Category Branding, Digital, Inspiration, Promotions
Don’t let bad copy undermine your internet marketing efforts. What constitutes bad copy? Let’s take a look at 7 ways to screw up website copy below.
1. Use a Lot of Jargon
Don’t let your website content read like a combination of these flashcards. Although you may have business-specific terminology, try to make your website understandable to the general public.
Why? Unless your site is an industry forum, you are probably trying to sell to people outside of your industry, who will be lost trying to make sense of your jargon-filled copy. Instead, they’ll use your competitor’s easy to understand products and services.
A good example of jargon-free website content? Check out basecamphq.com.
2. Use a Lot of 25 Cent Words
In general, your website content should be readable on a 6th – 8th grade level. That means not using words like “pernicious” in your website copy.
What’s the readability of your website content? This is a great tool to check your website content readability.
3. “Over-optimize” Your Content
Good SEO copywriters write with a focus on user experience, conversions and top search engine results. Being found in the search engines is only part of the battle. If your website is stuffed with keywords and written without usability and conversions in mind, you’ve screwed up your website content.
4. Don’t Include Any Call to Actions
Your content should have a call to action so that the reader clearly understands what to do next. This doesn’t have to be selling to them on every page. Calls to action can also include other conversions or key events, like downloading a whitepaper, signing up for an RSS feed, reading the next product benefit or viewing a video.
The calls to action in your copy will help guide the visitor to the next step you want them to take.
5. Only Talk About Yourself or Your Company
Your company or organization is awesome! Unfortunately, readers don’t really care. All they want to know is how your awesome company can help them.
Does your website copy talk about your company too much? Try this test:
- How many times does your copy say “we”?
- Now every time you see the word “we” in your website content, try to rewrite the content so it uses the word “you”. This exercise will help you write about how your products or services can help your audience– which they will actually want to know!
6. Use Long Chunks of Text
People read differently online. Essentially– they scan. To make it easier for them to scan your content and find exactly what they need, write short sentences and paragraphs. Add breaks in your copy. It’s even okay to have one sentence paragraphs.
The name of the game is to get a user the information they need quickly and easily. Don’t make them read a lot to get there.
7. Have Typos and Grammatical Errors
Typos and grammatical errors in copy can signal that the owner didn’t care enough about the copy to proofread it before posting it online to represent his or her organization. Like it or not, if you have simple errors in your content, readers can think less of you and possibly your company’s attention to detail and intelligence level.
Don’t just copy and paste your content into Microsoft Word to scan for errors, read through your website copy to catch errors like using the wrong “there”.
What else screws up website copy? What irritates you the most about bad website copy? Let’s keep this list going in the comments!
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