Monday, March 17, 2008

Online writing tips that turn browsers into buyers

I was blown away by some recent research by Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen saying an improvement in content can improve results by 124% improvement.

He says how and what you write online has the “highest impact" on Web site profitability.

For example:

  • Concise copy lifted results 58%
  • Scannable text and layout (like these bullets I am using right here) improved results 47%, and
  • Objective language (taking out the hype that makes prospects respond, "Oh yeah!" with a cynical snarl) boosted results 27%.

Put them all together and what do you get? A 124% improvement, says Nielsen.

That tied in with a post I read at ReadWriteWeb quoting software company 37 Signals' top dog Jason Fried saying many online marketers spend too much time fretting over pixels and not enough over their words. "Words are actually less expensive to correct," he said.

Writing better Web copy isn't determined by the size of your budget (although really hot copywriters will cost an arm and a leg.) Many of the techniques recommended by Nielsen can easily be adapted in-house.

But where are the Web writing conferences and sessions? I am bombarded with e-mails promoting seminars, audio conferences, training programs on search engine optimization, pay per click, landing pages, long tail keywords, etc. There's little on writing for the Web. I've been to two conferences lately about online marketing and have looked in vain for some sessions on better online writing skills.

That's where the plug for our print publication comes in ... Our next cover issue includes ten great writing tips. And thanks to all our friends and supporters who helped us choose the headline.

The winner was: "10 writing tips that turn browsers into buyers." We had two surveys going ... one on this blog and one sent via e-mail and this headline scooped the pool in both.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power on Monday 15 March at 8:00 a.m.


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