Why Your Message Needs to be Simple and Clear

Text from my newsletter of 4th April.

If you prefer to listen:

How many times do you arrive on a website but can’t find what you expected to see?

Growth in the use of mobiles online has forced design trends to become simpler and clearer, but I still find websites where I have to search for what they promoted.

That’s a complete waste of my time and the website owner’s money.

If I can’t find what I expected to find, quickly and easily, I leave, and the website owner has lost a sale.

But simplicity and clarity isn’t restricted to page layouts. It extends to your writing.

As the Bee Gees sang:

It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away

Writing good website copy is hard. You need to be as short and clear as possible, so every word you write must count.

That takes time and effort.

As Mark Twain said:

I apologize for such a long letter – I didn’t have time to write a short one.

A few weeks ago, I set out the process I use for developing each edition of this newsletter. It takes place over 8 days, and I go through 3 separate sessions of editing, all of them designed to make it more succinct.

The single most helpful technique I use in that editing process is to read what I’ve written out loud.

If it doesn’t sound natural and read easily, I hack and tweak until it does.

But there’s more: when I’m in the process of writing something, I know what I’m trying to say so, when I read it back, I understand what I’m getting at.

But someone who’s reading it for the first time doesn’t know what I was trying to say, and to them it may not make sense.

The reason I like editing stuff a day or two after I’ve written it, is because I’m coming at it with a fresh mind – the same as someone who’s reading it for the first time.

That always shows me sections that I need to clarify.

When someone visits your website the only tool you have with which to convert them is your words – written or spoken. Make them count.

The first link this week takes copywriting further, with 9 examples of common copywriting mistakes and what to write instead.

This week’s links

In addition to fixing copywriting mistakes, I’ve also covered how to make your content stand above the noise, how to grow a newsletter, and a 9-point product page checklist.

9 copywriting mistakes and how to fix them

Neville Medhora lists 9 common copywriting mistakes and shows how to fix them.

We only have words to persuade our visitors, and following these recommendations will make your words more effective:

9 copywriting mistakes and how to fix them

How to stop burying your content

More content is being produced now than ever before, so how can you get yours to stand out?

Robert Rose gives 3 ways to be different, rather than better. Being different will help to make your content stand out from the noise:

How to stop burying your content

How to grow an email newsletter

I’ve said it before: building an email list is just about the only way you can declare independence from the algorithms of the search engines and social media sites.

Build a list of subscribers that get you, and they will buy from you over and over again.

Jay Clouse takes you through the steps:

How to grow an email newsletter

The perfect product page checklist

A 9-point checklist for the perfect product page, or any page that’s selling something, including membership or newsletter sign-ups:

Product page checklist

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Just so you know: this email may contain affiliate links. If you click one of them, and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission as a ‘thank you’ from the product or service provider. I only link to products or services that I use, or have used, and am proud to be associated with. There is no additional cost to you.

Cool (and smart) people and businesses to follow

Smart, current and insightful tips from:

Timothy Carter

Copywriting.com

Useful resources

1-click WordPress backups and migrations

Free to use stock images

Fun flashback

I quoted a line from Words earlier, by the Bee Gees, so here they are performing it live in Melbourne in 1989:

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Cheers,

Martin Malden

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