Look at our new site

January 27, 2009

The readability blog has now got it’s very own URL – www.webcopythatpeopleread.com. Join our list and get regular updates on information that helps people to get your message.


The power of headlines

December 29, 2008

I’ve been reading about headlines and just how important they are.

It’s the point at which your reader decides whether it’s worth reading any further and if you’ve got the information, solution or products that they are hoping for.

There are some words to avoid and some that add power, the secret is knowing how to use them!

According to Lenny Eng there are 28 words that add power to headlines:

You                Yours                 Now                    Who

Secrets          How                    Fast                    Money

Save               Why                    People               Instantly

Safety            Announcing    Guarantee        New

Easy                Results              Free                    Sale

At Last           Love                   Proven              Health

Discovery    Want                   Yes                      Finally

And the words that turn people off:

I          me          my           we           us               our             ours

product names

You don’t have to use all of those 28 words – and, in fact, some of them will be inappropriate to the headline you are trying to create.  If you can get ‘you’ or ‘your’ into the headline that would be a great start!

More about headlines in the next post.

Capital letters

December 6, 2008

I learned from some of the best people in the advertising business how capital letters work. The secret is that most of the time they actually STOP people reading!

Take a headline – if every word starts with a capital, the eye stops at each word – this means that they read one word at a time instead of the sense of the whole sentence.

In some marketing material this can work – if you know how to construct a sentence using key words that connect individually with the reader – like ‘Free’ ‘New’ ‘Save’ ‘Exciting’ – just read the guru, Ted Nicholas, on what words attract people. However, when you’re writing a headline on a website to engage the reader, this is not the best way to go about it.

Stick to using capital letters for proper nouns (names), otherwise lower case letters will do the job!

What makes a home page sticky!

October 23, 2008

I’ve been a bit lax in keeping my blog entries up to date – and it has a lot to do with my last post!  Hannah’s book launch was so successful I’ve had a deluge of people asking for their home pages to be reviewed.  I must have done about 80 over the past month or so!

It has become very clear that there are two things that people need to know to ensure people get their message:

  1. Make sure the message is powerful and clear
  2. Make sure it’s where people are looking

I’ve seen lots of pretty websites that don’t do either of those things – and, as a result, I’ve written a report about what makes a home page sticky.  It’s all about where people expect certain things to be to ensure they get what they are expecting – and do what you want them to do.

If you’d like a copy of this report please drop an email to info@insidenews.co.uk – with Sticky Home Page Report in the subject line.

Home page layout

October 2, 2008

I’ve been reviewing home pages for the last couple of weeks and after looking at around 70 different websites I feel as though I can talk about what works and what doesn’t with a degree of authority!

Let’s look at a few basics that make a home page work effectively:

  1. Your brand needs to be consistent; not only on every page, but also should be recogisable as what is on your business card, letterhead and any other material you have.
  2. Your menu should either be horizontal, running across the page under the masthead (your identity and brand), or vertically on the left.  Menus on the right don’t work – it isn’t where people naturally look for them.  Horizontal menus must fit comfortably across the page on a single line.  If you have too many choices to do that, don’t be tempted into a second line of choices.  And it should be one menu, not one here, one there and one somewhere else!
  3. Your headline should occupy your prime real estate – that’s about one third of the way down the actual screen – and should start about 2inches (5 cm) in from the left hand edge.  People feel uncomfortable trying to start reading from right up against the left side of the screen.
  4. If you’re asking people to sign up for anything give them a good reason to do so – a free report, and tell them what it is e.g.  ‘Get your free report Six secrets to a successful strategy’ etc.  Don’t ask for any more information than their name and email.  The ideal place for a sign up box is on the right hand side, below the masthead (and menu, if it’s across the page) – and it should be part of the template so it appears on every page.
  5. Copy should be left aligned, in a clean sans serif font (Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet) and not something busy like Times, Palatino or Garamond.  Don’t justify paragraphs so all the lines are the same length – it’s hard to read – as is centred text.
  6. Copy should not run to more than two screens and should include a call to action in the final paragraph that appears as a hyperlink (not click here, but explore your options)

If you follow these pointers your website will be clean and attractive to the eye – and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your reader.

Visit http://www.insidenews.co.uk to find out more about our services.

Something unusual – read this!

September 6, 2008

I don’t make a habit of promoting products, but being, indirectly, a marketing person, I think anything that helps people to market their businesses effectively is a good thing!

Hannah McNamara, author of ‘Niche Marketing for Coaches’ is making an irresistible offer – because for this week only you can buy a copy of Niche Marketing for Coaches and receive an amazing set of bonuses worth nearly £400.

The book is a step-by-step process that will build a thriving coaching practice through the power of niche marketing.  Even if you are not a coach you’ll learn plenty about marketing that you can apply in your own business.

The bonuses?  Read on – and you’ll find that one will give you a free review for your website home page offered by us!

Bonus #1: CD worth £20 – ‘How to Find Your Niche’
Hannah McNamara, author of ‘Niche Marketing for Coaches’ is interviewed by Lola Fayemi. Listen as Lola picks Hannah’s brain to find out just how to go about selecting a coaching niche. Lola is a coach in her first year of business, so she asks all the questions that come up for both new and established coaches.

Bonus #2: Homepage review worth £125 – ‘The Goldfish Review’
Would you like a stickier website? Let readability expert
Lesley Morrissey review your homepage and receive a free report suggesting changes to make your website more successful.

Bonus #3: Free directory listing worth £120 per year
A marketing space in the new and exclusive Wellbeing directory. (Launching
October 1st 2008).

Bonus #4: Audio recording worth over £50 – ‘The Insider’s Guide to Online Press Releases’
Krishna De of Biz Growth News hosts this masterclass on how to attract your ideal clients and raise your media profile using no-cost online PR strategies.

Bonus #5: Free bulletin worth £29.99 – ‘How To Set Up Your First Life Coaching Website and Get Clients From It’
ICF accredited life coach, Mary McNeil offers invaluable information on how to get clients from your website.

Bonus #6: Ebook worth £20 – ‘The Beginner’s Guide to TV Interviews’
Joanne Mallon is the Media Coach, this ebook will show you how to be seen on TV as the expert in your field.

Bonus #7: Ebook worth £20 – ‘A Business To Love’
Business coach, Judith Morgan shares her A-Z of business success. Learn from the mistakes of a successful businesswoman.

Bonus #8: Free value assessment – ‘Are you selling yourself short?’
Nicole Cohen of the Marketing Gym offers a value assessment tool so you can find out what you are really worth to your clients.

Bonus #9: Discounts on books from the publisher of ‘Niche Marketing for Coaches’, Thorogood and public and distance learning courses from Falconbury

Bonus #10: Ebook worth £9.95 – ‘Getting Your Message Across’
Also known as the Book Midwife, writing and publishing expert Mindy Klein-Gibbins offers this ebook for budding authors out there.

Bonus #11: Ebook worth £15 – ‘8 Steps To A Profitable Ebook’
Sandra DeFreitas, “Tech Coach for Coaches” takes you through an 8 step plan to writing a profitable ebook.

Bonus #12: Audio recording – ‘Building Direct Response Websites’

Alun Richards of Branding You offers a downloadable mp3, and workbook on the 5 critical mistakes made by coaches with their websites.

Bonus #13: 60 days free membership of www.marketinghelpforcoaches.com

A 60 day trial of the Marketing Help for Coaches community including access to articles, downloads, interviews, forums and more….

Order ‘Niche Marketing for Coaches’ before this offer expires on 14th September 2008 – so do it NOW: http://www.marketinghelpforcoaches.com/products/item1.cfm/goldfish

Search engine optimisation

September 5, 2008

Most of us have heard of the magic mountain – the search engine list – and we all want to be number one, or at least in the top ten.  In fact, being number 10 is actually better than being number 6 or 7 – people remember the first and last better than those in the middle!

Anyway – I digress – how do you get up that list?  You could engage one of the SEO experts, and, if you’re serious, that’s a great way to go.  However, you need to know what people search for when looking for what your business sells and use those words and the problems that people associate with them in your copy.

For instance, if you sell garden furniture why do people buy it?  It’s not so they have chairs in the garden – they can get them anywhere.  It might be to create an image, to make their garden attractive so that when their friends come round they see elegant surroundings and an implied lifestyle.  So that’s what your copy needs to tell them they’ll get.

If you sell personal coaching there are thousands of coaches out there – what makes you different?  What do you offer that others don’t?  Why have previous clients been happy to work with you?  Use all that in your copy.

If your search engine expert says that you need ‘these three words or phrases’ in your copy – and may also give you a list of other phrases to try to include – remember that getting people to the website is only half the equation.  The copy must keep them there – or the money you spend with SEO and pay per click will be wasted.

Write what your reader wants to know – and do your best to include the key words, but not at the expense of engaging the reader.