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Your Perfect Customer Comes First - Hold your focus on this person. Everything you write is as closely targeted as possible on this person's needs, hopes and dreams. If you can sustain this interaction, rest is just mechanics.
Talk With, Not To - Telling people what to do never works. Whether selling or providing information, your only hope is to persuade readers to buy your product or accept your point of view. In short, always talk *with* your Perfect Customer. Never talk *to* them.
Forget About Maybes - A common mistake on many sites is attempt to please all visitors. It won't work. Talk and sell to your Perfect Customer, and nobody else. That is, never include even a comment in hope of converting maybes.
Use "I," not "We" - If you're just one person, stick to yourself as subject. There is something pretentious, kind of phony, about a fellow who is a one man show speaking of himself as "we." It's as if he is trying to appear bigger or more important than he is.
Believe In Your Product - If you do, if you enthusiastically endorse it, your excitement will shine through. Conversely, if you don't believe in it, ditch it. Only professionals can sell in this circumstance. Lack of enthusiasm of itself will destroy your copy.
Never Offend Or Annoy - Offending people is always a deadend street, a truism that hardly seems worth mention here. I did so in order to point out that accumulated annoyances amount to offending. Seek to eliminate any copy that might annoy anyone.
Avoid U.S. Jargon - The Web is rapidly becoming an International marketplace. However, many outside U.S. who read English, are reading in a second language. U.S. jargon and slang really confuse such visitors. Use dollars, not bucks. Use men, not guys. "Behind wood shed" has no meaning for those outside U.S.
Be Specific - Your writing will be stronger if all is aimed at making a very specific point clear. Only when accomplished, is it time to move on to another. "Stainless steel is an exceptional material," says little. If this is point you want to make, break it down into parts that collectively explain why generalization is so.
Write As Fiction - The better I come to know Web, more convinced I am of parallels between writing a good story and a good page. Pace matters. And emotional impact. And there's more. Grab a book you like, and try to figure how author sucks you into next paragraph or page. If you can do same with a web page, you'll have a winner.
Editing Is The Secret - Edit and rewrite as often as required. Ask any good writer, and they'll tell you that some of what they release has been edited and rewritten a dozen or more times. Editing is key, really. The final result may only vaguely resemble original draft.
Get A Second Opinion - While there may be little need to hire a professional editor, do ask at least one other person to read what you have written. If possible, ask them to read it out loud to you. If nobody is handy, record your work, then listen to it. Hold off on this until you feel work is ready to go. There's too much error in draft copy for this to work well.
Be Clear, Straightforward, And Friendly
Hold to above in all you write, be certain you are speaking one-to-one with your Perfect Customer, and results, given editing, will be sufficient. As you gain experience, you can improve from "sufficient" to "good." "Great" is goal, but it certainly is not required.
Bob McElwain, author of "Your Path To Success" and "Secrets To A Really Successful Website." For info, see Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org