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Website Copywriter Tips: Web Copy 101

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Submitted by Jason Edwards | RSS Feed | Add Comment | Bookmark Me! print

You already know how to create great web copy. Just remember your childhood nursery rhymes. As silly as it sounds, “3 Blind Mice” will show you the way.

For some reason, “3 Blind Mice” paid me a visit. As I heard the 100th replay, it hit me – this would make great web copy. As a matter of fact, this simple little ditty contains 10 elements of Web Copy 101. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s how it goes.

"3 Blind Mice; 3 Blind Mice.

See how they run; see how they run.

They all ran up to the farmer’s wife;

She cut off their tails with a carving knife

Have you ever seen such a sight in your life

As 3 Blind Mice?”

Let’s see how this children’s nursery rhyme is a model of Web Copy 101.

Web Copy 101 #1, 2, 3 …3 Blind Mice (title or heading)

1) Try singing “A trio of visually impaired rodents, A trio of visually impaired rodents.” Catchy? Formal writing doesn’t sell. Write the way people speak and you will be heard. The title does something else for this song.

2) If you had to choose between songs entitled “Cows,” “Ducks,” or “3 Blind Mice,” which one would you choose? The title in all web copy has to grab the attention the reader. There’s more.

3) This alluring title makes the content clear right away. How many times do you stumble on a website only to find you’re not sure what they are selling or how it relates to you? Be sure your web copy uses the title or headline to set the table for the visitor.

Web Copy 101 #4 …3 Blind Mice, 3 Blind Mice (first line)

4) This song is going to be about little rodents, not geese. Does the first line of your web copy highlight what you offer, or at least whom your site is for? Good web copy is not mystery writing. Instead it says, “We’re here to sell you something and here’s why you need it today.”

Web Copy 101 #5, 6 … See how they run, See how they run

5) Repetition is the key to any message track and a staple of effective web copy. From a psychological point of view it lets your message become familiar and safe. From a search engine point of view repetition builds your keyword density and raises your search results. From a net reader perspective repetition in your web copy reinforces your message for the superficial reader who is scanning your site quickly. Repetition works on many levels. Let me say that again – repetition works on many levels.

6) The invitation to watch how the mice run around is also a clever way to involve the readers by getting them to do something. Does your site invite some kind of reader activity in the body of the web copy?

Web Copy 101 #7 … They all ran up to the farmer’s wife; she cut off their tails with a carving knife

7) A good way to stitch your ideas together and build more active involvement in your copy is to use pronouns (they, she). By forcing the readers to build connections between previous and current information pronouns keep your site visitors more engaged.

Web Copy 101 #8 … Have you ever seen such a sight in your life?

8) Do you know the best way to keep someone interested in what you are writing? What is 3 times 3? If you thought “nine” you proved my point. If you thought “eight” try night school. If you thought anything at all, you demonstrated the power of questions to generate reader participation. Everybody loves and needs to answer questions. Does your web copy provide thought provoking questions that get your reader thinking and involved?

Web Copy 101 #9, 10 … As 3 Blind Mice

9) Brilliant web copy. More repetition. Plus, the story ends where it started. One of the advantages of writing with search engines in mind is that keyword focus helps you stay on topic. The glancing reader needs this controlling idea to get the essence of why they need what you have, now. Is your site's central idea consistently expressed all the way through your web copy?

10) True, the song is written for children, but notice the use of short, crisp sentences to tell the tale. How are you telling your tale? You want your web copy to be clear, smart and direct.

I hope they get stuck in your head – the 10 lessons that is, not the lyrics. By the way, no animals were hurt during the writing of the article about web copy 101.

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