

  • You can enjoy
  • You will appreciate
  • Your choice is all that counts
  • You're going to appreciate etc..ect.

By working with dialog that is "customer focused" you are creating content that reads for voice, nearly like broadcasters write for radio or TV. Your Web page needs to communicate and flow smoothly with this type of customer focus, especially if you hope to connect with your readers in a way to do business.

The next biggest error is probably that people often fail write in a very compelling call to action. If you want people to take action, you need to communicate that call very well and never assume that your readers will ever follow through to your objective because they should just naturally do so. They won't, unless your dialog makes your communication compelling. By compelling, I don't mean pushy. You help them to understand the genuine benefits and you educate them about the value of the offer in such a way as to allow them to make a buying decision. 

Let's talk about some different ways that you can write your words to communicate and compel response.

Writing Words for the Web and how to connect to your readers:

  • Never make the error of assuming that someone reading your offer will automatically connect the features of your product or your service to the benefits. They won't, unless you dialog about it in such a way that will help them see every benefit.
  • When you write a page, try and think in terms of writing to communicate, rather than writing to impress. Many of us learned sentence structure and the mechanics of putting together sentences or paragraphs in the proper way back in school. But how many of us were ever taught how to write words to really communicate what we mean.
  • Don't be a "sesquipedalian" writer (or a writer who is given to the overuse of long words)
    Perhaps some people would feel that the best way to impress their reader was to use overly complex terminology (maybe to demonstrate how intelligent they are) but unfortunately if you constantly write with the overuse of long, multi-syllable words - it will not help you connect to your readers.
  • When you are writing your content, try and keep it simple, customer focused dialog that is written to help the reader understand what you are saying.
  • Give ample time to developing the Title of your page (not just for keywords, but to say something compelling.)
  • Most writers of sales related pages never offer nearly enough benefits. How many benefits are best?
    Let's put it this way, don't ever stop looking for new benefits that you may have overlooked. Remember that very often, it is as the reader is reviewing the value of the benefits, that they make their decision that they want to buy your product.
  • Is there a place in your Web copy where you can use phrasing with a little humor?
  • Is there room in your content to reflect a little story that demonstrates your point?
    Story telling can be very effective if it is well written and flows to illustrate a point you are making.
  • Can you think of a way to tie your content into something metaphorical? 

    A metaphor is a figure of speech that suggests a likeness or similarity but offering a description that is not literally applicable. 

Examples of Metaphors:

  • the heart of a lion
  • time is money
  • a blanket of snow

Remember the importance of a call to action.

General e
xamples of "calls to action:"

  • "If you'll do me a favor of filling in this form, I'll extend your 30 Day trial Offer by another 30 days. That means you can test the program for a full 60 days before you decide whether you'd like to keep it."
  • Send for a copy right now and judge for yourself how much is worth to you compared with the few tax deductible dollars it costs.
  • Most people who have made money and become successful have done so because they took action at the right time. If you're ready to take action, it's your first step to getting this very powerful new strategy to use as you please for your business.
  • Okay, if that makes sense, then stop - walk over to the phone right now and give me a call at 1-800-XXX-XXXX.

A call to action should direct the reader to take what ever action you have identified that will make the page you created successful in meeting an objective. It may not always be about sales. It is up to you to determine the objective of the page.

Other Types of Writing Tips for the Web:

  • Take you time in writing your Web content. Sometimes by writing over a period of 48 hours will give you more times to digest exactly what you are trying to communicate. You may even find yourself coming back to restructure your content to add more value, after sleeping on it for a bit.
  • Remember that 2009 is the "year of the writer" if you are making a transition to the Web. There has never before been such great opportunities for writers as there are this year. The Web needs good copy writers who know how to communicate well.

Try and make a habit of writing consistently for the Web. 

Article Marketing is considerably different than writing general content or FAQs. Writing for news is different again. 

If you need some help, remember that we teach in depth Workshops in these areas as well as several other high performance SEO skills in our live Search Engine Academies which are located in local communities around the globe. 

Our hands-on workshops go much deeper into these areas of teaching if you need help to get your Web site profitable. 
Check out Workshop dates and locations here in a community closest to you.

Coming up next:  
Watch for PART 2  - Conceptual Word Lab for
Writing Words for the Web     

About John Alexander
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with his partner SEO educator Robin Nobles, author of the very first comprehensive online search engine marketing courses. John is author of an e-book called Wordtracker Magic and has taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world wide. John's articles can be read in publications like REALTOR Magazine, Search Engine Guide, WEBpro News and many others.  

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