If the way websites work is totally alien to you – worry not, help is at hand. And if you know next-to-nothing about website copywriting, this article will provide a good starting point for you to turn things around.
Whilst it’s true that website copywriting may seem like an obscure topic to many people, there may come a time when you need to know more – or even get involved with the writing process yourself!
That’s why it makes sense to find out what website copywriting involves. Whether or not you want to become an exponent yourself is very much a personal choice. Speaking as a freelance copywriter, I have a somewhat weighted view of the whole subject.
Ironically, it’s the very skills I acquired over many years of copywriting that have convinced me everyone in business should at the very least understand the principles of web copywriting and its potential as a marketing tool.
As with any learning curve, it’s important to start with a general overview of the subject and then drill down to the specifics. In this case, you’re looking at the context in which websites operate, together with the influences that affect their success, or otherwise.
When it comes to using actual copywriting techniques, it’s important to bear in mind that – almost more than any other marketing tool – websites do not work in isolation.
To begin at the beginning…
Online marketing is complementary to offline marketing. That much is obvious. How online marketing skills are deployed depends on how responsive the market is to the overtures that online marketing makes. In general, online and offline work best when they work together.
Having established that ‘online’ is worthy of at least a significant proportion of your marketing effort and attention, you should then work out a strategy that will achieve your specific business aims.
If, on the other hand, you’re simply looking at understanding the business mechanics of the web – how you can best align specific skills alongside whatever aims and advice are needed to address your own specific challenges – getting to grips with the full panoply of online tools is an important part of creating and implementing your marketing policy.
Given that most online tools are complementary, what capabilities are needed to have an effective strategic armoury?
Setting out a list is simple. Acquiring the copywriting, design and coding skills necessary to reach professional standards requires skill, training, commitment and experience. If we take copywriting skills as an example, you’d be looking at integrating online PR, website and SEO copywriting, blog writing, article marketing and social media skills among others.
As websites are the hub of most online marketing activity, we can safely assume that having an appreciation of website copywriting is essential. In the process, it will become clear that search engine optimization (SEO) is also central to ensuring that your website is seen by as many (of the ‘right’) people as possible.
In 2012, link building features prominently in the essential aspects of SEO. High quality online content that others like and will want to link to is duly recorded by the likes of Google and ‘rewarded’ for providing influential, useful information as part of their purpose of providing relevant, top-quality information in response to online searches.
Links and landing pages
Blog posts and articles, as well as the various social media sites, all provide vehicles for creating and distributing quality content across the web. As well as ‘content’ being an end in itself, a primary function of the linking process is to drive online searches to specific pages on a website.
It could be argued, therefore, that every page on a website is a potential ‘landing page’ for anyone seeking more detailed information. That’s why website copywriting skills are so important.
Not only do well-written web pages provide an opportunity to create unique and impressive information about a company and its products and services. They will also comply with Google’s latest strictures on naturally-written copy that contains enough keywords to make the overall message on a web page clear to the search engine’s spiders – but not so many keywords as to make it very clear that the copywriter is going all out for higher web-page rankings at the expense of content clarity and readability.
It makes sense therefore for website owners and managers to approach each page with a view to providing as much useful information as possible that relates to the subject-title of that web page. This should involve research into facts and figures, as well as providing (wherever possible) visual aids such as videos, charts, Powerpoints and so on.
Now Google’s algorithms can detect attempts at keyword stuffing and trying to ‘game’ the system with dubious SEO techniques, website copywriting has in many ways come full circle in the sense that traditional ‘tell and sell’ copywriting techniques are the only reliable way to provide the online information that Google and its millions of users really need.
If you’re unfamiliar with website copywriting techniques, these latest developments should provide reassurance aplenty that anyone who feels like an alien can quickly turn the tables.
About the author:
Mike Beeson is a UK freelance copywriter, journalist and PR consultant specialising in website and SEO copywriting. Mike’s company, Buzzwords Limited, was established over 20 years ago and is located in Knutsford, Cheshire (south Manchester).