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If there's one thing that I've learnt so far, it's that nothing beats good copy. You may have found a way to bring in 10,000 visitors a day to your site, but if your copy is lousy, you're just wasting your effort. Web sites are only as good as their copy, so if you want to run a successful website, check and double-check your copy!

Listed below are thirteen tips to better your copy and increase your sales:

1. Use short benefit-focused headlines.

Grab your readers attention from the very first line by piquing their curiosity. Ask a question or make a statement that causes a question to be formed in the minds of your readers. This will get them to read on as they attempt to satisfy their curiosity. Be creative, or if that fails, be informative.

2. Make your copy short and to-the-point.

Your potential clients love easy-to-digest material, so keep your paragraphs short. Three or four sentences per paragraph are fine, anything more is not.

Check the format of the page too. Make sure the column width of the copy is around ten words across. Learn from the experts - newspapers publishers have known for years that narrow columns and short paragraphs keep people reading.

3. Make use of lists.

Bullet or numbered lists have to be the best things around for copy writers. The human eye naturally gravitates toward a list. A list is akin to an oasis in a desert. People who are inclined to skip over long, wordy sales copy will still look at bullet lists. So use this fact to your advantage by listing the killer benefits of your offer.

4. Put yourself in your targeted visitors' shoes.

Ask yourself, "why are they at my site?" People only want two things:

5. Aim your copy at your targeted market.

Focus, focus, focus. I dare say that in any venture, be it online or offline, the most important factor that determines its success or failure is the amount of focus. If you spread yourself out too thin, then you're heading towards failure. The biggest mistake that can be made is not to define the target audience before writing the copy. When spread-shot promotion tactics are used, the focus is lost on too many groups. In the end, the website loses the visitors' attention and loyalty.

Choose one defined audience first and aim your copy at them. Don't worry about the other audiences, you can add special links for them later when you become successful.

6. Give your Web visitors a lot of free information.

Everyone is attracted by free stuff, and that will be one of the reason why visitors come to your site. After visiting you five to ten times, they are more likely to buy from you. Include on your website your updating schedule, or put up a email group, so that people can be notified by email whenever there are updates on the website.

7. Create useful links.

Instead of the highly cliched "Please click here" link, experiment with other more useful-sounding links. Examples can be phrases that describe the link's destination, such as "free ebook download on cooking", or "list of top ten products".

8. Keep your language simple.

Utilise the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle when you are preparing your copy. Also, write your copy as if you are speaking with a friend. Nothing kills the sale faster than a dry and run-of-the-mill sales pitch.

Use "you" and "your" words liberally and "I", "me" and "us" words infrequently. Everyone likes to hear, or read about themselves. They like to feel like they are the centre of attention.

Using "you" and "your" will help them feel that the product may address their needs. Always remember, the focus of the copy should be the prospective customer, and not the person selling the product.

9. Write a list of five to ten benefits of your service.

Forget about lengthy description of you and your mission. Nobody reads them, so shift your focus to the more important aspects of your website.

Concentrate more on the benefits you can give your visitors. They came to learn about how they can benefit from your service, so make sure they will be convinced enough to say, "This is amazing. I want this!"

Tell the reader how the product or service will benefit them. Throw the technical details aside. They don't belong in your sales copy, they belong in an appendix on a linked page for those who are interested.

Sales are made by appealing to the reader's basic needs of comfort, security and acceptance. Your copy should explain how your product can address one or more of these needs.

So try using benefit-focused statements such as "Reduce your monthly bills by $200 with our product" or "Be able to function in the dark" to market your product or service, and you should start to see an immediate increase in interest!

10. Get rid of the hype.

Your visitors are intelligent people and they are not going to believe in hype. On the contrary, hyped up copy will just turn them away. Don't make ridiculous claims and while your offer may be really too good to true, don't state it that way.

11. Publish customer testimonials.

If you don't have any, you should solicit some immediately. Your current customers will be more than happy to support you if you provide good service and a solid product. Ask them for their opinion and comments regarding your product. Get permission to use their words and publish them on your web site. Testimonials are a very powerful selling tool that you can not afford to ignore.

12. Offer a solid, no question asked, money back guarantee.

Go on, offer such a money back guarantee, and stick by it. Why? Because what better way to get someone to buy your product than knowing that they can do so risk-free?

Besides, you will be surprised at how few people will be unsatisfied enough to make use of your guarantee. Sure, some customers may take advantage of it, but I think the increase in your sales should be more than enough to offset the few unscrupulous characters you may meet.

12. Ask for the sale!

You've got the killer benefits stated down, and you've got a solid money back guarantee. Now don't stop there. Many web sites neglect to ask the customer to buy. So lead your customer through the purchase process. Be sure to thank customers for their purchase and inform them how and when they will be receiving the product that they have just purchased.

Alvin Poh has been specialising in web development, content distribution, advertising and marketing strategies since 1995. His goal is to provide practical information based upon his years of experience to help webmasters, website designers, and self-employed people achieve their goals in today's competitive Internet. At his site, you can learn how to make money online.


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