Writing Tips for A Successful Website And The Power Of Words
Think of your website as an advertisement. Then ask yourself why advertising copywriters are at the heart of their profession, and so highly paid. Words matter; good ones persuade, poor ones dissuade.
Websites that work have objectives. And these are for you to come up with, before you brief website designers. Their skill is ensuring your chosen objectives are complemented by a graphically pleasing and easily navigable page layout. Don’t expect them to know all about horse whips and their market worldwide. They may know a little about horse-racing (or more deviant interests!) but that’s not their role. They need you to tell them about your product or service, and what you wish to achieve with your website – from the opening page.
Once you have identified a prime objective for the website, stick to it and don’t muddy the waters by offering subsidiary objectives. Yes, you can sometimes have a few closely related objectives described on a single page, but remember that with each ‘sub-prime’ objective added you are in danger of weakening the impact of all of them. An example: you wish to sell boots for men (working men) but you lose your courage and also offer slippers for grandpa. Wrong! Error! Now you’ve upset both grandpa and the working man. Keep on message.
Writing Process – The Words
And now to words themselves, and how to let them work for you not against you. Approach the task of writing up the objective as if it were a work of fiction. This means you should make notes about your objective: what is it? Who precisely are you aiming it at? What’s so special about you, or your organisation, that you feel empowers you to be the ideal provider of the product or service? Come up with as many questions and answers as you can (use colleagues, clients and friends to help) and then retire hurt; you will be confused and incapable of writing anything. Excellent. You are now fully loaded. Leave it a day or two, then take to the keyboard and, with the prime objective firmly in mind, just let rip. If your website page could contain say two hundred words, ignore the limit and just type away until your message is on file. Well done! The job is half done.
The final task, and one that will make your website copy sing, is now about to happen. Locate the delete button on your keyboard and try it out. It’s going to be busy.
Read through the entire copy and brutally delete every useless adjective and redundant adverb. Not some; all. Why? Because each and every one will be ridiculously qualifying the single noun or lonely verb that they are lovingly attached to. This paragraph has the disease. It should have read:
Read the copy and delete the adjectives and adverbs. Not some; all. Why? Because each one will be qualifying the noun or verb they are attached to.
Self-editing sounds easy, but it takes getting used to. In my example, many of the excised words, in the themselves, are powerful, and flatter to deceive. But the minds of your website visitors are seeking a clear message that must strike home. Take my word for it, your message will be clear and have impact if you have the confidence to let nouns and verbs stand alone to convey your ideas. Make your website stand out from the herd.