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Members blog at WebmaisterPro. Covering topics related to online marketing, SEO, web development as well as software reviews.

Cut the Crap Content

The title of this guest post got your attention didn’t it? OK, hold that thought for now, more on that lower down the page.
Article WritingNow let’s move on to the meat of this post, the fact that many webmasters, and a very high percentage of web content developers, overlook one simple fact; that the main goal of web copy should be to engage readers. This short post attempts to show webmasters how a few simple writing tricks can turn page content in to a valuable resource.

Consider for a moment the fact that studies have shown that the average time a person spends upon a website is less than ten seconds. You have already been reading this page for longer than ten seconds haven’t you? The post title is responsible for this. OK, hold that thought for now, more in that lower down the page.
Many webmasters tend to look solely at the value of their content from an SEO point of view. Will it be indexed well? Does it contain the right keywords at the right density? Will it bring traffic? Well, the hard truth is that a page may well bring lots of organic search engine traffic, but all of that traffic will leave within ten seconds of landing on the page, unless the actual page content engages the visitor. Traffic is for vanity, conversions are for sanity, a million visitors who never actually convert are just burning bandwidth. The key to converting traffic to conversions is the actual page content.

What do we mean by engaging the visitor? Well, for a start, let’s talk about the page title now. Most people upon reading the title “Cut the Crap Content” are going to take notice, for two main reasons. One, it is an alliteration, a proven rhetorical device used by writers for hundreds of years. Secondly, it doesn’t answer a question, or state an easily understood fact. It is vague enough to make people wonder what it means, but not cryptic enough to be confusing. On top of this, it uses a mildly offensive word, and believe it or not, vulgarity sells. So we can clearly see that just the page title alone has the power to engage the visitor, and take them past the ten second watershed.

However, once we move past the page title we need to give visitors a reason to keep reading. Look at the very first sentence of this post, right after the title. Do you see what it does? It gives the visitor a reason to keep reading, as it promises to discuss something of interest further down the page. The clever part here is the fact that the thing it is promising to discuss is also the thing that grabbed the reader’s attention in the first place. What could be more engaging? And this is the true secret of crafting strong web copy; you need to give the reader a reason to stay on the page as frequently as you can.

There is another consideration, besides the conversion ratio, which needs to be discussed. Websites are becoming increasingly dependent upon social networking, and for good reason, vital marketing is incredibly powerful. So getting somebody to click that magic Facebook like button, or to actually take the time to type a Tweet, is a major issue. The key to encouraging people to share page content is to actually stimulate discussion. This means moving away from content which simply states facts. Instead, we need to ask questions. Do you know why? Because whenever people read a question, they instinctively try to answer it at a subconscious level. They are no longer simply reading the page, they are now thinking about the page. What happens when people answer questions? Well, they like to know if the answer is right. For a web page, the easiest way to judge the validity of your answer is to share it with your social networking connections and ask their opinion.

Now, do you really think that the $5 articles you have been buying from that guy in the Philippines, which you think are OK once you have corrected the spelling mistakes, are really going to cut the mustard when it comes to engaging your visitors? Sure, they might bring you lots of search engine traffic, but they won’t add value to your site. Instead, you should consider swapping quantity for quality, and cut the crap content entirely.

This post was written by Mac Wheeler, who is a professional freelance writer that specializes in writing for an online audience.
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