I’m going to claim this title now even though there’s no awards ceremony.
Why am I admitting to this now?
Well, to be honest, my copy sucks, is completely untargetted and I’m not sure that people read this stuff anyway. A few comments here and there but mostly people only come to this site for one thing. And it sure isn’t the copy!
How Do I Know My Copy Sucks?
Well, the (ir)regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve been off for several weeks now. Partly as an experiment and partly due to knowing that my efforts in the Internet Marketing game aren’t getting me very far. In fact, checking regularly on my Google Analytics screen I see that my traffic has INCREASED since I STOPPED writing. Go figure! Maybe if I shut up long enough maybe I could get some really decent traffic to my site .
For a lot of you, this might be a great strategy to implement – I’ve seen some awful copywriting (but I really think this 1 reason is enough to prove that I should hold this title!). I might do an ebook called “Easy Ways to Get More Traffic by STFU!”. Who knows… it might do better than I’m currently doing.
The Other Reason My Copy Sucks (and Wipes)
Regular readers of my site may also have seen Michel Fortin occassional pops by on my little mybloglog widget. I used to get a rush knowing that every once in a while an excellent, top-notch, class A1 copywriter would take the trouble to see what I was up to (you should check out Michel’s site!). But recently, I’ve become really paranoid… I was reading one of Michel’s posts on the Seven Deadly Sins of Website Copy and thinking “Hey… this sounds a lot like MY site“.
- Failure to connect. Check.
- Lacking Compelling Offer (or even know what I’m offering!). Check.
- Lacking a reason why. Definite Check.
- Lack Scarcity. Check.
- Lack Proof. Czech.
- Lack Clear Call to Action. Cheque.
- Lack Good Copy. Check and Mate!
Michel… if you’re over here just to get more ideas on what bad copywriter’s do wrong, then we got to discuss that “consultancy fee” . I could write you a whole load of awful stuff for you to get more ideas to put on your blog if you like! And speel it rong too…
Copywriting Tips From
The Worst Copywriter of 2007
Anyway, I figure there’s a learning lesson here, so here’s some tips of what NOT to do on your website (so you can figure out what you need to do!).
- Tip: Figure out what your site’s about and stick to it.
Example Of How NOT To Do It: I’m still unsure what my site’s about. But I am sure that you guys are confused about my site too! Anyone who can tell me what it’s about wins NO prize (but I might buy you a beer if I ever bump into you!). I’ve got some new ideas about where it’s going and the site’s going to get another overhaul soon – after I finish up on another project (see – staying focused!).
- Tip: Clearly identify your target audience.
Example Of How NOT To Do It: This site is a mish-mash with very few people who read my posts and the majority coming for just 1 thing. Either I focus on the 1 good thing (viable option) and dump the readership or… well, that’s the only option! Maybe there is another way, I just have to find a good reframe to capture the hearts and minds of both. Not easy but we’ll see if I can work myself out of this bad copy pit…
- Tip: Focus on 1 thing ONLY.
Example Of How NOT To Do It: Again, this site is clearly all over the place. What’s the focus? No idea. What’s the audience? No idea. What’s the point? No freakin’ idea. Go to the optician (optometrist, opthamologist a.k.a. eye care professional) get some glasses and get 20/20 on what you want to do!
- Tip: Do NOT Repeat Yourself.
Example Of How NOT To Do It: If you were paying attention, you’d have noticed that I did the same thing in Tip 1 and Tip 3. PAY ATTENTION – I’ll be testing you later. . Seriously though, there is another reason why you wouldn’t want to repeat things verbatim – duplicate content issue for SEO. SE’s doesn’t like stuff that’s copied – if you are going to make the same point again, at least use different words. And if you’re not good like words (like me), then use an online Thesaurus (it’s like a dictionary for similar words). I don’t know why I wrote that and *really* dumbed it down – I’m not assuming my readership is thick as 2 short planks, sawn in half and glue back together but there might be someone who does need to know. (*Additional – see, I go off on tangents… focus, focus, focus – PAY ATTENTION!).
- Tip: Use lists. People Like Lists.
Example Of How NOT To Do It: Regular readers to my site will know that I took the Adsense off my pages. There was an extremely valid reason: Adsense doesn’t work for me. Why? My copy and content usually isn’t specific enough in Keywords because I tell stories. The surprising thing about this is, I can still manage to rank well for a few given terms – however, that isn’t anything to do with my overall copywriting skill, that’s to do with the 5 key areas I optimize my keywords for; the internal link structure methods I use create strong relationships between pages and the topic relevancy of the keywords I use to associate pages. But again, I’m going off tangent and these are ideas for another post.
To quote Blain from the movie Predator (1987, Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dir: John McTiernan): “I ain’t got time to READ!“. (Okay… so that was a misquote but you get the point!). List are more effective because people don’t read – they scan and then read (but only if it’s worthwhile!).
- Tip: Use How To Guides To Attract Visitors but keep it simple, stupid!
Example Of How NOT To Do It: I have guides on my site but not enough. I should do more. That’s what I’d recommend YOU should do. If you notice, my How To guides are technical but it’s a very small niche interested in this stuff and I write these How To’s for 2 main reasons. Firstly, so that I can help people to push the boundaries a little more so that they can create really excellent WordPress sites. My guides could become very technical but I tend to dumb down the How To’s so that 4 year old could understand it (“Hey… run out and get me a 4 year old – I can’t make head or tail of this thing”, to paraphrase Groucho Marx!). I often get newbies actually trying out the guides, probably because they can follow it easily.
The second reason is less obvious. I write dumbed down content in “How-To” format because it helps ME remember how to do stuff (because, yes, I often forget things!). So whenever I need to do something quickly, it’s useful just to go back to a bookmark, scan the list and get a quick refresher on implementing things the right way!
- Tip: Have Good Copy On Your Site
Example Of How NOT To Do It: Read my earlier posts – like the Free Aweber Segmentation Script post which bombed for example. These are examples of how to suck and wipe simultaneously. Do not try and emulate these posts – I am a fully trained Development and Project Managment Professional with an interest in SEO but no qualifications in copywriting or engaging users (unless on a technical level – maybe I’m missing my calling…). I like to write for cathartic reasons rather than for business reasons (which is probably where I’m going wrong!). Emulate my style of writing only if you want to fail. Miserably.
Who knows – maybe next year, YOU could be the holder of this title. Personally, I’m content in knowing that at least I’m excellent at what I do (nice reframe, huh?). You’re going to have to work pretty hard to beat my “Write A Post and LOSE Traffic” technique if you really want to claim this title next year. I might patent the inverse of this method if I can work out why my traffic increases when I *don’t* post!
I’m guessing some of you might think you can beat me and claim this title. I sincerely doubt that. Look, I have stats to back this up and PROVE this, so you’re going to need to work really hard to convince me.
D you think you can take this title away from me? Let me know in the comments below.
And NO, I won’t accept, “English is my second language” as a vaild reason – there’s loads of excellent Internet Marketers who are foreign and can’t speak English properly (sheesh, some of them spell “colour” without the “U” for crying out loud, and “optimise” with a “Z” – pronounced “zed” btw ); or who have typo’s, are dyslexic and can’t even string a sentance together (okay… maybe I’m exaggerating here) but who do just fine in this game. So, I’m going to rule those out…
C’mon then, what are you waiting for? Just try and out-do my crappy copy… but only if you really think you’ve got what it takes to suck at copywriting! Alternatively, if you have too much pride, let me know who YOU think sucks (I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t make it on this list!).
PS: Y’know… I might even run a poll once we get some really good entries in so you can vote. But again, I’m digressing… Focus, focus, focus!