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How to write compelling product description copy for your e-store - Watch your word count

Written by Marco Conti Tuesday, 09 March 2010 13:47

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How to write compelling product description copy for your e-store
The SEO Factor
Don't use the manufacturer description
make my copy better
Watch your word count
Read, Edit, Spell
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Watch your word count: you are writing for 5 year olds

I don't mean to offend your customers, but all web users, me and you included, have the attention span of 5 year olds on a sugar high. Just Google "Web user attention span". That means that while you want to give your customers plenty of valuable information, you can't overload them with useless information and you cannot write "War and Peace" either. People just won't read it.
Be descriptive but don't repeat yourself and make every word count.

Of course, that's easier said than done. I realize that. But try and try again until you get it right. You'll be surprised how much unnecessary fluff we introduce in our writing (this article included, I am sure).

Go easy with the formatting toolbar

Please resist the temptation to draw attention to certain phrases or words by using your text editor's formatting tools. It's your writing that has to sell your product. Not the color or the size of the text.

I know it's very tempting to overcome your writing shortcomings by coloring or changing the size of your text. Don't do it.


Especially, don't overload the page with sensational statements in bold, red 18pt font. One short sentence like that may be an attention grabber, two are annoying, more are both annoying and inconsequential. In fact, too much emphasis may even end up emphasizing the plain text copy and the page will look unprofessional.

We have all seen those sites were every page is a mess of red, blue and green text  with different sizes , different font types and backgrounds to match. I am sure their owners started out innocent enough but eventually their eagerness had the better of them and tried to emphasize each subsequent sentence more than the previous one with pitiful results.

If you need emphasis or need to draw attention to words or phrases (short phrases) use bold or Italic (the latter very sparingly as it's hard to read). Do not color the text if you can help it unless it is part of your site's style guide. Bold text has the advantage to trigger Google's ranking machine. Google considers bold text more relevant than the surrounding text and it will focus on those words. Using bold for some of your keywords is a good strategy but don't go overboard. Like with any kind of emphasis (and many other things in life) it's a matter of balance.

Let you CSS handle much of the special formatting you want to use on your pages and leave the text editor alone. Try to avoid centering text and titles (again, unless they are part of your site style) never use Underline (it looks like a link) and use bullet points liberally if necessary. They are a very good way to communicate lists of items, but don't rely on them exclusively. You are also trying to tell a story, not a PowerPoint presentation.

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