CLIP & SAVE GUIDE: Top copywriting tips when you can't afford to hire a pro

By Debbie Weil
Publisher & Editor, WordBiz Report

Take me to more reports under $10

I'm always taken aback when people label me a copywriter. Technically, I'm not. I write about effective copywriting for the Web and email - e.g., copy that prompts readers to become customers. But I'm not formally trained as a direct response copywriter.

And like many of you, I can't afford to hire a pricey professional copywriter when it comes to crafting persuasive copy for my site. I write by trial and error. And rewrite a lot, especially on the product pages in the WordBiz store.

Writing "sales copy" is a particular challenge for me. Perhaps because I am formally schooled as a journalist, both reporter and editor. I'm wary of hype.

Professional copywriter David Garfinkel told me: "The more education you have, the less good a copywriter you will be. Copywriting is really the everyday spoken language in written form."

Gulp... OK, so I have too many degrees. I need help.

I decided to toss out the following question to a bunch of my favorite copywriters:

If you don't have the budget to hire a professional copywriter, what are the top three tips you'd offer a non-writer who's charged with developing results-oriented copy for a Web site?

The answers I got are so good I've compiled them into an e-book report. Download instantly as a PDF.


Not surprisingly, a number of the same points were emphasized by the following 14 experts (including Donna Baier Stein, Bob Bly, Don Hauptman, David Garfinkel and Nick Usborne).

The top 10 keys to successful online "sales" copy are:

1. Grab attention with a great headline

2. Write from your customer's point of view

3. Write about benefits, not features.

4. Read your copy out loud.

5. Get a colleague or customer to review your copy.

6. Write as if you're speaking to one person.

7. Be specific.

8. Be simple.

9. Include an offer (or link) "above the fold."

10. Include testimonials.

Find out more...

About Debbie Weil

Debbie is publisher of award-winning WordBiz Report. She's also a popular and widely-read columnist who launched's B2B Email Marketing and E-newsletter Strategies columns. As a former newspaper reporter and editor with an MBA and corporate marketing experience, she brings the discipline of a reporter's eye and an editor's pen to marketing with e-newsletters, Web site content and Weblogs.

Read her blogs at and Subscribe free to WordBiz Report at Purchase e-books about marketing effectively with e-newsletters and blogs at

She has a B.A. in English from Harvard, a Masters in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from Georgetown University. She lives and works in Washington D.C.


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