How to Write A Product Description For Your Online Shop: Five Simple Steps

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Photo credit: Sean MacEntee

Short, attention-grabbing articles tend to do very well on the web; they allow the reader to get what you are saying in a small amount of time, which is a very precious commodity on the web. Many people do not know how to do that – explain something using few words in a manner that is clear and concise. Product Descriptions require exactly that.

A product description is simply a very short article that talks about a specific item, gadget, equipment, service, or commodity. Normally between 100 and 150 words, a product description not only educates potential customers on the value and use of the item; it also serves as a marketing tool when keywords are used in it. This is a very important tool for businesses, especially small businesses and start-ups.

If you have an online store for the things you sell, consider writing product descriptions for each class of items in your shop. Make it short, concise and use simple language. Target the kind of customers that normally visit your store, or the ones you want to attract to your site. Include 2 – 3 of the keywords you use for your site in order to attract web traffic. This is very important because you want to extract maximum value out of that short description.

Number 1: Picture in your mind the kind of customer you wish to attract. Think of the general sector, e.g. young, educated, salaried professional. Think of a particular person who fits that exact description and prepare to write for him/her.

Number 2: Write down what you want to say about your product/service, exactly the way you want to say it. Choose your words carefully and direct them at the person you have pictured. Your aim is to convince them that what you are offering has value plus superior quality.

Number 3: Insert two to three keywords for your site. This will help drive relevant traffic to your site. Put one in the title of the article, one in the main body and the last one in the final paragraph. Make sure they are not forced into the sentences; they should flow naturally with what you are saying.

Number 4: Define your Call To Action, that is, what do you want that customer to do about your product? Do you want them to buy it or ask for more information? Do you want them to click on the cart or to investigate what else you have to offer? Do you want them to write a review about it? The answer to these questions will determine how you word your Call To Action. Include that as the last paragraph of your article.

call to action

call to action (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Number 5: Insert the article on your landing page or sales page, whichever one serves the purpose of attracting the attention of visitors or would-be customers. Make sure the font is easily readable. Feel free to highlight key text like the name of the product for example.

Remember, you can get a lot of mileage for your site from writing product descriptions. Never under-estimate the power of words, no matter how few!

Your Writing Talent Is An Asset

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the famous book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, talks about the importance of building more assets than liabilities if one wants to be successful in business and life. In business terms, assets are simply items that bring in or increase income and thus have a positive impact on wealth. The synonyms for the word ‘asset’ give us a broader understanding as they include benefit, advantage, plus, positive feature, quality, skill and talent. Does that sound like your writing skill?

When I was younger, about eight or nine years old, my older sisters asked me what I would like to be when I grew up. My instinctive and completely sincere answer was, “a writer!” At that age I already knew about a few writers like Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie (my all-time favorite fiction writer) and I definitely admired them. I was totally in awe of the art of writing, and I still am.

Writing is a golden-edged gift that brings pleasure to both owner and audience. Most writers enjoy their work as much as the world loves to read their writing. It is also a tool of communication that has been effective over many centuries and will continue to be, regardless of how much the medium used changes. More than that, however, I see the writing skill as an asset that should be guarded well, developed continuously, used for the good of society and converted into income if need be.

There are so many ways in which writing can be used to increase your personal wealth. I will not go into the details of how to make money from your writing skill here – many other blogs do that. I just want you to place a lot more value on your talent than you have done before and see it in new light.

What does one do with an asset?

Increase it: The more you have of an asset, the better for your personal wealth. How do you increase your talent? By ‘taking it to a higher level’ such that it produces more for you. Mensa Otabil, in Buy The Future: Learning To Negotiate For A Better Future Than Your Present (Pneuma Life Publishing, Inc., 2002), refers to a process of “roasting” that transforms one’s gift into something of higher value. For writing, this simply means improving your skill in a particular field or gaining competence in other fields of writing. You could go for some training, for example, or venture into a new field of writing you have not done before.

Make it produce for you and others: An asset that cannot produce anything ceases to have value for its owner. If you have not been using your skill to produce income, maybe it’s time you began to think about it seriously. However, if income is not among your goals then you could still use your skill to help others achieve their own goals even if they are not paying you. Volunteer your help on major writing projects at work or in your community. You never know, your reward may come in a different way other than finances.

Keep Your Scribal Juices Flowing!

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

I regularly attend a writer’s forum where we encourage and build one another to become better writers. I have found it to be both enlightening and challenging as I keep learning new things. Recently, the leader of the forum decided to veer off our usual menu of reading and critiquing poems, short stories and essays and decided to talk about writing itself. He insisted that for one to be considered a true writer, he/she must write every day. Well, the response was not quite what he expected and a long discussion ensued about whether we should write ‘everyday’ or ‘as often as possible’.

The bone of contention was that it is hard for the average person to write often because sometimes the will or energy to write is not there. It’s not easy to keep the juices flowing! True. However, if one is to persist with that attitude in their writing career (or any other career for that matter) then we would have very little literature in the market.

Writing is a pursuit that must be nurtured often; the regularity depends on individual abilities and circumstances. Notwithstanding that, every writer has to find a way of motivating themselves to pen new thoughts, ideas, stories, descriptions, suggestions, etc. There is no universal rule of doing it; you just have to go for what works best for you. However, there are a few things you can do to maintain your passion beyond the norm.

Look for what inspires you:
Many writers work from inspiration, meaning that something in their environment triggers the desire to write, or provides the subject for a story. Find that single inspiration and keep it close by if you can. It could be an environment of complete silence, like when alone in the house; it could be nature, the outdoors, driving to a rural area, being at the lakeside, watching children play, listening to slow music, etc.

Spend a good amount of time reading:
There’s no better writer than a reading writer. I believe that reading fosters writing, and the more you read the more you get ideas to write about. Reading often exercises the mind to think in different ways and can also trigger you to evaluate your own writing as you compare it with others.

Allocate specific time for writing:
In the same way that you allocate time for bonding with your friends, do the same with your writing gift. You need to constantly and consciously get in touch with your writing ‘soul’ in order to develop it, and making time for it deliberately is the best strategy. It may appear a bit stiff at first, having to writ only at a certain time, but once you get into a steady routine you will be glad for it. It helps you focus completely on the task at hand without getting distracted.

These are three simple things you can apply immediately to your writing life. Go on, keep your scribal juices flowing with these suggestions and I hope you enjoy yourself.

The Exposed Writer: Connect with other writers

I like scouting for blogs that make a good read and in the process of doing this I get to learn what other writers are thinking and what their experiences are. I came across one particular blogger who mentioned in a post that writers are often lonely, a situation that adds to various other difficulties encountered in the writing journey. I found this interesting in light of the fact that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of freelance writers out there in the cyberspace, most of them doing similar kind of work. If you doubt this, check the number of people who run blogs, subscribe to active writers’ forums or publish books, including self-publishers.

This left me thinking, is it really true that writers are lonely or do they just create that loneliness with their actions (or lack of action)? Whatever the answer is, I firmly believe that writers should not be lonely at all. Every writer belongs somewhere; you just need to find the right place to fit in.

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A lonely writer is like a piece of wood trying to ignite on its own just a few meters away from a bonfire. A single piece of wood remains cold and ineffective but once it gets into the bonfire with other wood it burns brightly. Writers like you and me should never be alone.

A year and a half ago I began to attend a local literature forum, AMKA – Space for Women’s Creativity, and discovered what it means to be what I call an exposed writer. Prior to that I had been all on my own, spinning poems, short articles and unfinished stories by the month (I didn’t write that frequently). For some reason I thought I could make it on my own like a lonely traveler but it turned out to be a tough job. Of course I was doing quite a bit of reading and research on the net but I still felt inadequate as a writer looking to establish a freelance career. Then one day, a friend asked me how I was doing in my writing and I replied that it was not picking up as I expected. He suggested that I look for “people of like-precious-faith” to mingle with, meaning people who have a similar passion for writing, and that is exactly what I did.

When I joined AMKA it immediately became obvious that I needed to learn a lot of things. I spent the first few months simply listening to the discussions, without submitting any of my work or offering my critique to other writers, though the forum encourages members to do both. Mingling with other writers on a regular basis provided not only a sense of belonging but also opened the door to opportunities I wouldn’t have accessed on my own. It was through this forum that I got my first short story published in an anthology. I equate this literature forum with the bonfire mentioned earlier.

It is healthy for writers to stay close, work together, and uphold each other especially during difficult times, which are bound to come. Every writer’s journey has its own set of unique experiences, both good and bad; it helps to share this with someone who understands, or better yet, someone who has more experience in the field. In the process of rubbing shoulders with other writers in different settings you become ‘exposed’. As a result, you get to expand your own thinking and embrace new ideas and developments in the writing field.

Mentoring quickly comes to mind as a vehicle through which every writer can get ‘exposed’. Though it is a learning process, the responsibility of ensuring that the learning takes place lies more heavily on the shoulders of the one being mentored. The exposed writer is, therefore, one who is able to take advantage of learning tools and opportunities offered during a mentoring process and translate them into success. The exposure comes through networks, writing forums, workshops, seminars, and reading relevant literature. The exposed writer is therefore neither working alone, nor missing out on important events that can help to build his/her writing career.

Have you been feeling alone? You do not need to. Don’t accept it. Find a way to connect with other writers and do not fear to let them know your needs. Remember the saying that in one person lies the possibility of connecting with 100 other people; so don’t ignore an invitation to network with other writers.

Using Quotes in Your Writing

Quotes are like spices in a dish for the writer; they flavor an article and make it more enjoyable for the reader. Since reading is an exercise that most people find a bit hard to pursue and keep up for a period of time, writing articles that provide an extra zing can make a big difference and quotes are able to do just that.

I love quotes and once in a while I like to use them to spice up my own writing. There are thousands of them on numerous subjects, so all you need to do is to find the one that is appropriate for your piece. Always make sure that the quote you choose is relevant to your subject otherwise it will just turn out to be a rude interruption in the eyes of your reader. Remember that your reader is a prize treasure you wouldn’t want to disappoint.

 

Quotes are short sentences or phrases that other people have said and recorded on various subjects. They belong to somebody else but give added value to your piece, like when you want to emphasize a point, introduce humor or launch a new topic. Their value lies in the quick insight they provide into different ways of looking at things and thinking about them. For instance, quotes on love provide us with insights into how people conceive of love, which helps us write more about the subject of love. Quotes can therefore provide you with new ideas about what to write as well as new perspectives. If you ever have a problem getting started on a new topic, simply Google ‘quotes on the subject’ and you may just find new inspiration or a starting point at least.

 

When using quotes, remember that you are borrowing someone else’s words so make them stand out from what you have said (e.g. using italics) and ensure you give credit to the person by indicating who said it. Do not congest your writing with quotes, though, as much as it is a beautiful technique to apply. Use them sparingly but correctly positioned in the text so as to get the most mileage out of them. They usually work well at the beginning of the article to introduce your thought process or at the end when you want to leave the reader with something to ponder about.

 

On that note, I came across the following quote on the subject of creative writing. Most of the time we writers want to give people what they want to read; how about giving people what we want to say and quit worrying about what they think?

 

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Finding The Right Niche For Your Blog – Why?

One of the most common recommendations made to new (and even exisiting) bloggers is that they should specialize on a certain area for which they have the most expertise rather than writing on a variety of topics. This is suppossed to give the blog a certain edge over others and lead to greater quality traffic.

Finding the right niche to write for is not an easy task. For some writers , it develops over time as they try out different topics until they settle on the one that produces most value. Others may hit it off from day one but then as the niche becomes populated they find reason to move to something else. Whatever your experience in niche writing, I would really like to know what you think. I would like to know whether you think niche writing makes a difference in your blogging experience.

Please take a moment to participate in this poll by answering the question below. You can always view the results whenever you visit this blog over time.Your participation will be highly appreciated

 

Thank you for sharing your opinion.

Quality Assurance for Content Writers

When you get a huge workflow of content writing and the clients are diverse with varying requirements and expectations, how do you manage your output to ensure high standards are still maintained? How do you make certain that your clients are always satisfied with work done?

Quality Assurance is not a new concept in management circles but I wonder how many freelance writers have a QA system in place for their work?

Recently, I thought about this and wrote a guest post on Freelance Switch about how to meet your client’s expectations through Quality Assurance.

Click here to read the article and let me know what your opinion is on the subject.