The secrets to being an online copywriter: Writing to get read

Do people actually read your website? You spent a long time writing it or a lot of money on a copywriter, so it’s an important question. Don Seidenberg, an American freelance copywriter in Amsterdam, is one of The Collective’s online copywriter specialists and here he gives some inside ideas to get your website read.

The most important thing to remember is that your website is not about you or your company. It’s about your visitors – your prospective clients – and how they experience your site. Their experience determines how they perceive your company and how they imagine working with you will be. Perception is everything.

Reading online is different from reading on paper. Online you will usually scan for the information we need because there is so much information on the internet and so many places for our attention to go. It’s hard to concentrate.

Know this as an online copywriter, and remember that you need to write for people who are in a hurry.

Here are some tips to help you add clarity and make your content more readable.

  • Relevance – Understand why people visit your site. Then make sure your content is relevant to their visit, otherwise, they’ll bounce. If you’re a writer, show writing samples. Your visitors are most likely not interested in your vision or mission.  So don’t waste their time.
  • Immediacy – Visitors often scan the first sentence of each paragraph. If the information is useful, they will complete the paragraph.  Write every first sentence, so visitors know what will follow. If you have irrelevant content, there are a good chance visitors will miss the good stuff.  Edit your content so the heart of your message is clear.  The length? Long enough to cover the details, short enough to be a pleasant read.
  • Exactness –  The more words you use, the more difficult it is to follow your point. Omit needless words. Shorter sentences make for easy reading.  Break up longer sentences into two or three sentences.
  • Headlines – A good headline is like a traffic sign.  It informs people what’s coming next.  Make sure your headline illustrates a benefit and is informative.  Then visitors know what to expect.
  • Space – White space draws people in. The more white space around something, the more people will notice it.  Break up your text into shorter paragraphs and use bullet points where appropriate.  This makes it easier to scan.

About the writer:

Don Seidenberg profile picDon Seidenberg is a genuine New Yorker who relocated to Amsterdam back in the day. He delights in making the complicated easy to understand, whatever the medium: ads, annual reports, brochures, speeches, and (mostly) web content. He develops content strategy, teaches a web writing workshop and writes ‘content’ or copy as all proper copywriters prefer it to be called. This article was republished from his blog.

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