I’ve been doing some research on creating a writing course for readers here at pen to Zen. Since I’ve been speaking with many of you one-on-one, I’ve heard one concern above all the rest: “I’m not sure if my writing on this webpage is as effective as it could be.” [Edited to add a note from Faith: The course is happening! You can still get early access to free lessons and a huge discount by signing up here.]
The pages most often questioned are the homepage, the about page, the services/products page, and any sales or landing page on the site. Other copy I feel is often overlooked but needs attending is on the contact page, the blog page, and where applicable, the resources, portfolio and check out page. Oh, let’s throw in the widgets/sidebar content along with headers and footers, plus opt-in offers or any other boxes that might float in or pop up.
Yep: that’s the whole site. And when you’re doing it yourself, it seems best if it’s broken into pieces so we can review it and learn the answer to, “Is this good enough? Am I writing it right?”
If you have to ask…
One of the main services I offer here for my pen to Zen clients is copy sweeps of web pages to make sure they are effective as they can be. But most of the readers here don’t hire me.
I started by writing an ebook on doing your own copy sweeps to improve your marketing messages, The 30-Minute CopyMaster. But that doesn’t do much to teach you how to write the stuff in the first place. What is needed for that is instruction. The detailed kind that meets your specific needs.
Because if you still have to ask, “Is this up to par?” it tells me you need a bit more understanding, more practice, more step-by-step guidance on what to do and how.
Good news, Grasshoppers. I’m developing the exact lessons you need. They’ll be simple for you to customize for the type of website you have, and to personalize to meet your writing style, experience and and most important, your audience.
Plus I’m making sure you can do the work section-by-section, page-by-page, at the pace that works best for you, without disrupting your website content as it is now. That’s so Zen.
Zen and the Art of Writing Your Website:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Site that Works Wonders
I’m super excited! I’ve started to onboard beta testers. To get the initial launch modules of this course free, and before anyone else, sign up here. You’ll also receive 50% off your Guide if you decide to order it when it’s released.
Even better: you’ll have a chance to work directly with me. I’ll select a sub-group from the beta testers to take the entire course at no charge, [Edited to add a note from Faith: Sorry, that selection has passed, but read on!] and I’ll also give every early bird a chance to ask questions and have a page reviewed by me as we work on it through the course section.
So the answer is maybe…
Not everyone needs a writing course. My criteria for advising you on whether you should take one or not begins with my first question for just about everything you’re wondering about:
What is your intention?
Maybe you could use a general copywriting course. In my experience, effective ones aren’t easy to find. It’s such a broad subject, and there are many approaches… geez it takes practice over time, too. But if you want to go deep and work on building your skills, try a college course. You might find a nice distance course online, even.
Many of you will be better off searching for the guidelines you need per project. And copying (emulating, not plagiarizing!) the successful copy of others you admire. Case-by-case, blog posts can provide a lot of your training, much like I’m doing with my Tagline Tutorial series.
We know, if you really want to master tagline writing, you should learn a complete methodology and write many taglines. I’m not offering that. But isn’t it great I can teach you only what you need to know, on demand, so you can do it for your business, now?
You could probably benefit from a broader business writing course. Guess what? I made one of those already! I recommend it highly, and it covers a ton of situations from resume to apologies to your About Page: Effective Business Writing
Maybe you have a super simple business message and you want your site to be up and running quickly with evergreen content on 3 short main pages. If it makes money/your schedule fills quickly, you’ll hire a writer later, so you don’t feel the urge to become a great writer yourself.
Man, I LOVE that. So I’ll say, become my beta tester, use a guide to blow the basics out of the water, and get that job done. Or just pull the trigger you’re going to pull eventually and hire your writer from the start. Hint Hint.
You don’t need a writing course as much as you need to address blogging, your marketing message, or creating offers to build your email list. If you feel you lack the web business knowledge or the organization to pull all the pieces of your project together, you need How To instructions for your specific intention.
There’s that word again.
We have options, Grasshoppers…
Kwai Chang Caine was a Shaolin monk, a Chinese-American immigrant in the American Old West. When he flashed back to his youthful training, his kind but firm Master Po called him Grasshopper. Man, that was a good show.
The scenes in which Young Caine received his lessons were unlike anything else I can ever remember being on TV.
Young Caine: Master, we are taught that the most important gift of our nature is the reaching out to one another.
Po: To say and to listen. To teach what we know truly, to those who do not know. To send peaceful thoughts over the bridge of words.
Young Caine: Yet, I am only to speak when spoken to?
Po: Reach out. Yet, be weary of what you allow yourself to grasp. Go now Grasshopper. Guard above all things, the purity of your vision.
Anyway, I’m the old guy in this scenario. I know a lot, but you need to learn what works for you.
Should you take a certain writing course?
Here are further options I suggest based on the perspective I just gave:
If you answered YES to the idea of a full blown class to put you over the top with writing skills or marketing, you might find one at a local college or through a distance learning site like Coursera.
If you need to SPECIALIZE in a certain type of writing for one specific result, consider taking an online course or joining the program of an expert in the field. As a bonus, these writers delve into the actual writing/content side of things along with getting you through the how to do the business side of things.
Jeff Goins Tribe Writers This online membership program will teach you everything you need to know about honing your voice, establishing a platform, expanding the reach of your network, and publishing your work.
Jon Morrow Guest Blogging Course At GuestBlogging.com, Jon Morrow of CopyBlogger and Boost Blog Traffic fame, promises to teach you:
- How to get your first 1000 blog subscribers, even if none of the leaders in your niche know who you are yet
- How to stop getting ignored by popular bloggers and get the links you deserve
- How to build a following on twitter to help you promote your blog posts
- How to get your blog a first page ranking on Google, without knowing all of the technical details of SEO
Fizzle.co Start a Blog That Matters One of the founders of the online business forum I belong to is Corbett Barr. He once offered this course as a stand-alone, which thousands of people bought for $97 and used to build their successful blogs. Now it’s offered free to Fizzle members. I included my referral link for you to explore and decide if you want to test drive (love it there; so helpful, so look for me if you join!). Corbett says:
“This formula is what I used to create blogs that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors per month (including Think Traffic and Expert Enough). I have also used the formula to help clients launch or grow blogs that attract from 10,000 to 100,000+ visitors per month (most notably Live Your Legend and Man Vs. Debt).”
Or if you just don’t want to commit to a copywriting course, use the blog here at pen to Zen, and consult general sites like Copyblogger, Write to Done and ProBlogger, to get the info. you need to do the job, one day at a time.
A few words on focus…
It will always be important that you focus your efforts on A) whatever you do best, plus B) whatever you have to do the most of. Find reasonable solutions for getting the most important aspects of your business handled regularly to the highest degree you can manage.
Your copy, your design, your marketing… yes, make sure they’re good enough. Then, as long as your service and relationships are stellar, you’ll make the most of your potential in the end. You don’t need to sign up for a class on how to be awesome to your audience. Just be yourself & give from the heart!
But if DO you want an easy way to write or rewrite any part or all of your website, sign up for a chance to get early, free access to Zen and the Art of Writing Your Website!