Now I live in a well-guarded building in Philadelphia, a city with more dogs than children. The only costumes I see are worn by bank employees.
No haunted houses in my neighborhood. But prowling around the Internet I’ve seen some copy that I could swear was a haunted piece of virtual real estate.
Here are 5 tips to keep your own site warm and welcoming even on the coldest winter nights, which we are experiencing already.
(1) Silence the squeaky doors and hinges.
Haunted houses are famous for floorboards creaking and lights going out suddenly. In normal, happy houses, we don’t notice the floor or the lights. We just walk around comfortably.
And that’s what copy lets website visitors do, too.
Copy gets haunted when copywriters call attention to their own words. That’s why humor usually kills sales: prospects remember the joke but not the benefits, features, or marketer’s name.
We’ve all done it at least once: we fall in love with an image and build copy around a metaphor. But readers will feel most comfortable with a conversational tone and familiar language. And they’ll actually enjoy an occasional cliche.
(2) Say good-by to the Ghost of Your English Teacher.
As you write a set of bullet points, do you find yourself thinking, “Mrs. Fussy told us never to begin a sentence with ‘and.’” Or “Sister Mary Aurelia would take a ruler to these phrases.”
They’re ghosts. Real English teachers don’t care about copywriting and they couldn’t care less what you’re doing these days.
Open the windows and watch them waft away into the dark damp winter nights.
(3) Clear the cobwebs.
Cobwebs brushing against your face? Not a great way to say “Come in! You’re going to love it here.”
Some openings rub their readers the same way: stiff, stilted, and self-conscious. Some begin with a rags-to-riches story …all about the website owner.
(4) Leave the lights on.
Haunted houses tend to be dim. You’ll find weak light sources that create long, creepy shadows.
Good copy needs lots of white space, punctuated by bold and colored type. It’s easy to read. Crowded type makes your reader feel suffocated…wondering if they’re in a dark closet with no way out.
(5) Make sure everyone can find the way out – and the refreshments.
Every so often I see websites that appear to be created by demons. I want to buy…and I have no idea where to sign up. Sometimes I can’t even figure out what’s being offered for sale.
And these days, you need to offer a treat to your visitors – as tempting as a Halloween cookie – and as easy to spot!
But a website makeover can be scarier than a haunted house. I’ve written a free guide – Your 7-Step Website Makeover Plan