Ivan Levison —
Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting

If you want to write a killer web site, don’t whisper.

A lot of Internet gurus are giving out lousy advice about writing Web sites.

They say you should keep the tone of your Web copy flat, sober, and subdued. Forget about writing with personality, they say. Keep your copy bone dry and you can't go wrong.

Let me give you a typical example of this kind of advice . . .

In his book, How To Grow Your Business On The Internet, Vince Emery writes,"Web copywriting should be low-key" and tells readers to use the "soft sell."

Believe me, if you're selling software on the Internet, the last thing you want to do is sound like the new cure for insomnia.

O.K. I agree that you shouldn't sound like you're selling Ginsu knives, but let's get real! As I mentioned before in my newsletter, the Web today is a text-based medium and you've got to quickly capture the reader’s interest and attention.

In other words, as always, you have to establish a relationship with the reader and therefore write with energy, enthusiasm, and personality.

If you don't, you may wind up sounding like this flatter-than-a-pancake Web copy that introduces the reader to Lotus Notes:

Notes Product Information.

"Lotus Notes has defined a new breed of software called groupware that enables an organization to realize the full potential of its networks and its people. Now teams can work together in smarter, faster, more productive ways, and get more done with fewer resources."

What a yawn-inducing waste of time. This isn't "soft sell." It's no sell!

For an example of Web copy that's alive and kicking, check out the lead to Abacus Concepts' page on StatView V4.5:

A statistics package that's easy to use? You've heard this before . . . only to realize there's a five volume library to read before you can get any work done. Not so with StatView. While other packages make lofty claims about ease of use, StatView really delivers.

Since 1985, StatView has been the leading statistics package on the Macintosh. And from the very beginning, StatView's goal has been to provide researchers with a software tool that makes statistical analysis a seamless and sensible process. One that works the way you do.

Nice and smooth. The writer at Abacus knows what she is doing.

The bottom line? If you’re taking the text from your brochures and press releases, and using it as filler for your Web site, you’re doing it all wrong. Visitors to your site are looking for an involving, entertaining experience and if your writing is dead, they’ll hit the “Back” button fast!

© 2013, Ivan Levison & Associates. All rights reserved.