E-commerce Content: Writing Product Descriptions

From writing an original product description to adding call-to-action statements, we offer tips on how to write e-commerce content that attracts both search engines and human shoppers.

Web shop product pages tend to be among the most neglected types of pages on the Web.  Too often, small shop owners are inclined to offer only basic details about an item on product pages.

Today, a basic e-commerce product description that includes only size and color choices and a product image is just not enough detail. If this is all you offer on product pages, you will not do as well in Google searches as you potentially could.  And, brief descriptions do not always provide enough information to encourage shoppers to make a purchase.

Every product page on your site should be unique, compelling and contain your very best sales copy.  A product description should incorporate your search engine keywords (SEO) and also contain a call to action statement.

Think of the product description as an appetizer:  use it to give customers a tantalizing taste of your product with a creative description.

Creating Good Ecommerce Product Page Descriptions

Small Web shops typically use cut-and-paste versions of the manufacturer’s default merchandise description.  These basic – and often bland – descriptions are already indexed in Google, possibly thousands or tens of thousands of times.

Web shop owners should get rid of standard manufacturer descriptions and write original descriptions for their product pages. You want to give customers fresh content that hundreds of other small Web shops selling the same merchandise do not have.

To do this properly, research the product and decide which characteristics most appeal to consumers.  When writing your e-commerce content, be sure to include particulars on how the product works, and suggest ways that consumers can use the item to address a problem or need. For example, mention how the product reduces closet-clutter, or how it makes learning fun for children, and so on. Give consumers ideas on how the item can fit into their lifestyle or home.

how to write good, original product descriptions
This product description appears on Google more than 3,000,000 times. Try writing your own original e-commerce content for search engine bots and shoppers.
(Click for larger image)

When writing your product description, remember to write for your intended audience. If your e-commerce site sells toys and games you’ll want to mention things like skills children would apply in using the game. Here, you would about the benefit in a tone suited to the parent – not the child as it is often the parent or other adult making the purchase decision. 

The item description really needs to be your very best sales copy. It may seem like a huge task, especially for the smaller individual-run shops, but you can start small by setting aside an hour each day to rework the product description sections on your site until they all contain original e-commerce content. 

Incorporate SEO and Product Reviews

When you have the best product description possible, you then need to rework that copy and include content that is search-engine friendly and helpful to your shoppers.

First, for the search engines, you will want to edit the product description to include your keywords.  The goal is to selectively and consistently add those important keywords in when you can, but only in places where it grammatically makes sense to do so.  You can use your keyword in the page title, product description, in meta tags, and also in the ALT tag, which is the optional description you include in the HTML code where you insert the product image.

For example, if your keyword phrase is “hunting knife” don’t refer to the item as “knife” in your product description.  You would use something like this: “This hunting knife is a rugged and durable…”

You can also give search engine bots extra content to crawl by offering user-generated product reviews right on the individual item page. Customers who have purchased the product may describe usability and features you don’t mention in your own product description.  The other benefit is that positive product reviews can help customers make the purchase decision.

Add Relevant Links and a Call-to-Action to your Product Page

Another beneficial change you can make on your product page is to hyperlink related products within the product description.  For example, if the item is part of a set of products, create a hyperlink to those related product pages. 

You can also link to other relevant products. For example, if you own a bedroom décor Web shop, you can mention and link to the matching drapes or an accent pillow from a comforter product page. This makes it easy for customers to see related items and encourages them to buy more.

Call-to-action statements will also help. A call-to-action is sales statement that engages customers and creates a sense of urgency to encourage them to make the purchase. You want to push customers to check out now, not later. 

Many e-tailers place these statements on their main Web shop or main category pages, but you should also include the call-to-action right on product page near the “add to cart’”or “check-out” buttons.

Examples of call-to-action statements could include; “Free shipping ends in three days,” or “Join our mailing list today and receive a 10 percent discount on this order.”

 Product Page Spelling and Grammar Count

Lastly, your English teacher was right. Grammar and spelling is very important. Shop owners shouldn’t expect a person to hand their credit card number over to someone who doesn’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s”.  Grammar and well-written e-commerce content plays a big role in how customers perceive you.

If every page within your Web shop is perfect and uses correct punctuation and grammar, it will build customer trust; they’ll feel like they’re dealing with a professional individual or business. 

Another key aspect is to keep language consistent across the entire site.  For example, don’t use “e-mail” on some pages and “email” on others.  These little mistakes, when spotted by a shopper, can quickly lower their opinion of you.

Once you have your e-commerce content written, continue to proofread and edit until it is perfect. It is often difficult to spot your own mistakes, so the find an articulate friend to read the e-commerce copy for you. Even better: hire a professional freelancer who will ensure that you offer excellent, content throughout your e-commerce site.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other e-commerce topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com E-Commerce Forum. Join the discussion today!

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