Reading web copy, for a professional writer at least, can be a painful chore. It falls into a few basic categories: written by a 5th grader, written by a mad genius (emphasis on mad), or written for a Search Engine. You are, I'm sure, fabulous at whatever you choose to do, but I can guarantee that you are no writer. I only need to read what you wrote to confirm that.
Writing is a skill, and if you are writing because someone told you that you had to- they are right and you are wrong. At least, you are the wrong person for the job. It takes more than 10 minutes, begrudgingly, pounding away at the keyboard to craft web copy that someone is going to want to read, someone is going to want to share and Google is going to index. Sure, you can open a can of Chef Boyardee and make your stomach stop growling, but no one is going to mistake you for Mario Batali. When you write out of obligation, and not dedication to the craft of writing, those are the results you get.
Please, don't take my opinions (observations- I mean- I have, actually, read these things you have passed off for writing on the WWW) as an insult to your writing abilities. If you worked at it, you could be pretty great. You, however, don't want to or don't have the time to work at writing web copy. You want it well written and you want it now.
Here's how to improve your web copy fast and learn to doctor your Chef Boyardee prose to fool, at least a few people, into thinking you are Mario Batali. Who are we kidding; that's never going to happen.
Tips to Fix your Web Copy
Get a grammar check program for the love of all that is holy. And not just any grammar check, but an AP style grammar check. Why AP style? Because everyone recognizes AP style as a professional standard. Fall below the standard and you look like an amateur - take your pick. Get automated style, spelling and grammar checking at APStylebook.com
To answer you next question, no, your spell check alone will not cut it!
Write first, ask questions later. A professional writer, at least this one, writes first and then goes back to make some tweaks. Then, we let it stew a day or two, and then we line-edit. Last, but not least, we go in and edit for readability. So, pound away at those keys for 10 minutes and then save your file. Don't look at it again for at least 24 hours, 2 days is better. Why? After time has passed, you can look at something you wrote with fresh eyes and red pen at the ready. You won't notice half of the errors, redundancies, misplaced thoughts etc... immediately.
No matter what you write, it will always sound better to you right after you wrote it. It will sound not so great in 2 days and in 2 years you will struggle to remember the name of the 5th grader you hired to write it for you. Because - and you will swear- a fully grown adult could not have possibly written this garbage.
SeO what? Search engine optimization, sounds a lot harder than it really is. The basics are that you pick one or two keywords you need to target (not 30, I repeat not 30) to gently mold your web copy around.
You will not attempt to beat Google into submission by keyword stuffing a 300 word article with 299 different keywords or 299 different words for pasta (you're Mario Batalli, remember).
You, tell me. Is this a pasta article you would want to read?
"Homemade Pasta - Pasta, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Cavatappi, Lasagna, Ravioli, Gnocchi, Angel Hair, Thin Spaghetti, Farfalle, Ditalini, Elbow Macaroni, Shells, Large Shells, Pastina can all be made at home. You can make Homemade Pasta at home in any shape you like. Homemade Pasta is more delicious than other dry pastas. Homemade Pasta is pasta that is fresh and delicious. Homemade pasta is very popular in Italy and homemade pasta is served with many meals. The most popular Homemade Pastas in Italy can be Homemade by hand and do not necessitate any special homemade pasta making equipment.
Or, would you rather read this:
Homemade pasta is traditionally served in Italy. There seems to be no limit to the variety of shapes in which homemade pasta can be formed. From tiny pastina shaped pastas to the stuffed ravioli and long thin angel hair varieties; homemade pasta is fresh and delicious and far superior to the dry variety found on store shelves. Most Italians prefer to make the simpler shapes of homemade pasta for every-day eating, which require no special pasta-making equipment; like gnocchi and cavatappi
Focus your article on just a few words and place them naturally within the text. When you go back for your first editing session, see if there are any opportunities to add your keywords. For your last session, see where you have added too much. A good goal is around 5% keyword density for your web copy.
Why? Over 5% keyword density and your web copy starts to sound like a mad man or a robot wrote it. Neither of those options will encourage your reader to read to the end or share your poorly written, whatever, with other people on the WWW.
That's the goal, after all - social sharing. The more eyes on your content the more opportunity for someone to take the action, via your content, that you want. Use the tips above to improve your writing or hire someone, like me, to do it for you. Whatever you do, don't ever attempt to pass-off Chef Boyardee for Mario Batali.
That's just wrong.
JP Whitehead is a prolific ghost writer, freelance writer and copy writer. She writes really, really well. See for yourself
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