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Why Copywriting Is The Secret To Your Online Success

Over the last decade, the number of companies selling their products and services on the Web or sharing information online with their target market has exploded.

It's no longer frowned upon to conduct your business on the Web, and huge numbers of people are making a healthy living doing just that. Others, however, are not. For every great website out there that grabs its customer's attention and holds it, there are hundreds more bad ones that don't. Despite their best efforts, many businesses are losing money daily due to the poor performance of their company website.

Contrary to popular myth, what constitutes a great website is not just fantastic design, but also the quality of the online copy that accompanies it. If you pay equal attention to both sides of this equation, you'll end up with an amazing site that drives traffic where you need it most, bringing excellent sales or driving great interest as a result. But if you ignore the necessity of simple, effective and clear-cut Web copy, evidence has shown your site will suffer as a consequence.

In a 2002 Stanford University "Web Credibility" survey of over 4,500 Web users in Europe and the US, findings are unequivocal. Whilst recognising the benefits of good design, the report also states:

"Our data suggests that integrity of content has considerable impact on how people evaluate the credibility of a website. Study participants gave some of their lowest scores on credibility to sites that fail to separate advertising from editorial content, run too many ads on a page, or display ads through pop-up windows. At the same time, users gave strong marks to site content that identified its sources and provided its authors' credentials."

Along with effective design and navigation, the report concludes that:

"As for writing style, (websites should) be clear, direct, and sincere."

(Source: Stanford-Makovsky Web Credibility Study 2002).

So you have to ask yourself, is the writing on your website 'clear, direct and sincere'? If not, then you could be losing sales. Nobody wants a lame duck website that leaves its visitors confused or disinterested, or worse still, a site that makes inflated and unrealistic claims. What people want to find on your site is a credible and well thought out approach to their requirements, they want answers to the questions that drew them to your website in the first place - because it's then that they are more likely to make a purchase. Hitting just the right tone to do this is the job of a really good copywriter, and the time and money you take to get this right with a professional writer will ultimately be reflected in increased business for you and your company.

Laurence James is Copywriting Director of The Copy Box - Professional Copywriting & Content. He holds a BA Honours Degree in English and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism. Laurence has been writing commercially in a variety of different markets for over seven years, and works with companies of all sizes, including marketing and advertising agencies.


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