Web writing is in so many ways different from other forms of writing.
It has its own specific purpose – which is to grab the attention of the web user and move her to take a desired action, despite the army of distractions that abound online – and it has advanced over the years to perfectly suit that purpose.
The dynamic nature of the web therefore necessitates the need for the web master or web writer to stay up-to-date with the best practices and latest trends in web content delivery so that s/he’s not left stranded in the ‘www’ abyss.
Having worked with lots of clients over the years, and having the best training any web copywriter and content analyst could ever have, has given me the opportunity to access a lot of websites and see a lot of web content first-hand – with a different (than normal) eye.
So, I can authoritatively say the qualities every web content must have, and following my advice or recommendation will definitely help you knock your competition off their socks. There are several of these qualities, but I’ll give you the top 5.
Let’s dive right in.
Your web content must be:
- Logically Compelling. A thing is compelling when it makes somebody do something: necessitates action or belief. That’s the essence of writing any promotional material, including web pages. That’s the essence of marketing.
Your web content must be compelling if you’d like to see it succeed, and not just compelling; it must follow a logical order.
This can only be achieved by following some specific proven structures for crafting persuasive sales copy.
Various copywriters have invented various formulas that serve as easier-to-follow, logical and winning copywriting sequences.
AIDA is one all-time famous copywriting formula you can follow.
Grab the reader’s Attention (with your headline); create an Interest in your product (with your lead); create a strong Desire for your product (with benefits and proofs), and; cause your reader to take Action (with your guarantee and offer/call-to-action – and P.S).
The ACCA (Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action) is another famous formula.
Make your potential customers Aware that your product exists; they must Comprehend what the product is and the benefits they’ll derive from it; then they must be Convinced they need to buy the product, and finally; they must take the desired Action – make an actual purchase or subscribe to a newsletter.
There are various more-recent great, proven copywriting formulas.
Bob Bly created ‘The Motivating Sequence’ formula for persuasive copy as thus:
- Get Attention
- Identify Problem or need
- Position product as Solution
- Proof (that your product can do what you claim it can – using features/benefits, testimonials, competition comparison, etc)
- Call to Action
Top B2B Copywriter, and co-author of “The Wealthy Freelancer”, Steve Slaunwhite calls his “The CLINCHER Copywriting formula” which is:
- The clincher
Where the CLINCHER is “something, anything, that ultimately motivates the prospect to say yes.”
There’s also the famous 4 P’s copy formula by AWAI; Picture, Promise, Proof, and Push.
Create a Picture of your reader enjoying the benefits of the product; Promise the picture can come through, but only if your reader buys your product; back that promise up with solid Proof (testimonials, case studies, etc.); then Push your prospect towards immediate action.
There you have them, 5 formulas you can follow to nail your website content/copy down, and make it persuasive and successful. Follow anyone you find easy or feel comfortable with.
- Benefit-oriented. Your content should pass some specific benefit to the reader.
The phrase “benefits, not features” cannot be overstressed in the copywriting world, yet you should go further than just spelling out the benefits of your product or service.
There’s something called “deeper benefit.” And it should be used to get more results from your website content.
It’s simply exploiting the *core* emotional and beyond-logic benefits of your product or services.
One fundamental rule of selling you should never forget is that people buy things for emotional, and not logical, reasons.
Acclaimed highest paid copywriter in America, Clayton Makepeace, differentiates between fake benefits and real benefits, the former of which most writers often end up with. He asserts that fake benefits will kill sales copy, so you have to be on the lookout for them in your writing.
He demonstrates his assertion, using this headline as an example:
“Balance Blood Sugar Levels Naturally!”
This surely looks like a benefit. But in the real sense of it, there’s no single real benefit in this headline.
Here’s how Makepeace identifies the real benefit hidden in that headline:
“Nobody really wants to balance their blood sugar levels. But anyone in his or her right mind DOES want to avoid the misery of blindness … cold, numb, painful limbs … amputation … and premature death that go along with diabetes.”
Positioning our product here as a solution or prevention to these “miseries” gives a real benefit to the reader.
- Customer-focused. Your web content simply fails when it loses this. And unfortunately, you see a lot of copy out there totally neglecting the reader/customer.
Web content must be written to address your customer’s needs, wishes, desires, problems and fears; that which keeps her up at night. Let your messages reflect the way your customers and prospects think and speak.
This can be better achieved by using more of the magical second-person pronouns “you”, “your”, etc. than first-person pronouns “I”, “we”, etc.
Copywriter Demian Farnworth, in admonishing copywriters to focus on the audience, writes (in the CopyBlogger eBook: “Copywriting 101“): “Good copywriters, good advertising copy, and good content marketing, however, put the focus on the audience, the prospective customer. If you truly take care of your audience, they will eventually take care of you.”
Ignore this and watch your web content fail!
- Conversational. For your copy to have maximum impact, you’ve got to speak to your prospect in an informal, “conversational” way, as if you were talking to a good friend. In other words, you must write like you talk.
Don’t be afraid to hurt some grammatical rules here. Try all you can to write in a voice near spoken English. This brings you closer to your prospect and gives (almost) the same effect as if you were having some physical contact.
Like copywriting genius Jeff Laurie said, “You have to convince the reader that you are one of them … you have to become your prospect and speak like you really understand him.”
One great way of adopting a conversational tone in your writing is AWAI’s classic “barstool technique”. Simply pretend you’re having a chat with a friend while sitting in a bar. Speak slowly, naturally, and don’t hesitate to show emotion. Be your normal self.
- Search engine optimized. Web content should also be written for the search engines even when there are human targets to focus on.
Two areas are of great importance here; the on-page SEO (visible content), and the behind-the-scenes SEO. Your content has to be crafted in a way that both areas align and work together in harmony.
i. Visible content: Your target keywords are to be incorporated into your web content, in ethical well-crafted messages, in order to be visible and rank high in the search engines for certain keywords.
ii. Behind-the-scene content: This includes the use of keywords in the page title, meta descriptions and meta keywords, alt tags, etc.
They have a great influence on how your website content gets seen in the search engines and also how they appear. For example, your meta page title is the first thing that any visitor would see if your site pops up when they’re carrying out a search on the web, while your meta description is usually the second thing they would see.
Leaving these empty only allows the search engine to go on a frolic of its own in displaying whatever it “finds” as your site info – which would probably be useless to search engine users.
As Heather Loyd-Martin, pioneer SEO Copywriter and founder of SEOCopywriting.com, teaches, when you optimize this content, it should include keywords but also be appealing to potential site visitors; once again considering the solutions they’re looking for.
So…there you have them; 5 qualities your website content must have for it to both rank high in search engines and compel human visitors to take the action you so desire.
Which other qualities do you think web content should possess? Share your knowledge with the RC community in the comments.
PS: This article was culled from my eBook, “20 Web Copy Essentials for Massive Traffic and Sales”. There are 15 other qualities shared in the eBook that your website content must possess.
Luckily, I’m giving the eBook as a complimentary gift for everyone who gets the Social Selling Seminar Video Pack, a great resource where 7 mega-successful marketers and entrepreneurs (like Jason Njoku of IrokoTV and Akin Alabi of NairaBet) teach you how to sell anything and grow your business via social media.