September 28, 2023

Web Copy – Long vs Short

Web CopyLong Copy versus Short Copy

Soooo Controversial

This is a classic debate and I will answer it with the classic answer of a fellow website developer – it depends.

The real way to determine this is to create two versions – one long and one short and then perform an A/B Test. Note that many higher priced products and services may require more detail. Some target market segments may require more rather then less information before making a decision to purchase. A target market segment may be of a nature to require more research and in this case perhaps a landing page is not the best choice to satisfy this need. Anyway a short copy page will not suffice.

Therefore, the debate on long versus short copy will continue to rage. Do not worry about this too much but continue to think about it for your products and target audience. The more you know about the nature of your audience the better off you will be. You need to think like your audience. You may think that they will be bored with your long copy but if your write long copy and make it entertaining, informative and engaging then it will not bore your audience. You may think that you need to keep it short and sweet but if your audience desires more that they will not be satisfied at your attempt to keep it short.

Ask this important question – what is the goal of the page? Then work to achieve that goal. If it is lead capture then provide enough incentive on the page with your copy (long or short) for someone to complete your download file form or subscription form. You may need to tell a story (short or long) or perhaps you need to offer a gift in exchange for their name and e-mail address.

Do the right thing for your target audience and perhaps do an A/B test (or two) and you will create effective web copy whether it is long or short.

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A/B Testing – What to Test

A/B Testing - Web DesignA/B Testing

What to A/B Test?

Your choice of what to test in an A/B Test will be dependant on your objectives.

Define your objectives and then define factors that have impact on achieving them.

For example, if your goal is to increase the number of sign-ups, then you might test the following: 

  • Length of the sign-up form
  • Types of fields in the form
  • Display of (or not) your privacy policy
  • Displaying (or not) “social proof
  • Bullet list of reasons to sign up versus paragraph wording
  • Image and what image

The goal of A/B Testing in this case is to figure out what enhances visitors to this page to sign up. Is the form’s length intimidating? Are visitors concerned about privacy? Or does the website page do a bad job of convincing visitors to sign up? Does one image help and another hurt? All of these questions can be answered by testing these elements of the webpage design. Even though every A/B test is unique, certain elements of the web page design are usually tested:

  • The call to action’s (i.e. the button’s) wording, size, color and placement
  • Headline or product description
  • Form’s length and types of fields
  • Layout and style of web page
  • Product pricing and promotional offers
  • Images on landing and product pages A
  • Amount of text on the page (short vs. long)

If you have a worthy product or service then it makes a great deal of sense to test which version of your website page delivers the information and offer for this product or service the best. This is the essence of A/B Testing.

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Market Segmentation – Know Your Market

Market SegmentationKnow Your Market

Everything that you do with your website, your web copy, your offer and call to action will work better if you construct a message and an offer to your specific markets. To define your markets properly is one of the most fundamental concepts in marketing and your choice of which approach to use needs to be considered in terms of the specific market segment you want to reach. This is fundamental for your business and needs to be reflected in your website.

Market segmentation is about understanding the needs of your customers and how they decide between one offer and another. This insight is used to form groups of customers who share the same or very similar value criteria. A company needs to determine which groups of customers it is best suited to serve and which product and service offers will both meet the needs of its selected segments and also outperform the offers of the competition.

The primary objective of market segmentation needs to be focused on how to win and retain the customers you want to serve.

As a business you need create a great match between benefits sought by customers and those offered by your business. You need to obtain a marketplace advantage within the market segment. To create differentiation consider the appropriate mix of product features, price, promotion and ease of use to do business with you. For the customer, this enables them to understand benefits, cost (or value), perceived value to doing business with you and convenience; in other words, a customer value proposition.

A customer’s view of market segmentation simply means — meet my needs!

When choosing between competing products and services, customers select the proposition that meets their needs better than any other. To win a customer and market share a business must ensure that their offer meet these needs better than any other at a price they perceive as providing superior value for money (which does not necessarily mean it has to be the cheapest).

Know your markets . . . know your customers . . . this will provide you with invaluable insights into how to win a customer’s business and how to reach them. This is crucial. By really understanding your customer’s situation your will gain insights into their motivations. You will know what language to use, what offer to make and will close more business and have more fun doing it.


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A/B Testing – and Your High School Science Class

A/B Testing - Web DesignA/B Testing

and Your High School Science Class

At its core, A/B Testing is exactly what it sounds like – it is an experiment. You have two versions of an item (A and B) and a metric that you define that defines success of the experiment. To determine which version is better, you subject both versions to experimentation simultaneously. You measure which version was more successful versus your success metric and select the better version for real-world use. You can do this with pages on your website. You can even push this concept further and apply it to an entire contact path.

This is similar to the experiments you did in your high school science classes. You may remember the experiments in which you tested various substances to see which supports plant growth and which suppresses it. At different intervals, you measured the growth of plants as they were subjected to different conditions. You measured and tallied the height of the different plants which were subjected to the variations in conditions. Your success metric was height but it could have been another metric (color, number of leaves, seed production, etc.). You defined a metric and then measured against it. The results told you which conditions were optimal for performance versus your success metric.

In the case of a website page, you define a goal metric (a sale, a booking, a new subscriber . . .) and then measure how well the A version of the page performs versus the B version. You let the data define the best performance.

Consider how A/B Testing can help the performance of your website pages.

A/B Testing – What to Test

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SEO – Deep Linking

SEO - Deep LinkingSEO –Link Building

Three Reasons Why You Need Deep Links

One reason you should deep link is that it enhances the users experience. Sending a user to a deep page will probably better relate to his or her goals than having an inbound links go only to your home page.


Also, remember that it is not possible for your home page to rank for every single keyword you want to be 0ptimized for.

Let’s look at three great reasons to acquire deep links – authority, relevancy and visibility. How is deep linking related to these important marketing factors?

SEO Authority

Deep linking raises the authority of your entire site. If all you did was optimize and send traffic to your home page then you might have a home page with a high authority rank but the other pages on your site would have little or no authority. When search engines looked at your site then those low-authority pages lower the authority of your home page. Deep linking can help you increase your entire site’s authority.

SEO Relevancy

Because you can’t optimize your home page for every single important keyword you must use internal pages. When the pages you publish contain those keywords in the meta data (URL, title tag, image attribute, etc.) and the body copy, then when search engines crawl you’re your will gain higher marks and therefore position for that keyword phrase. Because the keyword is relevant to the page and you have links made with keyword-rich anchor text from another page, the search engines consider it an authority page and rank it higher.

SEO Visibility

Large sites suffer from too many pages not getting indexed because of their sheer size. This is where good SEO skills such as deep linking come into play. These deep links which can come from your own site as well as other sites help search engines follow the path through your site to your “deep” pages. It makes these pages more visible. Visibility is a vital factor when it comes to search engine marketing.

Watch for future posts on how to acquire deep links.

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Why Hire a SEO Professional

SEO ProfessionalWhy Hire a SEO Company?

There are any number of well-founded reasons for hiring a professional SEO service.

It’s well-known that the lion share of website traffic originates with a search engine query. Also, it is well known that most people seldom venture past the first or second page of the search results.

The difference in traffic between being on the 1st page of the results and on the 3rd page is dramatic and may even be the difference between being in business or being out of business if your business depends upon web traffic. The importance of search engine position becomes immediately self-evident. For industries where a single new customer can represent thousands in revenue, competition for search position online can be significant.

Most business owners have neither the luxury of time nor the inclination to learn, master and apply SEO themselves. With the huge potential for search engine ranking to attract customers, this is a situation where businesses will want to hire an SEO professional rather than rely upon an amateur or gain (or lose) position only by chance.

An SEO professional will have a well-defined strategy. He or she will also have the requisite experience to understand the importance of keyword research.  A SEO professional knows how to weave topic sensitive keywords into webpage copy. Moreover, it is vital to know how to add the keyword phrases into the HTML of the web page. The web copy and the HTML must support each other to emphasize its subject. A SEO professional will also have the attitude to monitor position changes and traffic and tweak the website for improvement.

Top search position professionals will also have tools available to them to understand competition and linking networks to better understand what must be done with linking to reach a high search position.

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Lead Capture

Lead CaptureLead Capture & E-Mail & Testing

Make OPT-IN to Your Subscriber List a Great Option

The enduring value of opt-in email lists to eCommerce efforts is one of the longest Running success stories in digital marketing. Email is still going strong as a channel for delivering traffic and sales, even as other channels continue to emerge, such as social media, SMS, and mobile apps.

The implication is clear: You should acquire a name and an email addresses whenever you can.

Presenting an email signup box for visitors who are not yet on your list is a best practice that can pay dividends for years. Also, email lists are one of the assets by which companies are valued these days.

There are numerous ways of presenting an email signup box that are both effective and inoffensive. You can use some form of light box and you might include some sort of incentive (like a discount coupon or one-time reduced shipping charge).

Deciding on the best approach for a specific website calls for testing. Whenever you test options make sure that your decision metrics include other important conversion events such as product purchase. A well planned series of A/B tests can help you quickly achieve the right balance.

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SEO & Market Segments

SEO Market SegmentsSEO Market Segments

How well do you know and your best clients and potential client market segments? 

Many targeting and personalization best practices are based on three simple truths:


  • Different visitors respond to your website in different ways.
  • Visitors with shared characteristics constitute segments.
  • Matching content and features to segments pays dividends.

You need to define and then understand the differences in your websites visitors. If you are a B&B and near an international border does your website have a way to appeal to people from both countries? If you are a company based in the United States your product could appeal to visitors from the UK and you can see that people from the UK visit your site then it is wise to match your web copy to this market segment.

Consider what happens when you open an online store on the World Wide Web. Even if your marketing focus is domestic potential customers from around the world will eventually visit your site and, depending upon what your site is selling, they may want to buy  from you. This is an international segment and it may be more lucrative than you think.

To find out how lucrative, first check your site metrics to see how much international traffic you have and how it is converting. If this segment is converting below average, consider targeting some of your site content to the top 1 or 2 countries in the international segment.

For example, let visitors from the UK know that your business is happy to sell and ship to the UK. It could be a simple as that to boost conversion.

International traffic is but one example of visitor segmentation. Do you know your markets? Have you considered how to speak to your segmented markets and how adding certain customizations could help key segments convert? Give this some serious thought and increase your conversion rate.

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Fishy Links – How Do We Tell if a Link is Fishy?

SEO and Fishy LinksWhat is a Fishy Link?

Penguin is a new version of the Google algorithm. It is intended to sniff out and then trash “fishy” links. This begs an important question. How does Google define a fishy link? How will Penguin catch these smelly fishy links?

I want to help you to understand what is the thinking behind a fishy link.

Here are some concepts:

  • If you have too many unnatural or spammy inbound links pointing only to your home page then this is cause for concern. Have the links point to multiple relevant pages as much as possible.
  • If all of your links a perfectly worded exact match text links then this may not look natural. Be careful overdoing it with exact keyword phrase links all going to the same page. Gain some non-keyword phrase in-coming links.
    If your have a large portion of your links coming from the comment sections of blogs or forums. Get links from a variety of sources.
  • If you have a large number of links from the same IP address with the same keyword phrase. Get as many links as possible from as many relevant sources as possible.
  • If a large percentage of your links come from low quality sites. Get as many high-quality sites to link to you as you can.
  • If a large portion of your links are from low quality directories. Again, establish variety in your link network.
  • If you have links from link farms and get caught then this is trouble. Just don’t do it.
  • If you have too many unnatural footer links then this could be considered fishy. Avoid SEO companies that employ this kind of link building.

Beyond this Penguin wants to see links built up over time. If it detects a large number over a fairly short time frame then it may pay closer attention and if you violate a few of the above items then with the extra scrutiny your search position may not improve.

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Does Google’s Link Operator Tell You Anything Meaningful?

Google and LinkingDoes the Google’s Link Operator Tell You Anything Meaningful?

The simple answer a NO! Typing into Google’s search box often won’t even show you any links. It certainly will not show you all your links. When it does show you some, they’re usually not the best ones.

Don’t bother to use this command because it is mis-leading at the very best. While there are some helpful tools that can find some backlinks, there is no foolproof method for finding out about all the links that point to your site or to your competitors’ sites. The good news is, just because you can’t find them all doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Keep making a great site with great content that delights your visitors and also continue to create fresh web content. Then work to get the word out in as many ways as you can.

Keep building your link profile and link network. Do not worry too much if you cannot generate an accurate list of all your links. As you create great web content and gain in-coming links you will see your site rise in search and you will see your traffic grow and this will be proof enough.

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