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The write stuff

The best website design is worthless if the words don’t add up to much. It doesn’t need to be a work of literary genius to get results.

Shakespeare would suck at writing web copy. I reckon Austen would have been a shocker too. On the other hand, I think Twain and Orwell would have been masters of the form.

Yes, ranking the literary greats for their possible SEO abilities is something that occurs to me when I’m struggling to put words on the page in a meaningful order. I feel better knowing that, although the bard was brilliant at scribbling iambic pentameter, he would have struggled with keyword density.

I spend far too much of my day staring at a white screen with a cursor blinking away – daring me to start clacking keys and taunting me when

I don’t. But deadlines wait for no man. And so the blinking cursor keeps ticking away the seconds, reminding me that this white screen needs to be filled up with characters pretty soon if I’m to avoid deadline pain.

It’s such a cliché for writers to write about deadlines and writer’s block – the last resort topic that simply reveals how desperate the author has become. But wait – I have a point.

Writing strong copy that people actually want to read can often be difficult enough. But add the unique requirements of writing for the internet, the essential elements of sales copy, the tyranny of word limits, the necessities of keywords and search engines – and it can become a cryptic puzzle where creativity is shoved to the sidelines. Joining the dots between so many disparate elements can sometimes make web copy less inspirational and more like ticking off a long list.

The work also needs to accommodate the different reading behaviors of the web user – very different from offline reading. Yes, people read web pages differently from a book or magazine.

A staggering 80% of readers merely scan a web page for keywords and headings before deciding whether to continue reading or click the back button, and this creates its own unique writing challenges.
Unless you have a big budget to outsource all the content on your website, most of you will be producing your own words and images. Yet it still seems like most small businesses allocate 95% of their resources and efforts towards the design and looks of the website, instead of towards what the website will actually say.

Website copy should never be dashed off as an afterthought. It takes time to craft, review, revisit, redrafts. The more inexperienced the writer, the more time I would allow. Grammar check. Spell check. Sanity check. Show it to others to read. Constantly revise.

The goal is to create words that not only tick all the various requirements – the SEO needs, the word counts, and product details – but also entertain, inspire and engage. Good writing goes further than the ingredients. It has to. Why should someone read your content instead of someone else’s?

The Optimiser can help you create a keyword writing plan and show you exactly how to weave it throughout your website for more traffic. Visit seo.netregistry.com.au or call 1300 638 734.

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