When you write out text and descriptions on your website, are you sure that what you’re typing is the message that you want to deliver to customers?
For example, my wife is a beautiful Southern gal who speaks like she was raised in the country…mainly because she was in fact raised in the country. Whenever we are getting ready to go somewhere together, she will glance at me and say, “I’m in the car.”
But I’ll just stare at her and reply, “No dear, you’re in my office. The car is outside in the driveway.”
Every time, without fail, she will give me this “deer in the headlights” type of stare like I’m the craziest person on Earth. Because to her, the message was perfectly clear- she was going out to the car to wait for me. But that’s nowhere close to what she said.
Believe it or not, people tend to do these sorts of things all the time when writing copy for their websites. They say one thing and the public thinks that it means something entirely different.
Learn to Speak Directly to Your Readers
So if you really want to learn how to write sizzling page copy that makes your readers jump out of their seats and race into your store, it is essential for you to talk to them in a way that is easily understandable.
For example, how often do you make purchases from a website where the copywriting is so overly technical; you have no idea what it even means? Probably almost never. But authorities like the Harvard Business Review find that thousands of businesses write product descriptions that way anyway, simply because they do not know any better. That’s why it is so important for you to know your ideal customers though; it is impossible to communicate with them if you don’t know who they are in the first place.
Here’s a neat little trick you can use the next time you go to publish new content on the web. Head over to Readability Score.com and paste your document in the provided text box. Then look at the grade levels on the right side of the screen- your goal is to come out somewhere in the 8th to 12th grade levels. Anything over a 15 is probably too overly technical, while grades below a 7 mean that it is fairly simplistic.
So far, this blog ranks out at an 8.4, which usually means smooth, comfortable reading for everyone.
Less is Often More in Writing
One of my biggest personal struggles in writing is that I tend to get long-winded in a hurry and my articles often top out at 1,500 words or better. When you’re writing page copy though, short and concise is almost always the way to go. The reason is that USA Today found that 40-60% of your websites visitors are on a smartphone and they simply will not bother dealing with huge chunks of text.
So here is what I personally do. Whenever I write something for a client, I will get a rough outline of the main speaking points and then type everything I want to say in one sitting. Then, I’ll get up and grab a glass of water or walk around outside for a few minutes, just to let that text I had just written sort of drift out of my mind.
Once I’m re-focused, I’ll sit back down and edit the document line by line, and I will read each sentence as slowly as possible to see how it sounds in my head. In most cases, I will end up re-writing about 25% of what I typed the first time, just to make it more concise and easier for my readers to understand.
And as a professional writer, let me just say I realize that this is probably the very last thing you want to do. Heck, I don’t want to do it either. But when it comes to getting a clear message across to potential customers, it is definitely worth the extra few minutes you’ll spend on a quick edit.
Read and Write Every Chance You Get
Now, you may have glanced at that last sub-heading and thought to yourself, “That’s a pretty crummy tip- Keith is telling me to read and write?”
Yes I am. Because you would be amazed how much quicker the right words will come to you if you’re taking the time to write something every single day. And honestly, it doesn’t matter what that something is- it can be an email to a friend, dirty jokes on a napkin or even a full-blown movie script. The magic comes from the actual repetition itself.
On the flip side of that advice, you absolutely must spend more time reading quality material. Grab John Grisham’s latest novel, start reading the newspaper again or read almost anything that you enjoy that’s written by professionals. And whenever you come across a sentence or a paragraph that really makes you smile, then be sure to force yourself to stop and see why it worked so well. This is how almost 30% of the world’s non-English speakers learn our language…they start with sub-titles on television and progress from there.
I’ll leave you with this parting thought- writing is a skill that is definitely worth investing in, and it will open more doorways for you than any other single skill on the planet. So practice your writing and give your customers better page copy whenever you can…and it will definitely pay dividends over time.
That’s all for now- I’m in the car.