If designers are supposed to add structure to words and images on a screen to illicit action, why are so many websites left with an unsavory experience? And why do the websites that create a magical experience seem to disappear after awhile?
Successful online businesses and websites need revenue streams to survive and profit. Even if a website has a great business model and solid marketing, it still might lack the conversions to keep the service operating profitably. Interaction designers are responsible for making a website or application: 1) useful and easy for the customer and 2) profitable for a company. That means interaction designers need to know how to sell things. And online, selling things requires great writing.
At ZURB we're often thrown into projects that have incomplete business models that need interface work. Most clients assume their issues stem from ugly pages, which is always part of the problem, but the real issue is usually a poor 'call to action.' When it comes down to it, it's the right 'call to action' that increases conversion for most online businesses- the design structure of the page only helps mitigate the risk of people not reading the call to action. Businesses that ignore their copy ruin not only their conversions, but also their chance of being seen by search engines.
Earlier this year I picked up a copy of Web Copy That Sells and found myself using the principles on a regular basis. Designers and online business owners need to read this book to help them sell online- and it could be selling just ideas! While I found myself squirming in some spots (thinking that Maria Veloso's ideas were a little too "used car salesman"), I still believe the general principles are sound for shaping a designers perspective on stimulating online conversions. My favorite technique she highlights is the Zeigarnik Effect.
Web Copy That Sells is one of the few books that I've photocopied pages from and distributed around the office. The ideas in the book are simple and it made me wonder about what I've been doing all these years. Some of the techniques are so powerful that I've encouraged our team use the concepts in their emails!