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What's Wrong With Your Web Copy

By Expert Author: Steve Jenkins

If you know that content is king, can you make sure that your web visitors stay and read what's on your website long enough to take action - buy your product, sign up for your ezine or even contact you?
To ensure your web copy gets read, try putting the 10 tips below to work! They're easy to implement and gain top points for readability.
Tip #1: Go for Narrow and Short
Text on your website should be laid out newspaper-style! Text in short, narrow columns are easier on the eyes and helps your web user read faster. Never allow your text to span the width of your webpage because this strains the eyes. Aim for 15 to 20 words per line or about 60 to 70 characters per line.
Tip #2: No Scroll
Offering long articles? Break them up into manageable chunks, preferably spread out over a few web pages on your website. Having a long article on one web page means your web user needs to scroll and scroll and scroll...to read the article. You also hold your web users' attention for a longer duration when you offer manageable chunks as they won't be scared off by the long text. By doing this, you can also track whether your longer articles get read or whether the web user leaves after the first page.
Tip #3: Think Global
Write with your international web users in mind. Do not assume people know the abbreviation, acronym or jargon that you use. Be specific and clear. While US Dollars reign supreme in most online stores, do not assume your web users know what you mean, especially when it involves money.
Tip #4: Use Common Fonts
Not all fonts will appear as you think they will on your computer screen. Designer fonts may be cool to you but it's not so cool when your web users don't have these fonts and all they see is a substituted font! So when it comes to fonts, be on the safe side. Use common fonts like Arial, Verdana, Georgia or Times New Roman so that everyone can read what's on your website.
Tip #5: Avoid Hype
Avoid hype when you write your website text. Hype is over-exaggeration, overblown claims, overexcited tones, extreme use of superlatives and adjectives (like 'biggest ever', 'most mind blowing' or 'most important tool you will ever see in this lifetime'). It creates distrust and suspicion besides ruining credibility and reputation. Do not capitalize all your words. Do not overuse exclamation marks.
Tip #6: Write Like You Speak
Write like you are speaking to a friend. Make it engaging and personal. Use words like you and I to encourage rapport and relationship. You can also use contractions (such as it's, you've, I've, etc.). Stay clear of jargon, buzzwords, and corporate-speak (which essentially don't mean much and leave people confused).
Tip #7: Give Lots of White Space
White space is 'breathing space' and gives your web user a chance to pause. White space also helps keep your website focused because web users can concentrate on what's on it, instead of being distracted by too many items on the website! Allow white space between text by making your paragraphs shorter.
Tip #8: Pull Quotes for Attention
Use a pull quote to highlight important information. A pull quote consists of 4 or 5 lines of text extracted from a main body of text and quoted in a larger typeface to differentiate it from the main body text, usually placed within the article or sometimes in an empty column near the article. Limit the use of pull quotes though because if you use too many, you lose the effect.
Tip #9: Use Headlines
Like pull quotes, great headlines makes a reader want to continue reading! A headline should hook your web user by being provocative or create a promise of a solution. Make your headline stand out by creating curiosity (humans are naturally curious and would always want to know more!), inserting a question or statement which is out of the ordinary.
Tip #10: Be Specific
Aim to be specific when writing especially when it comes to numbers, names or places. For example, which is more believable? 3,581 or 3,500? Ms Krista or Mrs Krista Goon-Sim? Being specific adds to your credibility. Also, give well-supported facts because they can help bolster your argument and inspire confidence in your product and business.

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