Posted by Charles Brown at Thursday, September 14, 2006
freelance copywriter, copywriting tips, freelance commercial writer
- Does your site capture a list of opt-in email addresses of people who have an interest in what you sell? Repeat after me, the number one purpose of your website is to compile a list of prospective customers. The easiest way to do this is to offer a free information product such as a white paper, ebook or other material. I call this an eBait product, and you offer it as an inducement for people to give you their email addresses and permit you to send follow up messages. You may want to read a previous article I wrote on Permission Marketing at Freelance Copywriter Secrets: One Simple Idea.
- Is your site an information resource for prospective customers who want information on the topic of your expertise? Before people become customers, they usually go through an information-gathering stage. This is how most people use the web, as a place to find information. Then, and only if they are satisfied that their questions have been answered, will they use it to look for providers of products and services.
- Does your website attract repeat visitors with constantly new information? Allowing your information to grow old and stale is almost as bad as not providing information in the first place. Remember, your goal is for your site to become a resource for prospective customers or clients. Constantly adding new information keeps your site fresh and attractive to repeat visitors.
- Is your contact information easy to find? Is it on every page of your site? Webmasters do this so often it is embarrassing. But all your other efforts are for naught if visitors have to jump through hoops to contact you. Don’t make it difficult and frustrating for people to do business with you. I guarantee they will find someone else.
- Does your site give visitors a reason to contact you? Think this one through very carefully. WHY should your visitors contact you? Make it clear that you can relieve their pain, solve an urgent problem or create a change they desperately want and need. How do you do this? Benefits, benefits, benefits. Pack every page and every article with benefit statements that show up on your readers’ “what’s in it for me” radar.
- Is your site “keyword rich?” Keywords are the words or phrases people type into a search engine when they are looking for information on your topic. Take a look at this blog and notice how often I insert the keyword, “freelance copywriter.” My goal is to be on the first page when people look up “freelance copywriter” (there, I did it again) on all the major search engines. If your site is not keyword rich, how do you expect people to find you?
- Is your site easy on the eye? In other words, do your articles display acres and acres of unbroken text that the reader will have to wade through? Break up your copy with numbered lists, bullet points, sub headings and short paragraphs.
- Is your material written in a conversational style? Make your content easy and even fun to read. Forget what your English teacher taught you. Use contractions, ask questions, throw in a few sentence fragments or one-sentence paragraphs. Plan your articles on an index card and write it as if you are sending an email or a short note to a friend.
- Do your headlines grab interest and pull readers into your copy? According to the legendary copywriter, John Caples, headlines should either appeal to the reader’s self interest or contain news. And Caples backed up his advice with decades of research and testing that proves how to write effective headlines. Check another of my articles called Freelance Copywriter Secrets: Headlines That Grab The Reader's Attention to find out more on writing powerful headlines.
- Is your site planned around what you want readers to do? Every article should be written with that goal in mind. If you don’t know what next step you want to persuade visitors to take before you start to write, you cannot communicate it.
- Does your content answer the questions that brought visitors to your site? Go back to your keywords and look into the mind of the person who types those keywords onto a search engine. Why are they searching for this topic? Your keywords may get people to your site, but if you fail to answer their questions they will leave and never come back.
- Is your site cluttered with fancy graphics, bells or whistles? My general response to a slow loading media file is to click away from that site. I hate those things. Don’t make me wait when I come to your site, and don’t make your material hard to find just because you wanted to get “creative” with the look of your page.