It's a terrifying thought, but I have spent the last decade of my life writing copy for the web. Mountains of emails, legions of webpages, volumes of blogs. Along the way I like to think I've learnt a thing or two. And one of these things is to always ask myself these five questions when writing web copy:
1. Who is your ideal reader?
Do you have a clear sense of who you are writing for? This is vital to get the tone of voice right. Creating customer personas can be a great way of ensuring you keep your customers/clients firmly in mind when writing.
2. What exactly are you offering them?
Clearly and concisely explain to the reader what you are offering them and what action they need to take.
3. What's so great or unique about your offer?
Explicitly state what is different about your offering.
4. So what?
Imagine you are the intended reader and ask yourself, so what? Why on earth should they care about what you have written? What's in it for them?
5. Does it pass the Goldfish Test?
A goldfish's attention span is 9 seconds. The average human online attention span is 8 seconds. Is your copy short and simple enough to communicate to the reader everything they need to know and get them to take action in 8 seconds? Or is it compelling enough to stretch out that attention span? If not, back to the drawing board.
If you ask yourself these five questions whenever you write copy for the web then you will stand a much better chance of getting your readers to take the action you want them to, and ultimately meet your business objectives.