One of my biggest struggles as a writer is keeping my copy concise and to the point. I am the queen of long winded copy, because it allows me to let loose my thoughts, opinions and knowledge. But I realize that just because I find my “flow of consciousness” style interesting, doesn’t mean my audience does.

So the last time I wrote copy for a website I made it a point to be as concise and to the point as possible. And you know what? That stuff STILL came out longer than I wanted! So I’ve come to the conclusion that I suck at concise copy, and it’s something I need to work on.

The Web Copy Light at the End of the Tunnel

Then I came across a guest post on Graywolf’s SEO blog about how much you should be willing to pay for good copy. The post is a great read (nice job Malcolm!) and it opened my eyes to things that have been in the back of my mind, but I never wound up giving voice to.

People love to preach about “short” copy on the web, because people only read 18 words out of a 100 and you only have so many words to catch their interest, blah, blah blah…but the bottom-line is that if your writing is compelling and your tone engaging, then there’s a good chance you’ll keep the reader’s interest and get them to read exactly what you want.  In other words - your web copy can be as long as it needs to be!

The Littlest Tweak Can Make a Huge Difference

In reading that post, which was full of linky goodness, I clicked through to read Dustin Curtis’s “You Should Follow Me on Twitter.” It’s basically a case study on how just a few tweaks to a very short sentence increased his clickthrough rate by over 170%.

Literally, by changing the call to action at the end of his posts from “I’m on Twitter” to “You should follow me on twitter here.” he saw a 173% increase in clickthroughs to his account.

It’s amazing to me the power a few words can have…. He took a rather static, dull statement, added some persuasive force and voila! A veritable flood of clicks!

Writing Web Copy that Achieves Your Goals

There’s no right or wrong answer to writing copy on the web (IMO)…it’s all about who you’re writing for and what your overall goal is - what do you want those people to do. That’s what should determine how you write your copy.

For example, when I think of the 3 main types of web writing I do, I realize I have a different tone/style for each.

SEO Copy - this is typically for ranking purposes - I’m trying to optimize the copy to rank for as many long tail keywords as possible. My writing tends to be more professional, but can get a bit long because of my method of optimizing content. Of course, I’m ALSO trying to write copy that will help conversions, so there’s a fine balance to writing good SEO copy and making sure it’s persuasive to the reader.

Landing Page Copy - this is usually for PPC campaigns, and so my biggest focus is writing copy that will convert (or sell) visitors - or at least draw a clear and persuasive picture of the path and actions we want them to take on the site. I don’t have to worry about rankings, so this copy tends to be a bit shorter in some cases.

Blogs - there’s pretty much an infinite number of purposes or reasons for blogging. Your style should change depending on your purpose. For example, I tend to write blogs jut to share my opinion - so I kick back and write in my own voice, the same one I used to breeze through my Creative Writing courses in College. Does it work for a blog? I don’t know…but I sure have fun writing it!

I’ll Say It Till I’m Blue In The Face…

Web copy is IMPORTANT! Muy, muy importante! And yet so many people don’t think they should pay top dollar for quality writing. After all…everyone can write, right? Um yeah… I guess that’s why an experienced freelance writer can make over $50 and hour….