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Loosey Goosey, Tighty Writey 7 Steps To Web Copy Perfection
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Ever click on a web page, and instead of reading it, your brain interprets it as "Blahhh blahh blah"? This means one of two things: 1. Dude, you're burnt or 2. That guy's copy just didn't cut it.
Yes, a webmaster's biggest copywriting challenge is to crack through the tough noggin of his dazed and distracted surfer, and make that person SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE.
So: what type of web copy gets noticed... and read? The kind that's tight as a drum, as opposed to loose and all over the place.
Tight copy is organized in a logical fashion, with a clear main point heading up each paragraph.
Tight copy finds alternate words instead of repeating the same ones over and over.
Tight copy is short enough to be interesting, and long enough to get the point across.
Tight copy is emphatic. Instead of using three adjectives, one strong one does the job.
Next time you sit down to write that content, remember this phrase: "Loosey Goosey, Tighty Writey." Yes, it's silly, but hopefully those four words will sink in and give you the power to make your web copy POP.
Not sure how to tighten the copy nuts and bolts? Keep these steps in mind:
1. Outline the key points.
Unless you enjoy scribbling endless drafts, you must begin with an outline. This will be the framework of your piece. Remember: without a foundation, your copy doesn't stand a chance.
2. Fill in the supporting sentences.
Once the outline is in place, the copy should flow like water. With the main points to guide your pen, supporting sentences will fall into place.
3. Give her a read-through.
Print out your first draft and read aloud, listening for rhythm and solid pacing. Patch the weak spots, eliminate run-ons. When you're done tweaking, the copy should virtually sing.
Now that you've nailed the sentence structure, fine-tune it. Keep your eye out for repeated words and thoughts. Open up to [http://thesaurus.com;] you'll be using this to make word substitutions. Keep it lively and engaging.
5. Human spellcheck.
The next round is a job for your own two eyes. You'll need to catch errors like "this" when you meant "the" and "though" instead of "through."
6. Go for the birdseye view.
Step back for a panoramic view and again check the structure. Is the piece balanced? Do points 1 through 3 contain two paragraphs, but 4 and 5 contain one? If so, shorten the longer sections and make a matched set. Check your bold, your italics, your numbered sequences.
7. Computer spellcheck.
Now that you've "signed off" so to speak, have your friend Microsoft Word take a gander in the last round. Run spellcheck, fix any remaining errors. Print and eyeball it one more time!
If you've followed the above seven steps correctly, your copy should now have gone from "Loosey Goosey" to "Tighty Writey." And that's the mark of one heck of a good copywriter!
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