You don’t need an English degree to write a good product description and it’s more than worthwhile putting a little extra time into them.
Unlike a bricks and mortar store, online shoppers cannot tangibly hold or see the products available nor can they be persuaded by sales staff. A good product description talks to the customer and interests, even excites them, in your product.
Writing good product descriptions does more than just make the product appealing and desirable though. It actually makes it easier for search engines to find your products. This is part of the process known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.
Here are some simple steps to writing better product descriptions:
Consider your target audience.
If you exclusively sell fun gadgets for men, then write appropriately with colloquialism and blokey humour. If your products have a serious purpose (medical goods perhaps) then you might want to be more restrained and informative. Knowing your audience will influence the way you write the rest of your product descriptions as well as making the customers feel more at home.
It’s important to remember the voice of your business – to have a consistency in the way you write. If your products are edgy and creative, try and write that way. If they are practical, be informative and authoritative. Imagine speaking to your customer face to face – how would you describe your product to them? How would you interact with them? If your business has a Facebook page, you may already be in discussion with your audience. Take note of their personalities and their style and you will have an idea of who you are talking to and how to communicate with them.
Make the product description unique to your website.
That is, if you stock products that are available elsewhere and people search for them you want them to find your site rather than one of the other stockists. Perhaps the products you source already have a description from their manufacturer. No matter how good it is, it pays to tweak it a little and to make it unique to your site. Some search engines, like Google, penalize the ‘cutting and pasting’ of content from other websites. ‘Canned’ descriptions are often easy to spot.
It pays to be original. Make the caption for your products more than just a simple list of name/size and price. Write it as an attractive sentence and, while still making sure it reads nicely, add in as many search-optimised keywords as you can.
You’ll want to make sure there are keywords embedded in your product description but if it makes no sense grammatically or is unappealing then you’ve missed the point. Try and make the keywords unobtrusive.
Here are two different approaches to describing the same product – a highly desirable t-shirt with an image of a fish:
Approach 1 – Basic description, zero personality
Title: Fishbowl Tee
Description: “T-shirt, S-XL Green. Fish logo”
Approach 2 – Detailed description, fun nautical theme
Title: Fabulous Fishy Green T-Shirt
Description: “Fabulous Fishy Green T-shirts for the inner geek. Step out of the fishbowl in style. Green fish t-shirts available in sizes Small (guppy) to XL (whale shark) featuring the friendly fish we all love.”
Ok, so the latter description isn’t going to win me a Pulitzer Prize and, I hear you say, it’s downright cheesy. But it does make the product more interesting. It tells you something about the t-shirt and about the store. Now consider the SEO aspect – In the first example the title and description are limited when it comes to search. In the second example however, if customers are using a search engine or on-page search to look for a T-shirt they’ll find it, if they’re looking for a green t-shirt they’ll find it, if they want a t-shirt with a picture of a fish on it they’ll find it. It’s about creating that balance between an interesting and memorable name while making sure its search engine friendly.
For more advanced users Storbie provides the opportunity to tweak hidden information that affects search engine performance. In Edit mode, click on a chosen product, hover over This Product at the top of the page and then click on Edit SEO Settings. Here, you can customise your own URL, Title, Description and Keyword meta tags. This is not essential and Storbie will automatically generate these settings if you do not wish to do so yourself. For more information see our Search Engine Optimisation support article.
Remember the basics.
Always carefully check your spelling and grammar. If you can get a friend to check that it reads nicely, do so. Even if you’re an excellent speller a fresh pair of eyes often picks up small mistakes that have been easily overlooked. Poor spelling and grammatical mistakes can devalue your brand. As I’m writing this I’m paranoid that I’ve hypocritically made some spelling mistakes. Oh well, I’ll live dangerously!
Practice makes perfect.
Put your product searches to the test. Think like a customer and try and find your products online. Without giving them too much information or a brand name, ask a friend to search for your product. Are they able to find it?