5 Simple Tips Every Website Copywriter Must Know…

5 Website Copywriting TipsIn the next few minutes, I’m going to reveal 5 astonishingly simple tips that every website copywriter needs to know in order to create compelling copy. These are the techniques that will transform your website copy or sales letter from ‘mediocre’ to ‘scintillating.’ So let’s check them out, shall we?

Tip 1 – Is your text readable?

When someone arrives at your website, it’s important that they find it interesting enough to stick around for a while. In other words, you want to avoid anything that might put them off and send them scurrying for the exit button.

One way of keeping their attention is to ensure that the text on your page is simple and easy on the eye. For example, instead of using lengthy streams of text (which can be tedious to look at), break up your copy into short paragraphs, each consisting of a maximum of 5-6 lines. Injecting attractive sub-headlines, Johnson boxes, images, testimonials and bullet points will result in an even more enjoyable read.

By organizing your text in this manner, you’ll be making it easier for your visitors to browse through your sales copy. And the more they stay on your site, the higher your  chances of generating a sale.

Tip 2 – It’s all about the customer

Here’s a classic mistake that every newbie business owner tends to make – they keep going on and on about themselves! While it’s easy to slide into this style of writing, it’s a huge turn-off for visitors. You see, they are only interested in knowing what you can do for them (e.g. help them to further their financial status, lose weight, rank their website, etc) and what benefits they can gain by using your product/service.

They don’t care about the number of awards you have won, how long you’ve been operating for or how many mansions you own. Sure, you could include these bits of information if they happen to be relevant to the topic of your website, but instead of placing it on the home page, pop it in the ‘About Us’ section. More importantly, always remember to focus on your customers – at all times.

Tip 3 – Cut out the jargon

A good website copywriter knows the importance of keeping things nice and simple. Many websites often fill their pages with copy that’s full of heavy language and business speak. Talk about boring!

Listen, your potential customers may not be experts in your niche and might not even fully grasp certain niche-specific phrases. That’s why it’s crucial that you craft your sales copy in a clear, concise and easy to understand manner that appeals to all readers.

Tip 4 – Switch from ‘I’ to We’ – it’s more impressive!

Many online enterprises employ the word ‘I’ when describing themselves and the services they provide. This can give the impression that they are a tiny operation being run from somebody’s basement and not a professional company with proper staff, which may be a more accurate picture of their business.

Now, most customers will naturally prefer to engage the services of a seemingly larger, well-established organization. That’s why it’s probably a smart idea to cut out the ‘I’s and ‘Mine’ in your text and replace them with ‘We’ and ‘Our,’ to give the impression of being a mega corporation.

Performing simple tweaks like this can result in a solo entrepreneur being taken more seriously, which will lead to an increase in their customer base.

Tip 5 – Set aside some time to thoroughly proofread your content

Finally, as a responsible website copywriter, you want to make it a point to give your content a once over when you’ve completed it. Always check for basic errors (poor spelling, bad grammar, that sort of thing), before publishing the content online. Let’s face it – web pages riddled with errors do not look professional and will only succeed in turning potential prospects away.

So there you have it – 5 super simple techniques for crafting compelling copy!

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter

Useful Resources:

Top 5 Website Copywriting Tips

Website Copywriting Tips

A Beginner’s Guide to Website Copywriting

The #1 Trick to Transform Your Sales Letters

How to use "the fear" in your copywritingThere’s no point in beating around the bush, so I’ll get straight to the point…

Fear.

It’s probably one of the most effective emotional hot buttons used by copywritersto inject their sales letter with an extra layer of persuasion and compel prospects to take action immediately. If implemented correctly, the ‘fear factor’ can turn undecided buyers into red hot customers who are super-eager to buy the product you’re promoting.

Now, when I use the term ‘fear,’ I’m not talking about frightening your readers! Instead, it’s all about informing them that if they don’t purchase your product right away, they’ve got to be prepared to shell out more money at a later date… or miss out on getting their hands on it forever.

It’s a very effective marketing strategy and it works like gangbusters!

However, in order for prospects to reach the point where they fear losing out on what you’re selling, your sales letter must do a fine job during the initial stages, i.e. convincing them that your offer is exactly what they need, right now!

In other words, you first need to make your offer hard to resist, so potential customers will feel a sense of deep regret if they do not grab the opportunity you’re presenting them. Then, you want to give them a very good reason to click on that order button immediately.

Here are 4 easy ways of accomplishing this:

1. One-time offer

Example: This product is for sale *today* only and will never be made available to the public again.

2. Price increase

Example: The current price is set to increase by $25 after the 26th of June, so hurry.

3. Limited membership slots

Example: I can only accept 15 students right now, so don’t delay, secure your membership now.

4. Limited quantity – the tried and tested classic

Example: Only 7 copies are left, so order now.

If you wish to use the ‘one-time offer’ scarcity tactic in your sales letters you’ll need to insert a time limit on your product, so visitors to your site will be encouraged to make a purchase right away. You may also tell prospects that they can get your offer at an introductory price of £29.97 for the first 100 copies, but after that, will have to secure their copy at the regular price of £69.97, for example.

Since they realize they’ll be missing out on a saving of £40, they are likely to whip out their credit card and take action right away. In order to further enhance your chances of netting a sale, you could include a real-time clock counter in your sales letter to remind readers that time is running out and that your offer is going to end soon.

This is a fantastic way to instil a sense of urgency in your customers and make them fear losing out on the offer you’re so temptingly dangling in front of them. Another example of a brilliant scarcity strategy is to explain that X amount of action takers who invest in your product will receive a surprise gift or a special bonus, absolutely free. This tactic works wonders, simply because people love getting free stuff!

So go ahead, implement any of the 4 techniques mentioned above and transform your sales letter into a profit-pulling magnet!

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter

Useful Resources:

How to Use Emotional Words in Your Sales Letters

Sales Letter Copywriting Tip – Promote the Fear!

4 Words Guaranteed To Make Your Copywriting Crash And Burn!

Don't let your copywriting crash and burn...Just as there are certain trigger words that jazz up your copywriting, there are also phrases that are guaranteed to weaken your copy and make it crash and burn. And in just a moment, I’m going to pull back the curtain and reveal exactly what these words are…

The fact is, these are phrases that are known to subconsciously elicit a negative response from potential customers. So if you want to generate plenty of orders, it might be a good idea to exclude them from your next sales letter.

With that said, here are 4 words you need to avoid using…

Learn… Buy…  Order… Purchase

Now you’re probably wondering, “Why on earth should these phrases be discarded? Especially since they’re being used all the time on sites across the web?”

Granted, this is a valid point. That said, there’s a reason why it’s recommended not to employ these words in your copywriting

First off, you don’t want to remind prospects that they’ll need to part with their cash in order to receive the product you’re promoting! For example, the terms ‘purchase’ and ‘buy’ are considered far too ‘pushy’ and might put off interested visitors from taking further action.

Also, keep in mind that people don’t want to ‘buy’ anything; they’d rather ‘invest’ their money, for this implies a positive action and makes them feel good about themselves.

Similarly, customers would rather ‘download’ or ‘reserve’ a product (as opposed to ‘ordering’ it), as these words don’t remind them of the fact that they’ve got to spend money before being able to access said item.

Furthermore, the term ‘learn’ has somewhat negative connotations (words such as ‘discover’ and ‘how to’ are much better alternatives). After all, most folks nowadays are impatient and want instant answers, they don’t want to waste time hanging around ‘learning’ stuff, because let’s face it – that requires work.

Oh the horror!

That’s the reality though, so it’s crucial that your copywriting is tailored to meet the demands of your target market. Believe me, your bank account will thank you for it.

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter

Looking to Start an Online Business?

If you’re looking to start your very own online business, then Westgate Digital might well be just what you’re looking for. This brand-new digital marketing agency specializes in helping small businesses and start-ups, offering a wide range of online marketing services, from web design, copywriting, SEO, social media marketing and PPC..

 

 

Looking for a Freelance Copywriter?

Choosing a freelance copywriterSo, you’re on the lookout for a hot-shot freelance copywriter with the talent and skills to match?

Cough, cough… Err, how about me?!

Ok, if for some weird reason you don’t fancy putting my fantastic copywriting skills to the test, here are five simple tips to ensure you don’t end up with a nightmare copywriter…

Tip 1 – Rate their core competency

When researching a freelance copywriter online, one of the first things you should do is check out their website for any obvious errors. Sloppy punctuation, poor grammar, spelling errors and an inadequate grasp of the English language are all signs of a sub-standard writer and should raise red flags straight away.

Of course, everyone’s bound to make mistakes from time to time, but a failure to properly proofread their work and rectify those mistakes clearly indicates a lack of care and attention to detail. And you have to ask yourself; if they’re not taking pride in their own work, are they really going to take much pride in yours?

Tip 2 – May I see your samples, please?

Before going ahead and confirming their appointment, it makes sense to ask a freelance copywriter if you can view some samples of their sales copy. Many of them will usually have a portfolio page on their site displaying a number of projects they’ve worked on. The ones that don’t will have no objections to your reasonable request and will promptly provide you with a few of their best samples.

Tip 3 – What’s their feedback like?

When it comes to purchasing anything on Amazon or eBay, we tend to automatically favor a product or service that has received positive feedback, as we know that many other customers have already had a good experience using it. Similarly, when hiring a freelance copywriter, make it a point to check their feedback from previous clients. This is a great way to judge their competency, skill level and standard of work. If they haven’t got any testimonials on their website, contact them and ask for third-party references.

Tip 4 – Discuss your project

It’s always a good idea to thoroughly discuss your project and lay out your ideas and requirements, before putting down a deposit. This’ll help ensure that the candidate you select knows exactly what you want and how soon you want it. Any freelance copywriter with ‘in-the-trenches’ experience understands this concept and will be more than happy to work with you. Also, he/she will be keen on producing results that may exceed your expectations so you’re more likely to hire him/her again for future projects.

Tip 5 – Never go with the cheapest quote you get

Once you’ve completed your research and whittled down your list of copywriters, the next step is to obtain some quotes for your project. Here’s an important point you may want to keep in mind: do not base your decision on price alone. In other words, don’t choose a freelance copywriter just because they gave you the lowest quote. Instead, you’ll need to figure out which candidate is more likely to produce the best results based on the points mentioned above – and then weigh that up against the quotes you receive.

Now you don’t have to shell out a huge sum of money on your copywriting project. But saying that, the best wordsmiths are rarely the cheapest. Ideally, you want to pick someone who will provide you with sizzling copy at the most affordable rate.

So there you have it – 5 great tips for hiring a top gun freelance copywriter. Of course, you can always save yourself the time and hassle of choosing one, by simply opting for me instead!

The Benefits of Blogging

Blogging for SEOIt’s been said many times before, but content really is king when it comes to the internet. The fact is, it’s much easier to get a site ranked highly in the search engines if good quality content is constantly being added to it. As a result, more and more people are adding integrated blogs to their websites.

And you should be, too!

But it’s not just the content that helps your ranking…

The fact is, adding good quality, relevant content to your website (which the search engines love), also enables you to boost the site’s ranking even further by adding internal and external links.

Internal and external links explained…

An internal link is when someone mentions one of their keywords and then creates a clickable link out of it. The link then sends the reader (and the search engine spiders) through to your home page, or whichever page you choose. The result of this is that your site starts to become more and more relevant to those keywords, and your site rises higher in the search engines!

To give you an example, whenever I mention my keywords such as freelance copywriter or website copywriter, I turn them into links which direct people to the relevant page. I’ve optimised my home page for the term “freelance copywriter”, my website copywriting page for the term “website copywriter” and my SEO copywriting page for the keyword “SEO copywriter”.

The more and more I do this over time, and the more and more blog posts I write, the more relevant my site becomes to those particular keywords, and the higher it rises.

External links, meanwhile, can be just as effective. If you link out to high authority sites within your niche, they will often link back to you. The search engines will view this as a big vote of confidence in your site, and reward it accordingly, by pushing it higher in the search results.

As you can imagine, the more blog posts you write, the more internal and external links you can add to your blog. Over time, you’ll start to see your website climb higher and higher in the search engines, which will result in greater exposure for your products, and more money for your business!

Of course, in order to give your website a REAL BOOST, you need to create “backlinks”. This is very similar to internal links, but instead of the links being on your own site, they’re placed on other websites, such as article directories, other people’s blogs, forums, etc. And the more authority these sites have (higher Page Rank), the bigger the boost each backlink will give you!

Nick Cobb – Sales Letter Copywriter

5 Things Every Sales Letter MUST Have…

5 Things You Must Include in Your Sales LettersAs a freelance copywriter, I’m often asked to write sales letters for internet marketers and online business owners, and there are 5 crucial elements that I always make sure are present in every single one of them.

And here they are…

1. Testimonials – When buying any kind of product or service online, people like to be reassured that it actually works! It’s not enough simply telling your readers how great the product or service is, and how it will make their lives better. After all, you’re the one benefiting if they purchase, so your word only holds so much weight. A testimonial from a satisfied customer, however, can provide the proof that the prospect is looking for, and convince them that the product actually does what you’re claiming. When including a testimonial on your sales letter, always include the full name and location, and a picture of the person if possible. It’s also a good idea to include their website address (if applicable) so that the reader can check them out. If your testimonial is genuine, why hide anything?

2. Money back guarantee – The inclusion of a money-back guarantee towards the end of a sales letter can act as a hugely effective convincer. If a customer isn’t sure whether or not to take the plunge and purchase the product, taking away any financial risk can be a very effective technique. This way, the prospect will be far more likely to purchase the product or service, safe in the knowledge that they can claim it back should they change their mind or discover that it’s not for them.

3. Postscript – When reading a sales letter, many prospects skim-read the copy, often all the way down to the very bottom of the page in search of the price. When this happens, all of the time you’ve taken writing the copy, positioning the testimonials, choosing the images and adding screenshots, can be wasted! This is why a postscript is crucial. It’s here that you can list the main benefits of your product or service and emphasise any important points, like the discount you’re offering or the time-sensitive nature of the offer, for instance. And if the reader HAS read the sales letter, the postscript acts as a final reminder of why they NEED your product and what a great deal it is that they’re getting!

4. Bonuses – It’s not enough anymore to simply sell an e-book online, and expect someone to hand over £50. Savvy customers are now demanding more for their money, and the addition of a bonus or 10 is commonplace. Whatever product or service you’re selling online, there will be competitors selling something very similar. So you need to stand out from the crowd and offer something different, and more valuable. Well chosen bonus products will do this. They can add a huge amount of value to the offer, and if the prospect believes they’re getting good value for their money, they’ll be far more likely to purchase.

5. Call to action – The call to action is arguably the most important part of any sales letter. You need to make it clear what you want the prospect to do, or they may well end up clicking away from your web page and heading elsewhere. In most cases, you want the prospect to click on your order button and buy the product in question, but you can’t be too direct about this, or you’ll risk losing them. A colourful, well designed and prominent order button positioned towards the end of the sales letter is a good way of achieving this goal.

Whether you’re writing the copy yourself, or you’re hiring a freelance copywriter to do it for you, make sure that you include these five elements on all of your sales letters. If you do, I guarantee that you’ll convert more readers and generate greater profits!

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter

How To Keep Potential Customers on Your Website

How to keep people on your websiteWhen you’re trying to sell any kind of product or service online, getting traffic flowing towards your website is one thing, but keeping them there is another thing entirely!

People have short attention spans, particularly when it comes to browsing online, so keeping your visitor’s attention is absolutely paramount if you want to make a sale.

Here are 6 things that you need to consider if you want to keep your visitors on your website and turn them into paying customers…

1. Write a Compelling HeadlineWhen it comes to the task of grabbing your reader’s attention and keeping them on your web page, the headline is the first thing you need to consider. If the headline doesn’t excite, shock or intrigue, then you’ve failed, and your visitor will leave. The best way of ensuring that your headline does its job is to work out what the main benefit of your product is, and include that in the headline.

2. Spend Money on DesignThe look of your web page is just as important as the copy. The fact is, you could hire the best copywriter in the world, but if your site is an online eyesore, there’s a good chance that your visitor won’t stick around long enough to read it. So whether it’s a standard website or a sales letter, make sure you give the design the attention it deserves.

3. Break up Your CopyNo one likes to read long streams of unbroken text. It’s ugly, off-putting and counter-productive. You need to draw your reader further and further into your sales copy in order to really “sell” the product to them. The best way of breaking up your copy is to include sub-headers within the sales letter that compel the visitor to read on. Short questions like “So how did I lose 10 lbs in a week?”, “What did I do next?” or “So how did I make £10,000 in 4 days?” will engage the reader and keep them interested.

4. Include Bullet PointsThe fact is, most people tire of reading sentence after sense, paragraph after paragraph. No one really has time to read an entire sales letter, and as a result, many people will skim read your copy until they get to a point that interests them. Bullet points ALWAYS make people stop their skimming and read the content. So use your bullet points to highlight the most obvious benefits of your product.

5. Shout and Be Bold When people are scrolling quickly down your sales letter and skim reading your content, it’s easy to miss an important point. To combat this, try writing your main points in bold, and capitalising the words. Don’t capitalise too many words though, as this can appear “shouty” and a little bit cumbersome. But generally speaking, using bold text and capital letters will draw attention to those particular words and make your visitor stop and read.

6. Check for Errors If you want people to purchase any sort of product or service from you, it’s important that you present your business in the best possible light. Poor presentation will reflect badly on you and your company and reduce the chances of you making a sale. So always read through your copy and remove any spelling errors or typos. If you need help, consider hiring a copywriter who will proofread your sales material and correct any glaring mistakes.

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter

4 Tips For Great SEO Copywriting

SEO copywriting tipsAs a freelance copywriter with a successful website of my own, I am often requested to write SEO (Search Engine Optimized) content for client’s websites – and this requires a good deal more than just well written copy…

You could have the most charming, beautifully-written website which carries pocket loads of potential, but what would be the point if nobody could find it? People will only really find your website if it is optimized for your keywords in the main search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

So, what are the first steps towards successfully optimizing your site?

1. Utilize Your Header Tags

The header tags, numbered H1-H6 carry a lot of weight when it comes to ranking your  website highly for your main keywords. If your keywords do not feature in the header tags, then you are missing an opportunity to improve your website’s ranking position in the search engine pages.

Best practice is to include header tags 1-3 on each page of your website. And it’s important that you try to optimize each page for one particular keyword, as Google rank pages, NOT websites (although, other keywords may feature on a page’s header tags too). Just keep in mind that the greatest emphasis is placed on the H1 tag – so it must feature your main keyword for each specific page.

2. Think about Keyword Density

Keyword density used to be a big factor to consider, which meant that some highly ranking websites were nothing but pages littered with their specific keywords and the content made little to no sense… The search engine algorithms are now sophisticated enough to recognize this and consequently require a lot more than just pages scattered with relevant keywords.

Search engines now penalize pages that feature an excessive amount of keywords, simply because this nature of copy is the complete opposite of what they’re trying to achieve, which is to provide good quality and valuable content for their readers. Any website that follows the tactic of “keyword stuffing” is penalized immediately.

Although the significance of keyword density has been reduced in recent years, it is still important to feature your keywords in relevant places within the copy of your site. Without them, your content (and your web page) won’t be as relevant to your major keywords as it could be, and it won’t appear as highly as it should. A figure of around 3-5% is reasonable to aim for. Any less and you will risk falling under the radar, any more and you may enter ‘spam-like’ territory.

3. Make Sure Your Content is Both Unique & Relevant

The principle task of the search engines is to select the most relevant results for every search term typed in. After all, their very existence was designed to help the user quickly locate what they are searching the web for. If a search engine does not fulfill such criteria, users will find another search engine which will serve them more efficiently.

Consequently, an SEO copywriter should strive to make their content as relevant to the topic as possible, as well as optimizing client keywords and featuring appropriate synonyms. Throw into this equation the fact that all content should be completely unique and a copywriter is met with a somewhat time-consuming task. Unique content is a powerful tool, because search engines penalize duplicate content. So to give your web pages the best chance of rising highly in the search engines, ensure that your content is original and can’t be found anywhere else online.

Beware! Some ‘copywriters’ out there claim to produce unique copy, when actually they are doing little more than plagiarizing existing content which they’ve found online and then passing it off as their own work to paying clients! Anti-plagiarism software such as Copyscape, can help you spot this quickly and easily.

4. Make Sure Your Content is High Quality

When people read your website, they are not really captivated by your keyword use, or the fact that your content is unique. Truth be told, all they will notice is whether your website is well written and holds their attention, because if it doesn’t, they’ll just click through to another site and yours will be nothing but a blip on their website history.

A good SEO copywriter will be skilled at constructing eloquent copy that is a pleasure to read whilst incorporating required keywords in a relevant and subtle fashion. Readability is the primary aim of a good copywriter and this stands whether they are SEO copywriting, article writing or writing a sales letter.

Websites are principally designed for the eyes of a human, not the spiders of a search engine, and it’s important to remember this when trying to sell products. If content is informative, useful and of course well-written, then people will remember it. They will return and they may even link to it – a crucial step towards creating those all important ‘backlinks,’ which are powerful tools in any SEO campaign.

‘Backlinks’ carry considerable weight when it comes to SEO because when a site creates a link back to your site, it effectively counts as a ‘vote of confidence’ in your content. The search engines will then reward your website by pushing it higher in the rankings.

Consequently, your SEO copywriter should focus on high quality content that will attract backlinks for your site. Yet another confirmation that the secret behind a successful online business is a great writer…

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter

 

How to Build Trust Through Clever Copywriting

Creating trust through clever copywritingThe arrival of the internet has brought with it a number of positives. However, it’s also created the perfect environment for crooks and scammers to operate in. The anonymity that the internet provides, and the ease in which someone can set up a website and start selling products and services is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with.

You may well recall the controversy last year when a number of ticket-selling websites popped up online prior to the V-Festival. Many music lovers unknowingly purchased “tickets” from these sites, and only realised something was up when the tickets failed to arrive. The sites then disappeared and the money vanished. This sort of thing has been happening more and more in recent years, and as a result, online customers are becoming extremely cautious and sceptical when purchasing online, unless it’s a brand name that they immediately recognise.

And this is the key point…

People will happily purchase from brand names because they TRUST them. These companies have built up a reputation and customers know they’re genuine.

So if you’re starting up a new business as a freelance copywriter, a web designer, a photographer or anything else, you need to create a feeling of trust as quickly as possible, and convince the visitor that you’re the real deal.

Here are three ways of doing it…

1. Create a back-story

If you’re selling a product via a website or a sales letter, it’s crucial that you tell the reader who you are, and how you can help them, so that you create an affinity with them and bridge the gap between customer and product seller. Let’s say that you’re selling an e-book about curing acne, for example. If you’re selling such a book, no doubt you suffered from this condition yourself. In which case, let the reader know that. Build a relationship and tell them that you understand just how they feel. You were once suffering just like they are now, but you found the solution. Building a relationship like this helps to engender trust, which will have a huge bearing on whether someone buys from you or not.

2. Include case studies

If you’re claiming to be able to do something for someone, they want to see proof that you can do it. The best of way of providing this proof and generating a sense of trust is to include a few of your best case studies on your website. If you’re a copywriter, for instance, you could add a page to your website which shows some of your previous projects. This will allow the customer to see your work, which will make them much more likely to employ your copywriting services, providing you’re any good, that is!

3. Add testimonials

As with case studies, testimonials add the crucial element of social proof. Potential customers want peace of mind before they purchase anything. They want to be sure that you can do the job properly, and testimonials can help provide this. On my copywriting website, I include the name of the customer and a website link if I can. This allows the visitor to click on the link and view the work in question, and even contact the person listed in the testimonial if they’re really distrustful! But the fact is, by including the name and the website link, they won’t be.

So when you come to setting up your own website, be sure to include as many of these elements as you can, because if you do, you’ll find that a lot more people will order from you.

And you can trust me on that!

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter