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Website Writing Tips - Business Website Copy

Is Your Web Writing Blinded By Love For Your Business?

By Simon Hillier

One of the reasons many business websites don't work as effectively as they should is because owners, or their internal designers/copywriters, view the site through rose-coloured glasses. When you are too close to a business it can sometimes be difficult to make objective calls on what customers really need from your online sales and information tool.

To write web copy that attracts readers and search engines (SEO), you need to step out of the business and look at your website from a truly objective view. As you scroll and click through the pages, ask yourself "If I didn't know anything about my business, would I find this writing well organised, easy to understand, enticing and relevant to my needs?"

If the answer's no, below are some areas you might want to check:

Avoid jargon-filled web copy 

Writers often overuse industry specific language - especially popular if the words are long and almost impossible to pronounce - as a way of expressing a company's expertise in their field. While it might impress those in the boardroom and make sense to everyone in the company, the message may not be so crystal clear to the most important people of all, the humble customer. 

Patience is not a virtue - at least while we're surfing the web. If someone reads your homepage and can't understand what you do they won't tale the time to ask. If your copy is full of potentially confusing, self-important or frustrating jargon you need to make some changes. State the obvious and make important information easier for your audience to grasp. That's a customer friendly e-business.

Divide and conquor your webpage copy

See if your copy can be seperated into clear categories. You could use sub-heads to help guide customers through each step. There might be areas where you need to spell out how something works or include a link to another page for further details.

Understand your target audience

You might also be including information that visitors don't need. This all comes down to your research and knowledge of the market. A simple method is to ask a few people outside the company (no not your mum) to read and navigate through your site and get their feedback.

Another option is to look at your competitors sites to see what they have included and view their FAQ's. This usually gives you a good idea of the things people are asking. Of course, your business is unique so don't base everything on the strategies of the guy next door or you will suffer. If you have any existing site, analyse your customer service emails and phonecalls to see what people are asking your staff about. Is there something you could include or spell out more clearly on the site?

The time it takes to get these things right is well worth the effort. Not only will your conversion rates and sales numbers increase, but you'll spend much less time answering questions from frustrated customers.

Simon Hillier is a copywriting specialist based in Sydney, Australia. His company, Get There Writing Services can help turn your ideas into words for the web, print, e-newsletters, articles, ebooks and scripts that speak to your target audience and make you shine on Google. For more articles and further information visit his website http://www.getthere.com.au