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Jagella
06-02-2009, 05:20 PM
If you're interested in a book about web-copy writing, then you may wish to consider our colleague Dan Furman's Do the Web Write (http://www.amazon.com/Do-Web-Write-Marketing-Business/dp/1551808323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243973595&sr=1-1). I recently finished reading it, and I thought it might be helpful to the members of this forum to review it here.

Do the Web Write is an attractively bound paperback book that has 154 pages of text plus a CD that can be used to install Web (HTML) templates and Word documents to your hard drive. The topics covered include:


Website Conversion
Text Formatting
Homepage Writing
About Us (Why US) Page Writing
FAQs
SEO Writing
Microsites


The HTML-template files on the CD include:


Homepage
“Why”
“FAQ”
“Services”
“Quote”


The Word files include but are not limited to:


“How to Make Your Website Fail”
“Press Release 1”
“Nice Home Office”
“The Furman 21 Website Questionnaire”


The last Word file appears to be especially useful assuming you can get anybody to complete it for you. (I asked my classmates to fill it out for me, but nobody bothered.) It's cleverly worded so that the people who fill it out provide honest, objective feedback about your website. It asks the person filling out the questionnaire to visit the website and then provide answers to questions about the site. It's easy to see how such feedback can tell you a lot about what people are getting out of your website.

One of the key questions I asked myself when reading Do the Web Write is: How good is Dan at writing? I'd say he's very good at writing. His writing style is very confident, engaging, humorous, and “light.” By “light” I mean that it's quick and easy with short paragraphs and sentences. It's very conversational and follows Dan's principle of “writing like you talk.”

As you might expect, Dan recommends such writing for Web copy. He points out that reading text on a Web page is harder than reading printed material, and thus Web copy should be scannable. With one glance the visitor should have a basic idea of what the page is about. Dan recommends using short paragraphs and bulleted lists to make the page's copy quick and easy to read.

What really impressed me with Do the Web Write is it's emphasis on building confidence in readers. In this book, Dan answers the question: “Why should you listen to me?” He answers by explaining that he's a professional business writer, author and consultant. He says he's an expert on the Internet and websites and has helped businesses of all sizes write effective Web copy that converts visitors. As you might imagine, Dan recommends such confidence-building copy be used on websites as well.

Does his advice work? I don't know because I haven't had a chance to apply much of it yet. If you're curious about how Dan explains how to write good Web copy, though, I think Do the Web Write is a good bet. If you win the bet, you've got a website that converts visitors; if you lose the bet, you're only out of $15.

Jagella

Dan Furman
06-02-2009, 07:15 PM
Geez, thanks Joe - I really appreciate your kind words there.

Yea, I even called one of the rules "write with confidence", and I have to tell you, to me, that's the biggest gun in the writer's arsenal. If I could only take one of my 10 (11) rules with me, I'd take that one - it's made the biggest difference in my life (and yea, I show you how to do it in the book, for those wondering.) ;)

Thanks again, Joe - good to see you.

phanio
06-02-2009, 11:38 PM
My main problem with writing for my site is just sticking to providing content and not putting in my opinion everywhere.

Jagella
06-03-2009, 12:12 AM
Geez, thanks Joe - I really appreciate your kind words there.

You're welcome, Dan, but I wasn't aiming to be kind; I was trying to be informative, objective, and fair. If I came across as kind, then that's all the better. The world can always use more kindness, can it not?


Yea, I even called one of the rules "write with confidence", and I have to tell you, to me, that's the biggest gun in the writer's arsenal. If I could only take one of my 10 (11) rules with me, I'd take that one - it's made the biggest difference in my life (and yea, I show you how to do it in the book, for those wondering.)

Sure. If there's one thing that I as a visitor to a service website want to see, it's confidence on the part of the person(s) offering the service. I want to see copy that just oozes with assurance that yes, they can do what they're offering to do for me and do it well and make it a worthy investment on my part.

And after reading your book, my top web-copy priority is to come up with copy of my own that shouts yes, I'm the man! I can get you that great logo, that winning business card, that whatever you want. I'm worth it too!

Have you any testimonies from people who have applied the principles your inbook and seen an increase in their conversion rate?


Thanks again, Joe - good to see you.

At this moment I'm clicking my heels together and chanting: “There's no place like home...there's no place like home...”

http://www.tauzero.com/Brenda_Laurel/For_Kids/JustWhatIwanted/RubySlippers.jpg

Jagella

Dan Furman
06-03-2009, 12:40 AM
Have you any testimonies from people who have applied the principles your inbook and seen an increase in their conversion rate?

Well, I got three good amazon reviews so far, and I know I have plenty of testimonials on my website (but that's for my work... but that's what I generally teach in the book.)

Dan Furman
06-03-2009, 12:43 AM
My main problem with writing for my site is just sticking to providing content and not putting in my opinion everywhere.

Depends on the content, I suppose. My blog is full of opinion.

But yea, sales copy, write for your audience. And don't preach to the choir (that's a biggie most people make)... what I mean by that is, don't try and sell people on your industry - sell them on you.

In other words, I don't try and convince people why they need a copywriter - they already decided they may need one - that's why they are at my site (they aren't there to buy steak knives). Instead, I assume they already convinced thermselves they need a copywriter, and I sell them on ME.

vangogh
06-03-2009, 01:19 AM
I'll offer another thumb's up for Dan's book. I bought it as soon as I noticed it was available and it was worth every penny. I guarantee if you read it and apply the basic principles inside you will write better sales copy and you will turn more visitors into buyers.

Best of all none of what Dan suggests is difficult. No one can make you a great writer just by reading a book, but I think the aim of the book is more to teach you general principles and offer practical tips to improve upon your current level of skill. And you will be able to improve your writing no matter what your current skill.

If you're unsure hop on over to one of Dan's sites and read the copy for a few minutes. See if it pulls you in more than most sites. The man knows how to write copy.

Jagella
06-03-2009, 03:05 PM
I guarantee if you read it and apply the basic principles inside you will write better sales copy and you will turn more visitors into buyers.

Steve, that may be true for a merchant site that sells goods, but I don't think it's quite correct for a service site. If you're running a service site, your Web copy should convert visitors by getting them to ask for the service or at least ask for more information about the service. At that time the conversion is complete and your website's job is done. Turning those prospects into buyers then becomes a matter of how you work with them to have them agree to have you work on their project(s).

I realize you understand this principle, but we just don't want to confuse the lurkers. ;)

Jagella