Product Descriptions

Tight Writing: Get Rid of “Flowery” Words

Articles, Blog, Blogging, Editing, How-To, Press Releases, Product Descriptions, Web Writing Mistakes, Website Content, Website Copy

When you’re writing for the web, you have 3 to 5 seconds to grab a reader’s attention.

That’s all you get – the time it takes for a reader to raise his or her coffee cup and take a sip. If you haven’t captured your visitors’ interest in that time, they’ll click the back button to find someone who does.

Even if you get past the 3-to-5-second mark, you still need to keep your readers’ interest.

You do that by keeping things short, pithy and to-the-point.

Get Rid of Flowery Words

One of the best books in the world — The Giver, by Lois Lowry — uses a phrase that’s incredibly important in writing for the web: precision of language. (That’s not an affiliate link, but if you buy The Giver through Amazon at that link, which is something you should definitely do, Amazon donates to the Wounded Warrior Project.)

Back to precision of language.

Check out the difference between these sentences:

  • She sipped the piping hot coffee, her eyes leisurely flicking over the smudged, raindrop-splattered newspaper without being able to discern between the blurred and bleeding letters.
  • She sipped the hot coffee, glancing at the wet newspaper. The letters were blurry.
  • She sipped her coffee and looked at the paper.

The first sentence is great… if you’re reading a romance novel. On the Internet, people don’t have that kind of time.

The second sentence is okay.

The third gets to the point.

It’s called purple prose in the writing world, and it’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to get someone to buy your product or service. You need things in black and white, and that’s it.

Precision of Language

Describe what you need to describe quickly and simply. People are coming to you because you have something they want, so give them the information in accurate, simple terms. Make it easy for them to read, too, by:

  • Breaking things up with subheads
  • Using bullet points or numbered lists where appropriate
  • Cutting out useless words
  • Getting straight to the point
  • Writing paragraphs that have no more than four sentences each

And for the love of Cthulu, don’t introduce what you’re about to write. It’s annoying and treats readers as if you assume they’re stupid. (Nobody is going to buy anything from someone who treats them like they’re stupid.)

Save Yourself the Trouble

Naturally, you could save yourself the trouble of slipping flowery words into your product descriptions, press releases or website copy and hire a professional writer. I know a girl…

3 Reasons You Need Unique Product Descriptions

Blog, Product Descriptions, Website Copy

If you’re running an ecommerce site and you’ve copied and pasted the manufacturers’ product descriptions, you’re probably hurting your sales.

It’s not that the descriptions aren’t accurate or that they’re not good enough.

It’s that they already exist.

Why Do You Need Unique Product Descriptions in Ecommerce - Angie Papple Johnston Duplicate Content Sucks

Why would Google (or any other search engine, for that matter) put your pages right in front of potential customers if you have the same product descriptions as the other 15,142 online retailers selling the same products?

They wouldn’t. It’s all a toss-up, and you’re gambling with your bottom line.

In a nutshell, that’s why you need unique product descriptions. But let’s dive in a little deeper.

1. Unique Product Descriptions: Targeting the Right Customers

Let’s say I’m shopping for an extra-large dog harness (in blue) that can fit my extremely active dog. I don’t care about the brand, because really, I’ve been to Petco and they don’t have one, so I’m just irritated. I’ll take anything after that inconvenience.

If you’re selling those extra-large, blue dog harnesses, I’ll be happy.

The problem is that 15,142 other online retailers are selling it, too. The odds that your site is going to come up are pretty slim if I type in “extra-large blue dog harness,” right?

Why You Need Unique Product Descriptions - Hire a Smart Copywriter


So what that means is that with the right terms (and a little other help from other metrics, such as site popularity and social sharing) you could, potentially, beat that third result. Amazon and Wag have the keywords in the meta description, but HelpEmUp doesn’t have an exact match.

While “extra-large blue dog harness” won’t necessarily be the best keyword for you (you’ll have to do some research using the tips in How to Blog Like a Pro), it would give you the best odds of appearing in front of the right customer.

2. Unique Product Descriptions: Grabbing Your Customers’ Attention

While I’m shopping for extra-large blue dog harnesses, I don’t necessarily want to be entertained. I do want to see a picture of it — maybe on a dog, maybe not — but I don’t really care if you make me laugh.

I do care if you give me all the specs (Can it fit a dog with a 43-inch chest? Does it have a plastic clip or a metal clip? Where is the loopy thing for attaching the leash?). If you can entertain me, that’s okay.

But what you really have to do is show me why I need this particular harness.

You have the opportunity to sell me on it. Use it.

This extra-large blue dog harness will make my dog happy. He will be excited to wear it. It allows him complete freedom of movement without pinching his little armpit (dogpit? legpit?) skin. He’ll look like a freakin’ show dog in it and all the other dogs will be soooooo jealous.

3. Unique Product Descriptions: A Chance to Suck in Subscribers (or Repeat Customers)

You can use your product description to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletter, get exclusive deals that nobody else gets, or qualify for free shipping if they order more than $49 in dog supplies.

Why wouldn’t you use that opportunity? You’d be crazy not to.

The point is that there are lots of reasons you need unique product descriptions. Don’t gamble your bottom line by copying the manufacturer’s descriptions — everybody and their brother has those.

How Long Should Your Unique Product Descriptions Be?

Try to get them at the 150-word mark. Better: 300 words.

Sometimes there’s not much to say about a product. I get that, and Google gets that. But if you can, write your little heart out about how awesome, amazing and necessary each and every product is. Your sales will go up due to greater visibility and better closing, and who doesn’t want that?

Piggy Bank image courtesy of