When you begin the process of building or re-designing a web site, there are three main components: navigation, aesthetics, and content. A web designer can help you with the first two, but there’s good reason to consider hiring an expert for creating the content as well.
Too often, businesses put too little emphasis on developing the content, or copy, on their web sites. There’s a saying among the Internet marketing community that “content is king.” What this means is that a site with beautiful graphics design and aesthetic appeal or the coolest Java gizmos is worthless without good content. After the visitor’s initial “wow”, there’s no reason to stick around.
What good copy does for a web site:
Improves search engine ranking
Makes sites “sticky” so visitors will return to the web site
Encourages repeat visits
Converts visitors into customers
Communicates information effectively
Optimizing a site to generate high rankings in a search engine can seem like playing a game. There are “tricks” that SEO experts use and rules that change constantly. But in the long run, as search engines revise their algorithms, keep in mind that the search engine’s ultimate goal is to deliver relevancy. It’s in your best interest to cooperate with the search engines and make it easy for them to find your relevant site by loading it up with useful, relevant copy.
Of course, it helps to understand how search engines work, and to consider those SEO gurus partners, not adversaries. A good copywriter makes sure that keywords and phrases that visitors use to find your type of business are integrated – seamlessly into the copy.
After luring visitors to your web site, what do you want them to do? Good copy encourages action. Are you selling directly on the site? Collecting contact information for future marketing campaigns? Perhaps you’re presenting product or service details, or offering helpful information for public relations. Sometimes the purpose of a web site is simply to keep visitors there. A site that succeeds at this is referred to as a “sticky” site. The longer they linger, the more they read and the more chances you have to convert curious folks into paying ones.
Whatever the purpose, web copy has much less time and fewer words to accomplish its goal. Visitors are less likely to read a long block of text on the computer screen than they would in print, so web copy has to be geared for the skimmer. Good web copy is concise, direct, information-packed, with a killer “hook.” The same might be said for any copy, but it’s even more important for a medium with an average visit of ten seconds.
Great web sites depend on the cooperative work of a winning team: designer, SEO pro, and copywriter. Get it right by the start by making sure all three key players are ready to go!
Pamela Kock is owner of
Write At Your Service, providing professional copywriting to businesses in Greater Cincinnati, Dayton, and to national clients as well. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (513) 284-7124.