Posted on Sept. 13, 2008

It's no secret that the art of copywriting is changing with the evolution of the web. Fueled by a fast-paced desire to digest information, users no longer read, they scan. Many of the old copywriting "rules" no longer make sense in an online atmosphere.

Changing trends are the future of online copywriting. So how can you make sure users read your content instead of ignoring it? Follow these suggestions to increase user engagement and "stickiness."

- Know your audience. The better you understand your target audience, the better you can connect with user motivations. You must emphasize unique advantages about whatever you're offering and convey this message free of fluff.

- Readers will stop reading when they encounter marketing speak, so don't give them a reason to leave. There's a 5 second rule (that's quickly becoming 3 seconds) in which a user must find what they want. If they don't, they'll abandon the page and add to your "bounce rate." Highlight benefits immediately and address a pain point and it's solution.

- Adopt a more conversational tone with less formality. As online advertising shifts to more alternative media, connecting with readers grows more difficult, especially younger audiences. This demographic values honesty and lacks patience, so a conversational tone is much more effective. Rarely are chances in this world given twice. In an online atmosphere, once you lose the trust of a reader, you can't get it back. Instead, offer the promise of action and cater to Web 2.0 readers' desire for immediate results.

- This translates to formatting as well. Don't write in thick verbose paragraphs. Instead, utilize short sentences and bullet points. Always leave a healthy amount of negative space so you don't overwhelm readers with text.

- Test and test some more. Multivariate testing can reveal what type of copy readers respond best to. A quick test can point you in the right direction and boost your site's conversion rate. Use web site analytics to look at the bounce rate and time on site/page before and after reformatting.

Follow these copywriting guidelines and your words will get noticed in a Web 2.0 atmosphere.

For more information, contact Fusionbox.