Make Your Web Text Sparkle

SCOREThis article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE chapter.

Many elements go into creating a successful small business Web site—one that showcases your company’s products or services and entices people to buy. But one of the most overlooked items is the text that goes on each Web page. Writing copy for Web sites is, in fact, different from other forms of sales writing. Web writing requires a different approach, a different voice and a different attitude from the offline world.

With millions of Web sites competing for attention, attracting visitors is hard enough. But once you get them there, the real test is convincing them to buy. Site builders often turn to flashy graphics, sound and other fancy features to cinch the sale.  But in the end, it’s what you say and how you say it that are the keys to Web site success.

Focus first on establishing credibility. The content on your site must be crisp and intelligent. What you say should grab a visitor’s attention, pique their interest and motivate them to action. But avoid sounding like a commercial.

“Don’t make your Web site look like an ad” is rule number one of Web copywriting, says Maria Veloso, director of Web Copywriting University. We are all bombarded by ad images daily, says Veloso. The last thing we want to see on a site is another ad.

Yet many small business sites seem specifically designed to look like billboards. Avoid this trap. “People go online for information,” says Veloso. “That’s why they call it the information superhighway.” Your site should provide help, not hype, with the feel of editorial, not advertising. Web visitors consider themselves active participants in a shared online experience, so the writing should speak to them in this way.

For example, address people directly as “you.” This personalizes your message and involves readers directly. Small business sites too often say “we” this and “we” that, never bothering to involve the customer. Write friendly with words and expressions you would use in everyday speech. Let your passion about your product or service come through in your online voice. If you show that you believe in what you are doing, customers will notice.

For additional planning help for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”  SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners.  Call (570) 851.1608 or visit to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.