Web Writing

A Simple Description of the Difference between Writing Copy for The Web versus 

Copy Writing  in General 


Most of the underlying principles of clearly communicating a message through writing remain the same. It’s the audience that is different.

The web is a consumer oriented medium and marketplace. The best sites are focused on your visitors questions and their needs. 

People who go online are goal-oriented. Everyone who uses a search engine has something specific in mind. And the measure of control the reader has online is something we’re just not used to in offline media.

The research process can be very different when I’m writing a piece that will sell exclusively online.

When I write for your web page, I have very little time to catch your readers attention. Since most of your visitors are task oriented, they want quick answers. If they don’t get them, they’re gone.

It’s important to keep the page simple and easy to read and understand so the visitor will know that we’re writing with him or her in mind and we’re not just writing a general description of a problem or product or service.

It’s also critical that I write your headlines, sub head lines and the text with your visitors specific needs in mind.

In the print world, my research depends on the brief that is provided to me by my client or via personal interviews with company personnel, the CEO and others whose insights and opinions I deem valuable.

Online, I can get much more specific and step outside whatever bias the corporate culture might unknowingly harbor.


For example, let’s say our potential customer goes online to find out the cost of flights to Cleveland. As soon as that thought enters their mind, they’re in control of the situation.

It’s utterly different from print because they go to the web with an intention. They’re going there to find out about travel costs to Cleveland. 

And they will write into the Google or Yahoo or MSN search field “flights to Cleveland” or “cheap flights to Cleveland.” That’s their goal. 


I need to know what kind of questions the visitor is bringing to the site. For this reason it’s important to do thorough and comprehensive keyword research to make sure they immediately see what they’re looking for.

The keywords are important because I want to know what language our visitors use to get to the sales page. Then I’ll go to Amazon.com or  Shopping.com or Bizrate.com or to any site where I can read what customers are saying about whatever my client is selling.

In doing keyword research, I research my clients competitors sites, linked sites and any place else that can help add value to the clients page, over and above their competition.

What they’ll see on those sites is in real time online, not the result of third-party research. What they’ll read there is what people like and dislike about the subject or product.

Different companies tend to have their own jargon—the kind of words, phrases, and language they use when talking about their products or services. Very often, that isn’t the language their customers use.

When I research the audience online, I can uncover their language by reading their writing, their blogs, and their comments on comparison-shopping sites.

That way I can learn a lot about my readers. I can discern what is most important to them, what they’re really looking for, what they dislike, their other preferences. 

Bottom line, while I obviously pay attention to what my client wants in person or via a briefing document, it’s equally and often more important what people are actually saying about my clients product or service.

To Your Success,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *