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If you’re trying to keep your business costs down, you might be doing your marketing in-house. This can be a whole lot of fun, but it can also be a slow learning experience. Save time and get better results with these simple tips to craft compelling online copy. (Think websites, blog posts, social media posts and Google page descriptions.) You’ll get more clicks and reads, and therefore more eyeballs on your brand.

Tip #1

Did you know that 80% of readers never make it past the headline? So it pays to spend time crafting killer headlines.

One old but reliable trick is to use a number in your headline. (Like we did here.) People tend to click on these more. (Like you did!) Interestingly, women are slightly more susceptible to this trick, and odd numbers perform better than even ones.

According to Social Media Examiner, the magic number 7 performs especially well. But, please don’t feel you have to force this. A bonus tip is to write for your reader and not for Google. (Google is getting better at discerning what readers like and rewarding this more in any case.)

A bonus tip is to write for your reader and not for Google.

Tip #2

Another trick is to borrow from the best. Certain phrases outperform others, so why not use them? Buzzsumo shared this graph showing which starting phrases did especially well on Facebook. (Note the many ‘X’s for numbered headlines!)

Tip #3

Online, people’s attention spans are fleeting and FOMO pushes us to browse quickly so we can find our next hit. This means it is critical that you share your most valuable information first. This keeps people reading for more. If you bury the gems further down, they might never find them. It’s a lost opportunity.

Tip #4

Speak directly to your reader. Say “you” and “your’, so that they feel personally involved in what you have to say.

Tip #5

Always include a Call to Action (CTA), so that readers know what to do next. Some CTAs are boring – like ‘click here’ or ‘continue’. You can make yours more exciting by highlighting how great the results of the action will be. For example: Get your free tips for a happier life here. (Okay, that was heavy handed, but you get the point!)

Tip #6

Use the free tools at your disposal. If you’re struggling to write the perfect headline to lure in readers, try a free headline analyzer tool. The Advance Marketing Institute has this one, and Coschedule this one. But there are others out there too, so find the one you like.

Another great online tool to help you clean up your copy is the Hemmingway App. When you paste your copy in, it gives you instant feedback. This includes a readability score (readers like easy reads), while highlighting adverbs (too many make your copy cumbersome) and the passive voice (the active voice is far more powerful). It also shows you which sentences are hard to read. As you edit on the platform, you receive instant feedback.

Sometimes it makes sense to ignore its suggestions, but often they will make your copy cleaner, clearer and a better read. Plus, the more you use it, the more you’ll find your copywriting improves.

Tip #7

Despite these great ways to “hack” clickable copy, remember that good writing takes time and practice. Don’t think your first draft is your best one. Work at it. Take a break and come back to it. And then when it starts to look good, try and make it better. Often, it will be.

Remember that good writing takes time and practice.

On that note, don’t forget to track how well your copy performs. The beauty of online is that clicks, reach, time spent on a website page are all measurable. This can give you great insights into your audience and what they respond to. Which you can then use to improve your copy even more.