Q: ‘How does writing online copy differ from writing my brochure/flyer/sales letter etc?’
A: Copywriting basics remain the same. Your copy still needs to sell your product or service, presentation is equally important and accurate spelling and grammar will never go out of style.
The main difference between writing online copy and writing for traditional offline media such as brochures, flyers etc is that your online customers are likely to have an idea of what they’re looking for when they search for your site. That puts them in the driving seat. Whereas the main purpose of offline material is to grab a reader’s attention when they’re doing something else, online content has to respond to the needs of someone who may already be quite well-informed about the product or service you’re offering. As it’s much easier to compare web-based information, there’s also more competition online, so every word has to earn its living. Of course there are also the search engines to consider…
Writing effective web content is therefore a careful blend of art and science.
Tip 1. Research your keywords
Search engines such as Google send out ‘spiders’ that ‘crawl’ through web pages looking for relevant content. When I say ‘relevant’ I mean well-structured copy that features keywords. If your keywords match those typed into a search engine by a user, your pages will rank higher on Google and attract more traffic.
So how do you find out which keywords people are using to search for products and/or services like yours?
Shop around. There are several free resources you can use, such as Google’s keyword tool, or you can pay for more specialist tools like Wordtracker.
Once you’ve uncovered your primary keywords, make sure you also research niche keywords that may bring you more quality traffic. For example, your primary keyword for a page might be ‘luxury London hotels’ and your niche keyword would be ‘hotels near Park Lane’.
As a general rule of thumb, each of your pages should be optimised using a primary and secondary (niche) keyword within the body copy. Don’t forget to include keywords in:-
a) Metadata e.g. title tags, descriptive tags, alt tags
b) Contextual links (links within your text that take you to another page on your site)
The Top 10 tips we’ll feature in the next few posts are offered as a guide to web copywriting but are by no means an exhaustive list. We’re always interested in learning more about our craft, so if you have any other tips to add feel free to share them below.