5 Common Mistakes of Writing Website Content
Take a good look at your website copy. Does it drive sales? Or is it just filling space? Kudos to you if you’ve contracted a marketing professional or web copywriter to write your web content for you. Interesting, engaging, well-optimized web content is a must-have in today’s competitive online marketplace.
However, it’s not enough to just have good content. It needs to emerge from invisibility, slow the scroll bar, escape the back button and speak to your visitors. Here are five mistakes you should avoid when writing web copy:
1. Hard to read.
Let’s get the most obvious (and most common) out of the way first. Your body copy isn’t speaking — it is whispering if it is too small or too faint to read. In addition, extremely long lines of text (before a line break) are exhausting to read. I see this often on flexible-width websites that span across gaping, wide-screen monitors. Many readers tire of this and will quickly give up. Instead, opt for a comfortably large typeface with sufficient contrast. And keep the width of your paragraphs limited or fixed — do test on multiple screen resolutions.
2. Not compelling.
What good is an interesting read if you are not inspired to take action? Tell readers where they should go next, what steps they should take, how and when. Don’t leave anything to the imagination or expect people to read between the lines. Web users are travelling at the speed of light, so make it very clear and easy to answer your call to action.
3. Doesn’t give ‘em what they want.
People normally land on a webpage expecting to find specific information — to solve a problem, to answer a question, etc. Carefully choose very specific headlines, informative subheadings, meaty bullet points, and pointed paragraphs which fill users’ needs and meet their requests. Skip all the glib marketing fluff and usher readers right to the content they are looking for.
4. Too wordy.
Long rambling paragraphs are intimidating. Do you want to invest precious time reading walls of text only to find at the end that your question hasn’t been answered? Think back to grammar school — start paragraphs with a ‘subject sentence.’ Then support that ‘subject’ with the next few sentences. Then conclude it and move on! Give people what they need in appealing, bite-sized chunks.
5. Not organized.
Last but not least — I can’t stress the importance of reflecting information hierarchy in your web content enough. Pages that have a gazillion text sizes and text treatments lack focus. Web visitors who can’t focus find it challenging to make online decisions. In general, the more important things should be larger, less important things smaller. And keep healthy white space around organizational elements to facilitate eye movement around the information!