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5 Habits to Avoid While Writing Website Copy

This is a piece written by Scott Prindle, our Web Specialist, to accompany our newly created newsletter, Web@Work.

Introduction

Copy writing is an essential portion of your website’s composition, which is one of the major reasons I decided to tackle the topic for our first newsletter. For those unfamiliar with the marketing jargon, copy and the associated act of copy writing is the collection of writing, phrases, mottoes, and slogans that is used to infuse a product, service, event, or person with reasons for the consumer to perform an action.

As such, writing compelling copy is one of the most important aspects of creating a website. It’s the content, the substance, the entire soul of what you’re trying to convey to your customers. When your site comes together without compelling content, everyone suffers. Users become disinterested quickly, leaving your site before you’ve made a sale. This is a situation we want occurring as infrequently as possible, so why don’t we take a look at some of the major pitfalls associated with writing in this frame of mind.

Typographical Errors

Let’s start with the most simple of things to prevent and correct: grammar. Everyone has a tendency to hate the “grammar nazi” in your social group from time to time, but getting them to proofread your copy can help you learn some rather grievous errors before you set them live on your website for your customers to see.

Jargon

This pitfall is rather subtle when you begin writing, but it’s something I fall prey to all too often, being a huge tech nerd. The dreaded jargon, necessary for talking about rather high-concept things, when presented to someone who is unfamiliar with them, they become confused, alienated, or unimpressed. This will make the user more likely to leave your site, as they can’t relate to the experience you’re trying to share with them.

Try to use plain speak as much as possible in a way that is clear and concise for your target audience without bogging them down with nomenclature (yeah, that word’s a no no, too).

Big Blocks of Text

This copy writing pitfall to avoid is also a somewhat counter-intuitive one to think about. When you’re wanting to describe your product, you’ll naturally want to elaborate in lavish detail all the nuances and thought and hardships and features and benefits and solutions that you’ve crammed into your products, services, and systems. This goes in tandem with Jargon for a number of reasons, but most obviously it is because even with all of those engineering doodads and tech specs and wonders of the modern man that were incorporated into your Bighugegizmo2000, your customers might not care. Why?

Reading all about it should be simple, concise. Be clean. Be Simple. Your customer will appreciate it. (You can probably appreciate that when you compare reading the first paragraph to this last line, when they say the exact same thing).

Call to Action

The last item for discussion is a bit of a doozy in that it’s a simple idea, but is very important to funneling a website visitor to perform a specific action, in your case, getting them to learn more about your product or service, and purchasing it on the site or at your store. A call to action is basically a visual or written indicator to draw the eye of the user toward a specific area of the site and “calls” them to perform a specific behavior. Follow this to get a number of text-based call-to-action examples, and follow this link to see a number of graphically-based call-to-action examples. Creating these can be a little tricky, but basically you want your copy to be leading toward an action, what does your service or product do to relieve your customer’s problems? Relay that information to them, and then give them a call-to-action to get it. You’ll see better rates on your website conversion because of it.

Conclusion

This is by no means a catch all to avoid every single error made while copy writing, but it’s meant to help with a few of them. I’ve included a few links below to share more extensive articles that will fill you in on a lot more potential things to consider when writing for your website:

Smashing Magazine – Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin A Company Website

Freelance Switch – Website Copywriting Sins

Web Designer Depot – How To Spot And Avoid Web Copy That Kills Websites

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave comments for future newsletter topics, feedback, etc. I appreciate it. As well, if you’re interested in our newsletter please following the link below to sign up.

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