Saturday, March 05, 2005

Rewrite your copy for the Web

Do not fall into the trap suffered by so many web sites out there, both large and small. Do not take text from your print materials and simply paste it into your site. It won't work!

People come to the web with very different expectations compared to when they read print. They are much more task oriented. They are usually looking and hoping for something in particular. They haven't come to your site to be "sold to" or view pretty pictures. They have arrived with a task in mind.

Write every web site headline and every line of text with the intention of HELPING your readers find what they want.

FreelanceWriting Tips


decca said...


Have you read the Marketingsherpa guide to successful landing pages?

Keep wondering whether to buy it.

For the minute just copying what they do.

The thermal images are interesting.

Tamara said...

Hi decca,

No I haven't, but I'm really interested in reading it too. I'm trying to convince my employer to purchase it :-)

I did attend a teleseminar last week called "Landing Pages: What's Working for Email, Paid Search & Online Media" hosted by Go-To-Market Strategies in which Anne Holland and Stefan Tornquist from MarketingSherpa gave away some of their ideas.

You can download the presentation and listen to the archived version (and even get a 50$ reduction on the guide) here:

Regarding the thermal images: they're actually based on an eyeball tracking study they did. I saw another example of something similar recently. It seems that people are mainly focussing on what's above the fold. Images appeal to people, but they should be relevant.

decca said...

Thanks for that link. I listened to some of it and found it to be quite useful.

Had seen the slides before somewhere, but didn't understand all of them.

I've seen the thermal images somewhere else. Perhaps it was on the site of the company who do them. Can't remember.

Thanks again

Tamara said...

You're welcome :-)

If you do find that link of that other site again, please let me know. I'm very interested in it too.

I'll try to post some new stuff to this blog asap.

Tamara said...

Hi decca,

I just did a search in Google on the terms heatmap +landing page and I found this blog:

I've subscribed to it and added it to my list of "blogs I read" :-) You might want to check it out as well...


decca said...

Thanks for that link. I recall seeing the police force website before.

The eyetools heatmaps are fascinating.

I'm beginning to wonder about the amount of text written on a page.

The general rule seems to be to offer fewer choices, in order to force the viewer to go where you want them to go. (otherwise they just get confused. There is some psychology to back this up. I guess it is called the psychology of too many choices. People end up doing nothing)

The CSS jade garden heatmaps were interesting. I don't like text that goes the whole way across the page, so I am not surprised people struggled to read it.

Problem is SEO copywriting needs words on the page. Pages need to be linked from the home page to get page rank passed through.

But heatmaps suggest limiting the amount of stuff on the page.

Why is this so difficult?

Tamara said...

I think you should make a distinction between a landing page and a content page on your website.

A landing page is typically a page that is used for marketing purposes and is not meant for SEO purposes. You're either building it to track a PPC campaign, online advertising, a print ad or direct (e)mail.

This means that the only visitors to this page are part of a very targeted audience and you don't want traffic other than the people coming through your campaign.

It also means that you can be a little more direct in asking this kind of visitors to take action.

There's a lot of dicussion about whether the copy should be long or short. Personally, I think you should not make the copy too long and you should stay very focussed on what it is that you want your customer/prospect to do on this page. Offer one, maximum two, calls to action/offers, no more. Eg. register for an event or download a white paper.

Indeed, when you offer your visitors too many choices they get confused.

It's also very wise to give your offer a different background color so that it stands out.

Does this make it any clearer for you?