Thursday, September 24, 2009

Online Copywriting

I have great faith in words. When used properly, they communicate.

When I hear phrases like "writing for the web" and "online copywriting" I cringe, or roll my eyes, or both. (My anti-wrinkle cream really doesn't stand a chance.)

OK, disclaimer now delivered, today I'm pointing to an article I deem worth reading - even worth printing, but only if you promise to consult it once in a while. Deal? Ok.

Read this: The A-to-Z of online copywriting by Chris Lake.

As is true of almost every piece of formulaic writing, the content is stretched a bit thin here and there in order to suit the formula.

When Lake tells readers "Q is for Quality," I wholeheartedly agree. Attracting quality visitors to your website is crucial; attracting visitors for the sake of visitors only lowers your conversion rate, eg, the percentage of visitors who do what you want them to do (buy/donate/sign up/add a link).

But Lake's "R is for Repetition" needs some serious tempering. Repetition is a very dicey - and largely personal - thing. Too much makes me suspicious, and I'll go elsewhere. I agree with Lake's advice to "ram your message home" but I think if you get your message across the first time (or two) you risk losing sales/visitors when you repeat ad nauseam. I'd substitute "R is for Reach," meaning your writing needs to reach out and touch/grab/wake up your reader. Connect with your readers, and you'll keep 'em.

Quibbles aside, Lake's article is packed with good advice, almost all of which (I feel compelled to mention) applies to all writing, anytime, anywhere. Even writing on the web. There. I'm repeating myself. Got the message?

No comments: