PS is a freelance marketer and copywriter. She is actively involved in market research to help entrepreneurs with brand-building.
It’s tough to predict what’ll the Internet be like in the next 5 years? Even if you are an experienced web expert, you can’t predict that it’s so energetically dubious. But no matter what age we are, it’s affirmed that we, as users, are going to surf the Internet the similar way we do today. Being an Internet copywriter, it’s become my job to pose as different sort of Internet users and learn their usage style. Not surprisingly enough, they all look for different information in the same way.
Here’s my perspective on how web users look for information and how you can help them through your website or blog. This article is specially written for copywriters, but equally useful for website owners.
1. It’s not about reading but scanning the information
This is the major difference between print and web copy. From a very young age, we know the screen is for watching movies, series, and other shows. You can’t expect this behavior to change with age. In fact, the more you age, the less it is recommended to look at a computer screen for a long time.
Give the users, what they’re looking for, instantly. They are task-focussed, annoyingly disloyal, and impatient. If you can’t provide them easy information, they’ll look somewhere else.
2. Persuasion over information, even when you are not selling
Being persuasive doesn’t mean you are selling something. It can also mean you want your readers to click on links, subscribe, or create an account. When the Internet came into existence, the content was displayed straight away in the long-form. Users were thrilled to try something new, now there’s nothing refreshing about it. So, even if you have large details to share with your users. It’s better to start with less.
For example, if you have an article, you shouldn’t display all at once. That tiny size of the scroll bar on the right restrains your users from reading any further. Show only 3 to 4 paragraphs in the starting and give the option to read more. There are many websites that display full content at once, but it’s not just content, it’s a mixture of paragraphs, bullet points, lists, images, and videos, sometimes facts, figures, and graphs.
3. One-liner tops the chart
Thanks to social media sites such as Twitter for teaching us how to convey the thoughts in short sentences. If you availed the services of Google Adwords or running an ad campaign on a social site, you should know how to drive traffic using a single line. First of all, everyone distances themselves when they see a post is sponsored or is marked as an ad. Secondly, if you start explaining everything in your ad right there, it makes no sense for a user to look for more.
You have to practice, it doesn’t happen in a day. Try various tricks to know which sentence conveys the best about your services. For example, if you run an online learning platform exclusively for fashion students, then don’t explain your courses right away. You should, instead, write “Looking to be the next fashion star. We have the answer for you”. This is just an odd example, the line solely depends on what type of work you do, you should better use the keywords.
4. Readers don’t think, they don’t want to
I really like how the booking sites (such as airplanes and hotels) are always to the point. They know the first thing any user will look for is where to book the tickets. Below that, they provide offers and discounts for different destinations. The airline details, lounge experiences, baggage allowances are all mentioned through the menu. So, everything is well-organized. There’d be hardly any user whoever has to spend more than a minute to find the required information.
It’s not possible that every site can imitate the booking site design, but it’s possible to offer the user straight away what they are looking for. Write a well-structured text, better to put its points. If you need to write long paragraphs, then summarise your point using an image or a video.
5. Search ranking is just a part, not everything
Internet users, who have previously visited certain sites, don’t need to search them again on the search engine as they already appear in the search bar suggestion. And if not, there’s social media, YouTube, and other related sites.
Don’t just rely on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Though SEO is important, but to truly flourish you should equally focus on receiving traffic from other media (social sites, forums, etc.) including e-mail. All this traffic will help you get sales and ultimately, higher search ranking.
6. Focus your content on specific pages
Content is king. Search engines like Google rank websites on the basis of its content, but also include the number of daily traffic. Instead of cluttering your every page with unnecessary content, you need to focus on certain pages such as the home page, landing pages, and other top-level pages. These pages encourage readers to learn more about you and your services. They let them take specific actions or go to a specific location.
7. Landing pages deserve special attention
Landing pages are often used for detailed information about specific services and products that you may have mentioned in the email, social link, or an ad. To make the best use of it, your landing pages need to have these following attributes:
- Concision with precision
- Searchable by search engines
- Targeted to a specific audience
- Clearly describe the benefits
As stated by Jacob Nielson’s “Rule of Twos”, the Internet users focus on roughly the first two sentences of a paragraph, or the first two paragraphs of a web page. It means your first two paragraphs need to offer them the summary of benefits and what all you are going to discuss in the later paragraphs.
Since your users often visit landing pages through an e-mail or social link, there is an uncertainty of how much they already know. Keeping this in mind, create the landing pages which are self-explanatory.
8. Tagging keywords and displaying related content
As a copywriter, you are asked to provide relevant links along with the main content. You must have noticed that almost every site shows related content with perfectly relates to the main content. For example, news websites and even HubPages itself and its network sites. However, this is only possible if you rightly tag your work in the first place.
You have to place your articles or web copies under the right categories so that in the future it can be easily shown along with other similar content (by the website owner or the web developer). The tagging process is usually similar across the board, but you’ll be given clear instructions before beginning so there’s nothing to worry about.
Another important point is there’s a need for a strict tagging convention. For example, if you tag under “writer” and another copywriter uses “author”, then this won’t work unless there’s a software which connects the similar keywords. However, tagging is usually manual work, so you need to be careful.
The best way to achieve your target’s attention is to write about the topic that you feel most passionate about. Make sure your website speaks loudly of your interest in the field. Even if the traffic is less in number, you’ll still be able to receive a higher conversion rate. All the best.
© 2020 PS Tavishi
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 01, 2020:
Most helpful, thank you. I started my long career with a few years (15 to 20 give or take a couple) in broadcast copywriting, and today's web pages are a far cry different. This year, I took a course in building a money making website. Just four months before I started the course, I had a stroke, but I thought I was ready to rumble again. Then the first month into it (February) my husband and I got sick with either the flu or COVID-19, which badly affected my thinking process. I'd had a flu shot and I tested negative for flu, but couldn't get a CV-19 test in my state because it wasn't supposed to be here yet. I never completed the website that was supposed to be part of the course. I plan to complete it as soon as I fully recover from whatever I had. I intend to bookmark your article and incorporate your suggestions into it because you brought out things that my course did not. Thank you, I think it will make things easier.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 01, 2020:
Interesting stuff. Someday I will venture into this arena.