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Writing Web Copy That Sells

By Dean Shanson,

A commercial website has just one goal: to turn users into customers. It doesn’t matter how well-programmed your site might be or how attractive it might look, if it doesn’t bring users to your order form and persuade them to buy, you may as well post a 404 Error message on each of your Web pages.

While design certainly plays an important role in guiding users through the site, and good programming is always necessary, it’s the quality of the copywriting that will determine whether or not the people who visit your site leave you with their money... or just leave.

Obviously the copy used on each site has to be unique. It has to answer the user’s questions, knock down his objections and make him understand that his money will be well spent. Although there are lots of different ways to do that, website copywriters have found that three approaches have consistently brought the best results...

1. Sell Benefits, Not Features

Whatever you’re selling no one wants it. They don’t want your products or your services. They want the results that your product or service will bring. That’s what you’re selling.

Most car owners, for example, couldn’t tell you how many cylinders their engine has or how much torque it produces. But they certainly know that it turns heads when they drive down the freeway or that it makes them feel safe on the road. That’s why auto ads focus on the driving experience, not the car’s features.

When you’re thinking about the sales points you want to emphasize, forget the specifications and focus on the effect. It’s what your leads are looking for.

2. Use Bullets

And highlight those effects with bullets. Internet users tend to glance at pages, rather than read them. That means you have just a fraction of a second to get your point across. Place your sales points in bullets and your users will...

  • Understand right away what you can do for them;
  • Be curious enough to read on and learn more;
  • Become loyal customers fast!

Do you see how those points are so much easier to read than long sentences and never-ending paragraphs?

3. Stick To The Point

Finally, keep it short. When you’re putting across a sales message, you don’t want to lose the reader halfway down a long page. You want him to absorb the message and take action right away.

Many Web pages won’t need more than a short paragraph, three or four bullets, and a second short paragraph summing up your point in memorable phrases. Place a link at the end so that users know what to do next, and you should see your conversions rise.

Writing Web copy that sells isn’t brain surgery. It requires skill and practice, but it’s a vital part of a successful website. Make sure that your Web copy gets sales, not ignored.

Dean Shanson is a professional copywriter and the CEO of, a site that specializes in newsletters and effective Web content.