Two of the most common website copywriting problems I see are 1) too much copy on the home page or 2) generic copy. One website I saw had two long paragraphs that appeared in two columns. And they used an 11 pixels typeface. (Ack!)
The unbroken, long paragraphs combined with the small-sized font made for an unappealing web page. Who wants to weed through a bunch of copy and squint to read it? I don’t. Do you?
The other problem is generic copy. This copy says something along the lines of “We believe in being honest and our successful history proves it.” There’s nothing of interest in a statement like that. Many companies use “we” language. “We can do this…” or “We can do that…” and they ignore “YOU” language.
Avoid generic copywriting by clearly defining your business differentiators, such as: fast turn-around time, no-cost estimates, thorough reports, or no extra charge for certain services. Then include those differentiators in your copy.
Whenever you’re tempted to write a sentence like:
“We offer the most advanced…,” stop. Instead, begin the sentence with “You” as in, “You get the most advanced…”
Remember, your website visitor is always looking for clarity. She wants to quickly understand your business’ purpose and how it could help her.
Typeface or Design Issues
The website’s font size is also important. If it’s too small, it isn’t appealing. Most people don’t want to squint at their screen while reading your copy.
Use at least 16 pt. for your body copy. Most sites use anywhere from 16 – 20pt. I wrote a blog post about this and referenced an article from Smashing Magazine, an online designers resource site. The writer said to use nothing less than 16 pixels. I used a Mozilla Firefox plugin to determine the font size and found his body copy font was actually 19 pixels! But it looks great and is highly readable.
Copywriting Has No Clear Call to Action
A call to action is asking your visitor to do something. Either:
1. Sign up for something
2. Order something
3. Watch something, and so on
When you design your website, you want your copywriting to ask your visitor to take some kind of action, preferably signing up for your mailing list. Your copy needs to have words like “Sign Up Today.” Or “Click this link to download your free report,” you’re giving the reader something very specific to do. The more specific you can get, the better.
Having the right type of copywriting is vital to your website’s success but so is formatting. Done well, it’s a winning combination.
And if you remember to speak about your customer’s needs more than your own, you’ll always be on the right track.