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Copy Fixes -- 8 Quick Changes that Improve the Way Your Web Copy Sells

by Kevin Nunley

When something isn't selling online, people automatically start assuming things like, "Internet businesses never make any money," or, "My product/service just isn't in-demand," What I tell people when they come to me with these statements is that there are numerous reasons why their product/service might not be selling, and that they should explore other options. For instance, have they taken a good look at their web copy lately?

Most of the time, the people I talk to about their web businesses are selling a good product or service that people would want to buy. However, what stands in their way is often their web copy, or lack thereof.

I often hear people say, "Nobody reads on the Internet, so my copy just isn't that important." I want to amend that claim to this: Many people don't read on the Internet, but those who are looking to purchase a product or service always do.

In today's rocky economy, people aren't willing to throw money at a product/service they know nothing about. Many online shoppers spend hours looking for the item that is exactly what they want. Your product/service could be exactly what they're looking for, but with scant, uninformative copy, how are they going to know?

So it's time to make a few changes, nothing too painful. You don't have to throw out your old copy and start from scratch. With some minor alterations, your copy can inform, motivate and charge prospects to take action and buy.

Here are a few changes you can make to change the way your copy sells:

Give the Most Important Info First -- Don't force people to wade through two pages of copy before they can discover what you're all about. Get to the point right up front, in the headline, subheading, and first few paragraphs. If you have too much filler copy in the beginning and don't start getting to the point until later, all that copy your visitors read will be lost on them. It will have been out of context because you didn't provide them with a context.

First Things First -- Ever heard of "Inverted Pyramid Style" writing? It means starting with the most important sentence and following with lesser sentences. But not too many. Keep your paragraphs short so they don't overwhelm the reader.

Cut Words -- Web copy should use about half the word count or less than conventional writing, so keep it short and too the point. This isn't the great American novel. Your goal is to make sure your audience can understand every word you say while reading quickly. If they have to stop to get a dictionary because you used too many cryptic words or jargon, you'll lose their interest.

No Sub Par Subheadings -- Use only meaningful subheadings. Your subheadings should serve as an outline for your copy, making it easier for the reader to remember important points and gain and accurate overview of the products or services. If your subheadings are well-placed and meaningful, no one should have to read your copy twice.

One Idea Per Paragraph -- Don't load your paragraphs with ideas. Avoid confusing the reader by separating each idea into its own paragraph. This will also help you keep paragraphs shorter. Limiting paragraphs to one idea helps readers digest information a little at a time, promoting comprehension and recall.

Use Bullets -- When presenting information, it is helpful to separate the text with bullet points. Bulleted lists are easier to read than entire paragraphs, and the differentiation shows readers that they should pay special attention to bulleted points. In fact, readers are known for skipping over paragraphs and going straight for the bulleted text, so make whatever information is in bullets essential to motivating the sale.

Highlight Keywords -- You're going to get a lot of "scanners" visiting your site. These are people who don't read word for word, but glance over text looking or important information. Highlight keywords so they will know where to find this information.

Use Hype Where Hype is Needed -- Hype is like opera. People either love it or loathe it. So be careful where you use it. With certain products, hype has been known to reduce credibility, but with others, it increases excitement and motivates purchases. But if you want to add that punch here and there in your copy, use hype like paprika; just a pinch to tweak the flavor. An exclamation point here, a phrase in caps there, and you've got just enough to satisfy any palate.

Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copywriting. See his 10,000 marketing ideas and popular promotion packages at http://DrNunley.com. Reach Kevin at kevin@drnunley.com or 603-249-9519.