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Web Writing - Don't Lose Your Visitor's Attention!

By Author: Steve Davis
Total Articles: 38

Did you know that your writing can have a huge impact on how successful your site will be?  If you're trying to sell a product or a service, what you say and how you say it is extremely important because you don't want to lose your visitor's interest before they get to your order form.
Here are some tips to help you improve your writing skills in order to keep your visitor's attention.
Stress The Benefits Early
If the goal of your site is to sell a product or service, don't focus on what you want, focus on what your visitor wants.  Whether you realize it or not, when a person lands on your homepage, there's a little voice inside their head that constantly asks, "What's in it for me?"  They came to your site because they are searching for something, and it's your job to help them find it.
Now, this next sentence is going to sound a little harsh, but there is a lot of truth to it...
Your visitors don't care about you until they find out what your site can do for them.
Think about it and read that sentence again.  When you go to Google and do a search for "download music", that probably means you are looking for a site that will allow you to download your favorite songs, right?
So when you click on the first site, you don't want to get bombarded with biographical information about the author of the site.  At this point, you are looking for the benefits.  You want the goods, the guts, and the glory.
Now, after you discover that this site may be of use to you, you may decide to read up on the author and how the site was founded, etc.  But you don't want to be hit with the history of the site right from the beginning.
I see so many people starting their web sites out with a 10 paragraph bio about themselves.  The paragraphs are filled with countless "me's" and "I's". (Yawn)
If you are trying to sell a product or a service, this is the absolute WRONG way to go about it. You must feed your visitors the benefits, give them what they want. 
Get rid of all the I's and me's and replace them with the all important word, "YOU".  Remember, you are not writing this site for yourself, you're writing it for the potential customer.
Don't Assume Your Visitors Will Read Everything
The average person will only read between 5 and 10 percent of your site. This is because most people find what they're looking for within the first few pages. So if you're trying to sell something, make sure your important benefits are listed upfront and get to the point quickly.
Not only will they not read every page, they also won't read every word on your pages.  They scan for information just like they're reading a newspaper.  That's why it's important to make sure your pages have lots of short paragraphs separated by subtitles.
This makes it easier for them to scan and find the information they're looking for. Don't make them hunt too long to find something or they'll leave.
This is another reason why it's important to include some kind of search function, site directory and/or table of contents on your site.  Also make sure that these features are accessible from every page.  Organization is definitely key.
Look at Your Site Through Your Visitor's Eyes
After you've written your copy, it's a good idea to take a step back and put yourself in your visitor's shoes for a moment.
Pretend you are visiting your site for the first time and read over all the content.  Then ask yourself a few questions:
Have you explained everything clearly?
Sure the content makes sense to you because you wrote it, but if you were a first-time visitor, what questions might you have?  Did you leave out some information because you assumed the visitor already knows?  Are there terms or phrases that you need to define?
Does the content flow logically?
Have you put the cart before the horse?  Do your thoughts jump all over the page or are they organized?
If you develop your content in your head as you type, it's very easy to produce copy that is unorganized.  Make sure you read over everything to ensure your paragraphs and sentences flow logically.
Does your site navigation make sense?
Navigation is so very important.  You don't want your visitors to get lost so it's vital that your navigation titles make sense and clearly define what each page is about.
You also want to ensure that important pages like the order and contact form are easily accessible from every page on your site.  In addition, be sure that your navigation is consistent and doesn't change from page to page.
If you find this difficult to do, ask a friend to help out.  Have them read every page of your site and jot down any questions or comments that develop as they go along.  You'll be amazed at what you'll discover when someone else reads your work.
Sometimes you can be too close to it and find it hard to look at your site with an objective eye.
Remember, the content on your pages represents your voice on the web. It's what stands between you and your potential customer, so make it effective. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

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