The success of your Internet marketing efforts boils down to one thing—how good is your copywriting? It doesn’t matter how much you promote your site. If the copy doesn’t connect with readers, you’ll never get the sales you desire.

So, what makes great copywriting? Here are 10 rules the best online copywriters follow.

1. Keywords aren’t Everything- Obviously, it’s important to optimize your copy for relevant keywords to ensure you get high search engine placement. However, keywords aren’t the most important part of your copy. They might be the gateway that brings visitors to your site, but if your copy is stuffed with keywords, your conversion rate will suffer. Always remember your human readers, and never place the search engine’s needs above theirs.

2. Scanner-Friendly is a Must- Numerous eye-tracking studies show that website visitors tend to scan content rather than fully reading it. What does this mean for your website? It means your copy needs to accommodate their scanning habits. This means you should use plenty of whitespace, keep your paragraphs brief, and use bold headings throughout. This will help the scanners grasp the main points from your content quickly and easily.

3. Compelling Headlines are Essential- The best copywriters know that a great headline is one of the most important facets of any online copy. Your headline needs to sell a benefit or connect with the reader in some other way. A simple keyword phrase won’t do the trick. This is your chance to grab the attention of your website visitors. Make it count.

4. Content Must Reinforce Headline- Once you come up with a great headline, you need to make sure your content reinforces it. If your headline mentions a specific benefit, follow up on that by discussing it in your copy. In other words, don’t trick your readers by using a catchy headline and then talk about something completely different in your copy.

5. Converse with the Reader- To me, conversational copy is perfectly suited for the web. The internet is a social medium, so it only makes sense that your copy should feel personal to your readers. Remember, consumers are more wary when purchasing from companies online. Conversational copy that’s free of gimmicks helps them gain trust in your company. How?  By making it seem like they’re interacting with a real person who understands their needs.

6. Testimonials are Helpful- Another way to build trust with your visitors is to use real testimonials on your website. I prefer placing a few testimonials in a sidebar on the right hand side of the page. They catch the eye and deliver the message of trust without distracting the reader away from your main website copy. Make sure to keep your testimonials in their original form without any edits. The more authentic they are, the better.

7. Quality Trumps Quantity- We’ve already established that online readers have a short attention span. So, don’t spend 500 words explaining something that can be summed up in 250 words. I realize a lot of websites extend their copy so that it reaches the magic 400-500 word count for SEO purposes, but it can really hamper the flow of your content. Keep it short; keep it simple. This will keep your readers on track.

8. Superlatives are Useless- Don’t say you’re the best at something or that you’re the leader in your field. Everyone says that. Every company thinks they’re the best, and every company is the most experienced. Consumers don’t fall for these silly superlatives. They carry no weight, and frankly, they sound like a bunch of B.S.

9. It’s All about the Benefits- Instead of loading up on the superlatives, talk about the benefits of your product. In other words, how will your company make the customer’s life better? That’s all your readers care about. Let them know what’s in it for them, and you’ll have much more successful website copy.

10. Call to Action Should be Clear- Of course, you can have the best copy on the web, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t have a clear call to action. The point of your copy is to convince the reader they need your product or services, and then, the call to action tells them how to get it. Don’t leave your readers hanging. Have a clear call to action that tells them exactly what you want them to do. If you want them to call a number, tell them to call you. The clearer your call to action, the higher your conversion rate will be.

How many of these rules does your website copy follow?