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Web Words That Work: Writing Online Copy That Sells

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  • Copyright 2013
  • Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • Pages: 304
  • Edition: 1st
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  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-5059-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5059-4

Write great search-optimized, customer-optimized web copy!

(No experience? No problem!)

 

Need to put together a website? Or post to your company’s Facebook page? Or write a great Google AdWords ad? You know it’s important. Your image is at stake. Maybe a lot ofmoney, too. But you’re not a professional web copywriter. Where do you start? Right here. Million-selling author Michael Miller will teach you, show you, guide you–even if you’ve never done it before!

 

Think you can’t write? Hate to write? Forget school: Here are all the professional-quality online copywriting tips and tricks you need right now. Miller will help you find your voice, organize your message, use links, get great search results, and a whole lot more. Best of all, you’ll learn how to grab hold of people in secondsbecause that’s all the time you’ve got!

 

• The perfect web copywriting guide for every entrepreneur, small businessperson, blogger, and website owner

Keep it short, keep it simple!

Think like your readers, fire them up, and get them to act!

Write text that search engines and humans will both love

Be absolutely clear! Squeeze all the confusion out of your content

Make sure you know just enough grammar and punctuation

Combine text and visuals to make them both work better

Choose the right delivery formats

Integrate your copy into an existing web page design

Work well with web designers and developers

 

Detailed, expert guidance for writing:

Web pages

Online articles

Blog posts

Social media updates

Web ads

Email promos & newsletters

Online press releases

Online help & FAQs

Smartphone & tablet content

Web interfaces

 

Michael Miller has written 100+ non-fiction books, including The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide; B2B Digital Marketing; Using Google® AdWords and AdSense; Using Google® Search; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization; Sams Teach Yourself Google Analytics in 10 Minutes; and Facebook for Grown-Ups. Miller’s books have sold more than one million copies worldwide. He has earned a reputation for clearly explaining technical subjects to non-technical readers, and offering exceptionally useful real-world advice on complex topics.

 

Online Sample Chapter

Writing Online Copy that Sells: Keeping It Short and Simple

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I ONLINE COPYWRITING 101

1 What’s Different About Writing Online Copy? 7

    Examining the Different Types of Online Writing ..........................8

    Why Online Writing Is Like Any Other Type of Writing ........10

    The Unique Challenges of Online Writing ........................................11

        Reader Attention Spans ..........................................................................11

        Instant Gratification ..................................................................................12

        They’re Not Readers, Really .................................................................13

        Screen Issues ..................................................................................................13

        Interactivity .....................................................................................................15

        Search Engine Considerations ............................................................15

    What If You’re Not a Writer? .....................................................................16

2 Punctuation, Grammar, and Other Rules to Live By 19

    Why Punctuation and Grammar Matter—Even Online ...........20

    Practicing Proper Punctuation ..................................................................20

        Periods ...............................................................................................................20

        Question Marks ............................................................................................21

        Exclamation Marks ....................................................................................21

        Commas ............................................................................................................22

        Apostrophes ...................................................................................................24

        Semicolons ......................................................................................................26

        Colons ................................................................................................................27

        Dashes ................................................................................................................27

        Quotation Marks .........................................................................................28

        Parentheses .....................................................................................................28

    Getting Grammatically Correct .................................................................29

    Capitalizing Correctly ......................................................................................32

        Capitalization Styles ..................................................................................32

        First Words and Proper Nouns .........................................................32

    Using Active Voice ............................................................................................33

    Dealing with Gender Issues .........................................................................34

    Proofreading Before You Publish.............................................................36

3 Conveying Confusing Content, Clearly 39

    Who Are You Talking To? ...........................................................................40

    And What Are You Talking About? ......................................................40

    Translating Complex Topics to Plain English ..................................40

    Limiting the Detail .............................................................................................42

    Conveying Benefits, Not Features ............................................................43

    Using Examples ...................................................................................................44

    Writing Step-by-Step Instructions...........................................................44

    Avoiding Jargon and Industry Speak .....................................................46

    Writing in a Conversational Style ............................................................48

4 Keeping It Short and Simple 49

    Why Shorter Is Better ......................................................................................50

        Computer Monitors Aren’t Made of Paper ................................50

        Resolution Is Poor ......................................................................................50

        Screen Sizes Are Small .............................................................................51

        Attention Spans Are Short ....................................................................52

        It’s What We Expect .................................................................................52

    Keeping It Chunky ............................................................................................53

    Writing Shorter Sections ...............................................................................54

    Writing Shorter Paragraphs .........................................................................55

    Writing Shorter Sentences ............................................................................57

    Writing Shorter Words ...................................................................................58

5 Organizing Your Content 61

    Putting the Most Important Stuff First .................................................62

    Breaking Your Copy into Multiple Pages ...........................................64

    Using Headings....................................................................................................65

    Creating Bulleted and Numbered Lists ................................................66

        Bulleted Lists ..................................................................................................67

        Numbered Lists ............................................................................................68

    Using Tables (or Not) ......................................................................................69

6 Firing Up Your Readers 71

    Figuring Out What Fires Them Up ........................................................72

    Engaging the Reader .........................................................................................72

    Keeping It Short—and Making It Clear ...............................................73

    Getting to the Point ..........................................................................................74

    Making Promises ................................................................................................74

    Solving Problems ................................................................................................74

    Telling a Good Story ........................................................................................75

    Using Action Words .........................................................................................75

    Including a Call to Action .............................................................................76

7 Finding Your Voice 79

    Giving Your Content a Personal Voice ................................................80

    Choosing the Right Style ...............................................................................81

        Match Your Style with Your Image .................................................81

        Match Your Style to Your Content ..................................................82

        Match Your Style to Your Audience...............................................82

    Employing a Professional Style ..................................................................83

        When to Use a Professional Style .....................................................83

        How to Employ a Professional Style ...............................................83

    Using a Personal Style .....................................................................................84

        When to Use a Personal Style .............................................................84

        How to Write Conversationally .........................................................85

8 Incorporating Visuals 87

    Why Visuals Are Important ........................................................................88

    Choosing the Right Type of Visual .........................................................90

    Using Clip Art ......................................................................................................91

    Using Line Drawings ........................................................................................92

    Using Photographs ............................................................................................94

    Using Charts ..........................................................................................................97

    Using Infographics ............................................................................................99

    Using Animations ........................................................................................... 100

    Using Videos ...................................................................................................... 101

9 Utilizing Links and Outside Content 103

    How, When, and How Often to Link ................................................. 104

        How to Add a Link ................................................................................. 104

        What to Link To ....................................................................................... 105

        When (and How Often) to Add Links ....................................... 106

    Embedding Images and Other Content from the Web ........... 107

        How Embedding Works ...................................................................... 108

        What Can You Embed? ....................................................................... 108

        Should You Embed Content from Other Sites? .................... 109

    Understanding the Legalities of Linking and Embedding ..... 110

        Linking Is Legal ......................................................................................... 110

        Embedding...Not So Much ................................................................. 111

        Should You Worry? ................................................................................ 111

10 Optimizing Your Copy for Web Search 113

    How Online Search Works—and Why It’s Important ............ 114

        Why High Rankings Are Important ............................................ 114

        How Search Results Are Ranked .................................................... 114

    Understanding Search Engine Optimization ................................. 115

    What Search Engines Look For .............................................................. 117

        Keywords ....................................................................................................... 117

        HTML Tags ................................................................................................. 118

        Links ................................................................................................................. 118

    Optimizing Your Site’s Content ............................................................. 119

        What Is Quality Content? ................................................................... 119

        Why Does Quality Content Matter? ............................................ 120

        Providing Authoritative Information .......................................... 120

        Writing Engaging Copy ....................................................................... 121

    Crafting SEO-Friendly Content ............................................................. 122

    Working with Keywords ............................................................................. 123

        Performing Keyword Research ....................................................... 123

        Determining the Right Keyword Density ................................. 124

        Writing Keyword-Oriented Copy ................................................. 125

II WRITING FOR DIFFERENT VEHICLES

11 Writing Web Pages 127

    Writing for the Browser Window ......................................................... 128

    Keeping It Short for Scanners.................................................................. 130

    Organizing Your Content Hierarchically ......................................... 131

    Linking for Scannability .............................................................................. 132

    Embracing SEO ................................................................................................ 132

        Use Those Keywords—In the Right Places.............................. 132

        Put the Most Important Stuff First on the Page ................... 132

        Use Headings and Subheadings ...................................................... 133

        Use Text, Not Pictures (or Videos or Flash) ........................... 133

        Don’t Over Optimize ............................................................................. 134

12 Writing Online Articles 137

    What Online Articles Do Best ................................................................. 138

    Writing Engaging Headlines .................................................................... 138

        Short Headlines Rock ............................................................................ 138

        Engage the Reader ................................................................................... 139

        Optimize Your Title ............................................................................... 139

        Make Every Word Count .................................................................... 139

    Keys for Better Online Article Writing.............................................. 140

        Shorter Is Better ........................................................................................ 140

        Make It Scannable ................................................................................... 140

        Don’t Bury the Lead ............................................................................... 140

        Adapt Your Writing Style ................................................................... 140

    Don’t Forget the SEO .................................................................................... 142

13 Writing Blog Posts 143

    Getting Personal ............................................................................................... 144

    Establishing a Personal Style .................................................................... 144

    Focusing on the Title .................................................................................... 145

    Engaging Readers with Your Introductory Paragraph ............ 146

    Keeping It Short—But Not Too Short ................................................ 146

    Optimizing Your Blog and Posts for Search .................................. 148

    Optimizing the Blog Template ........................................................ 148

    Optimizing Individual Posts ............................................................. 149

14 Writing Social Media Updates 151

    Understanding How Social Media Work ......................................... 152

    Keeping It Short ............................................................................................... 153

        There Are Limits... .................................................................................. 153

        Say One Thing, and One Thing Only ......................................... 154

        Remove Excess Verbiage ..................................................................... 155

        Use Simpler Language .......................................................................... 156

    Setting the Tone ............................................................................................... 156

    Engaging Readers, Socially ........................................................................ 157

    What to Post? ..................................................................................................... 158

    Writing for Facebook .................................................................................... 159

        Short Posts are Better ............................................................................ 159

        Don’t Forget the Links .......................................................................... 160

        Utilize Images ............................................................................................. 160

        Keep It Personal ........................................................................................ 161

        Use Proper Punctuation and Grammar..................................... 161

    Writing for Twitter ......................................................................................... 162

        Keep It Short—No, Shorter Than That, Even ........................ 162

        Shorten Those URLs .............................................................................. 163

        Mention Other Users ............................................................................. 163

        Use Hashtags............................................................................................... 163

        Include Images—Sort Of ..................................................................... 164

    Writing for Other Social Networks ...................................................... 164

15 Writing Email Newsletters and Promotions 167

    Composing the Subject Line ..................................................................... 168

        What Subject Lines Must Do ............................................................ 168

        Be Concise .................................................................................................... 168

        Put the Important Stuff First ............................................................ 169

        Describe the Content ............................................................................. 170

        Use Language Appropriate to the Reader ................................ 171

        Create a Sense of Urgency .................................................................. 171

    Writing Email Newsletters ........................................................................ 172

        Short Stories; Lots of Links ................................................................ 172

        Include Timely Content ....................................................................... 172

        Expect Knowledgeable Readers—with

        High Expectations............................................................................. 172

        Create Compelling Headlines .......................................................... 173

    Writing Effective Promotional Emails ............................................... 174

        Keep It Short and Chunky ................................................................. 175

        Use Actionable Language.................................................................... 175

        Invite Action ............................................................................................... 176

    Following Through with Your Landing Page ................................ 178

16 Writing Online Ads 179

    Understanding Different Types of Online Advertising ........... 180

        Text Ads ......................................................................................................... 180

        Display Ads .................................................................................................. 182

        Interstitial Ads ........................................................................................... 183

    Writing Effective Copy for Text Ads .................................................. 184

        Writing a Compelling Headline ..................................................... 184

        Writing Compelling Copy .................................................................. 185

        Including a Call to Action .................................................................. 186

        Including Targeted Keywords .......................................................... 187

        Writing Efficient Copy ......................................................................... 187

        Considering the Right URL ............................................................... 188

17 Writing Online Press Releases 191

    How Online PR Differs from Traditional PR ................................ 192

        Influencing the Influencers ................................................................ 192

        Influencing the General Public........................................................ 192

        Influencing Google ................................................................................. 192

    Writing for Consumers ............................................................................... 193

        Target Benefits, Not Features ........................................................... 193

        Speak Directly to the Public .............................................................. 194

        Watch the Grammar and Punctuation....................................... 196

        Include All Necessary Information ............................................... 196

        Include a Call to Action ....................................................................... 196

        Include Consumer Contact Info .................................................... 197

        Consider the Format .............................................................................. 197

    Writing for Search Engines ....................................................................... 199

18 Writing Online Help Files and FAQs 201

    Understanding the Goals of Online Help ........................................ 202

    Getting to Know the Target Audience (and Their Problems).... 202

    Planning and Presenting Your Content ............................................ 203

    Thinking Like the Customer .................................................................... 204

    Showing Readers How to Do Something ......................................... 205

    Answering Frequently Asked Questions .......................................... 205

    Categorize and Prioritize .................................................................... 206

    Not Every Question Belongs in a FAQ ...................................... 207

    Keep the Answers Short ....................................................................... 208

19 Writing Web Interfaces 209

    Planning Your Navigation ......................................................................... 210

        Devise a Hierarchy .................................................................................. 210

        Be Intuitive ................................................................................................... 211

        Think Like the Customer .................................................................... 212

        Employ Different Entry Points ........................................................ 212

        Be Consistent .............................................................................................. 213

        Let Them Know Where They Are ................................................. 213

    Titling Your Pages .......................................................................................... 214

        Why Titles Matter ................................................................................... 214

        Determining Title Length ................................................................... 215

        Determining the Best Title ................................................................. 215

    Captioning Buttons, Menus, and Links ............................................. 216

    Writing Helpful Error Pages .................................................................... 217

20 Writing for Mobile Devices 219

    Why Mobile Matters ..................................................................................... 220

    What’s Different About Copywriting for Mobile ....................... 221

        Working with a Smaller Screen....................................................... 221

        Target Marketing ..................................................................................... 221

    Creating Mobile-Friendly Websites ..................................................... 222

        Reduce the Number of Elements ................................................... 223

        Orientation Matters ................................................................................ 224

        Text Instead of Images.......................................................................... 225

        Minimize Text Entry.............................................................................. 226

        Think Like the Customer .................................................................... 226

    Writing Effective Mobile Copy ............................................................... 227

        Keep It Short(er) ....................................................................................... 227

        Be Direct ........................................................................................................ 229

        Front Load Your Content ................................................................... 230

III GETTING IT DONE

21 Determining the Right Delivery Formats 231

    What Works Best as HTML ..................................................................... 232

        What HTML Doesn’t Do Well ........................................................ 232

        Not for Downloading ............................................................................ 233

        So What’s HTML Good For? ........................................................... 233

    What Works Best as a PDF Document ............................................. 234

        Designing for PDF Viewing .............................................................. 234

        When to Distribute Content as a PDF File .............................. 235

        When Not to Use PDF .......................................................................... 236

    What Works Best as a Word Document .......................................... 237

        Sharing Documents ................................................................................ 237

        Easy-to-Create Documents ................................................................ 238

        Editing and Collaboration .................................................................. 238

    Other Types of Documents ....................................................................... 238

        Ebook Formats .......................................................................................... 238

        Image Formats ........................................................................................... 239

        Other Microsoft Office File Formats ........................................... 239

22 Dealing with Web Page Design 241

    Understanding HTML ................................................................................. 242

        What HTML Is .......................................................................................... 242

        How HTML Works ................................................................................ 242

    What You Can—and Can’t—Do with HTML .............................. 244

        HTML Can Do a Lot ............................................................................. 244

        HTML Doesn’t Guarantee Display Integrity .......................... 246

        HTML Doesn’t Display All Special Characters ..................... 246

    Working with Images ................................................................................... 246

23 Working with Technical and Design Staff 249

    Who’s the Boss? ................................................................................................ 250

    Why Marketing Should Run the Show .............................................. 250

    Focus on Content—Not Design or Technology .......................... 252

    How to Lead the Team ................................................................................. 253

        Assess Your Skills..................................................................................... 254

        Assign Responsibilities ......................................................................... 254

        Functioning as Site Editor .................................................................. 256

        Managing the Project ............................................................................ 256

24 The Final Word: Think Like the Reader 259

    Everything’s Important, But Some Things More So ................. 260

    Give Readers What They Want .............................................................. 260

    Presentation Matters ..................................................................................... 261

    Writing Web Words That Work ........................................................... 262

IV APPENDIXES

Appendix 200 Web Words That Work 265

TOC, 9780789750594, 12/5/2012

 

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