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What makes a good Website copywriter


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What makes good website content – and a great Web copywriter?

*Article by Writing Angels

You'll often hear that writing for the Web requires a very different approach to offline copywriting. But what is it about writing website content that makes it such a challenge?

Companies can spend thousands on the design of their website, but when it comes to adding content many still upload existing brochure text, or get the designer or someone within their company to knock up some copy. But good design alone won’t convince a visitor that you're an organisation they will want to do business with. The quality of the copy on your website can make, or ultimately break, the success of your site.

The difficulty with writing a website is there is so much to consider over and above the words. The content needs to be thought through in terms of how it relates to the site’s structure; its design and navigation, and the audience it's targeting. It has to grab and retain the attention of the visitor, who on average will make a decision to stay or leave in as little as a three-second scan of the landing page. It also needs to mention the right search terms frequently enough to gain a legitimately high ranking with content-driven search engines such as Google.

Making your site work for you
Pulling all this together takes skill and a real understanding of how the Web works. Inexperienced writers tend to address website content in the same way they do a brochure, but sites aren't printed material – they’re interactive, and that makes the user unpredictable. The copy on your site has to work alongside the navigation to lure the reader in, and direct them through the site the way you want them to go.

Even including popular search terms can cause a headache. The writer often has to go against their natural writing style and repeat keywords throughout the page text. What needs to be avoided, however, is such repetition affecting the overall readability of the page itself.

Maximising the Web as a marketing tool
What's also critical is that your website copy doesn’t just talk about the details of what you offer, but what benefits this will bring the visitor. It’s vital that whoever writes your site presents the crucial, differentiating benefits of your approach and offering over and above your competitors – who on the Web are only a click away.

The writer also needs to think through what company image you want to project, and which market you want to attract, so they can adopt the most appropriate style and tone throughout the site. This is vital in ensuring that what you have to offer convinces the audience you want to target. Setting this from the outset also helps to ensure that your site remains consistent no matter how much it grows, or how many different authors contribute to it, in the future.

Writing for the Web is like writing any type of marketing material – it's best done by creative writers that have a good understanding of both the medium and the marketing behind it. But it's less forgiving than any other vehicle. Make a mistake, or fail to fully exploit the opportunity it presents you, and it can cost you not only in wasted time, money and effort but unrealised sales and damaged reputation.

Copyright © Writing Angels 2006

Click here for the 10 questions you should ask your website copywriter if you want a site that gets you results

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