By Christine Laubenstein
January 19, 2010
Posted In: Copywriting
One of the best ways to learn how to write engaging and SEO-friendly website copy—and keep up with industry changes—is to read what the experts have to say. Plenty of blogs focus on the topic of online copywriting, but many of those blogs are not updated on a weekly or even monthly basis. Also, many of those blogs are little more than a promotional tool for a company’s product or author’s book.
We've saved you time by creating a list of the best copywriting blogs that are out there.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Copyblogger has a large following, with some posts getting over 1,000 tweets and 250 comments. New media writer/producer Brian Clark started the blog four years ago. It includes posts by him and other copywriting professionals. One of the first things that jumps out about this blog is the breadth of topics it addresses. One recent post discusses how “heroic language,” like the words “battle,” “dragon” and “enemy,” can liven up a relatively uninteresting topic. Another recent post explores the balance needed between creative writing and SEO writing, while a third argues that certain types of reader feedback are more valuable than others.
Roberta Rosenberg, a direct marketing specialist, shares lots of links to online copywriting-related resources on her blog. During a typical week her tweets reference at least 20 articles about copywriting, online marketing and social media. One of her latest tweets, for example, links to an article about how to optimize a mobile AdWords campaign. Rosenberg also shares her own thoughts. A recent post advises companies to put ads on an online test page before running them. Someone who’s never seen the ad before should check it out, to ensure no copywriting blunders have been made.
3. Rebecca Haden’s blog
Professional writer Rebecca Haden helps clients improve the quality and profitability of their website content. Her site is extremely well-organized and easy to read. It regularly includes real-life examples, with screenshots, to express key concepts. Earlier this month, for example, Haden wrote about types of website copy that aren’t read by search engines. She posted screenshots of a hospital’s homepage, and explained how a majority of the text is either part of a graphic image or in a frameset. These techniques hinder the site’s SEO effectiveness. Other recent posts include advice about decreasing bounce rates, efficient link building and regular blogging.
Twenty-year marketing veteran Heather Lloyd-Martin specializes in training corporate in-house SEO copywriters. Her blog’s conversational style and focus on practical advice makes it a worthwhile resource. One of her latest post explores the topic of “copywriter’s burnout.” In today’s world, she writes, copywriters must constantly update their blog, tweet, write articles, comment on other people’s blogs, write new website copy and edit their website. It can be a lot of work, she says. She provides several tips on how to handle the burnout, including a suggestion for copywriters to write something just for fun. Another post discusses her new SEO copywriting certificate program.
Brad Shorr is an SEO copywriting consultant. His Word Sell, Inc. blog includes tips for finding the right balance of promotional material and objective information on your blog, advice on title tags, and guest posts from successful social media marketers. A recent guest post by Kate Elzer-Peters of The Queensboro Shirt Company in Wilmington, N.C., makes for an interesting read. She explains how her company’s website has received tens of thousands of views over the last year and a half. One big reason is the blog has a “human presence.” Bloggers are encouraged to express a point of view and write with personality, she writes.
Dianna Huff, a business-to-business marketing communications and copywriting consultant, writes about different types of content that can boost a website’s popularity. Free white pages and e-books, for example, are a good way to get leads. Each one should have a dedicated landing page, a simple PDF link, and a cover page, she recommends. In a recent post, Huff advises companies to include at least three client case studies on their websites as well as a monthly newsletter. Her posts also frequently explore different facets of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
This blog is maintained by Interact Media, a content marketing firm that provides copywriting services. Its link-free and simple design makes it easy to read. Most posts focus on writing SEO copy. One recent post discusses Interact Media’s belief that Google-directed SEO efforts are still significantly more important than SEO efforts aimed at Bing and Yahoo. Another post warns marketers of flashy websites that claim to get clients on Google’s front page within a week. Potential clients should always check companies’ references before hiring them, the blog states. The blog also explores the concept that SEO isn’t everything. Repeating keywords too much can drive readers away.
Karon Thackston, a longtime marketing professional, owns a copywriting business called Marketing Words. Her blog excels at providing copywriting news, linking to other copywriters’ articles, and giving real-life examples of different copywriting strategies. News includes mention of upcoming free webinars. Recent posts link to articles about how to get customers to leave product reviews. One of the articles emphasizes getting rid of a difficult registration process. Another recent post by Thackston explains how canned product descriptions on e-commerce sites hamper their SEO. As an example, she shows how many sites selling Le Creuset cookware copied text from Le Creuset’s website word for word.
UK freelance copywriter Sally Ormond's blog focuses on basic elements of writing. She reminds copywriters, for example, to use short sentences, have an active voice, and avoid adjectives. She also provides ideas for how to write with an authentic voice. Many small companies try to make themselves sound bigger than they are, she says. They use such words as “we” and “fleet” when really they should stick to the words “I” and “team.” To many people, small businesses mean high-quality, personal service, she writes. Ormond also offers suggestions for how to come up with content ideas, such as following other industry blogs.
Freelance copywriter Bob Bly has authored more than 70 books about copywriting and marketing. His blog gets a substantial amount of reader feedback, and deals with practical advice on such topics as typefaces, titles and concise writing. Bly recommends using Helvetica, Arial or Verdana typefaces in at least 12-point type for websites. When offering free content, companies should give the product an interesting title, he writes. For example, during the Clinton years, the American Spectator gave its new subscribers a free special report titled “Inside the Clinton White House.”
Gloria Rand is a freelance copywriter specializing in search engine optimization. A substantial percentage of her blog posts focus on SEO. A recent post, for example, discusses how to use Google Analytics to determine what site pages are bringing in visitors and what pages are engaging them. Another recent post provides SEO tips for video marketing. Advice includes keyword-rich titles, keyword-rich descriptions, and giving readers the possibility to rate and review your videos. Rand’s blog also features guest posts. In December, for example, business coaches Jennifer Lee and Leah Turner discussed how to get out of a career rut.
Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com