Copywriting for the Web: The Good, The Bad, and The Copy
When it comes to good web copy there’s no simple mathematical equation to make your content a success. The process is admittedly subjective – what constitutes good web copy to one will read like a bag of wet sausages to another.
The only real dividing factor between The Good, The Bad, and The Copy, is how successful your content turns out to be in real terms i.e. does it sell your message and reach its intended target?
Well does it…?
As discussed in the previous post, get things underway by ring fencing your audience. This will automatically set you on the right travel of direction with regards to creating winning content.
Now you know who you are writing for it’s time to prepare the necessary ingredients.
Let’s make a cake
As a general guideline, it’s best to set your ego aside when writing for the web. All too often – and on occasion I have fallen victim to this –copywriters lose sight of their audience. Unless the subject demands it, avoid the pitfalls of novelistic devices and flowery prose. If you are writing web copy for a new line of washing machines, a Dickensian one page exposition might not be the most fitting approach.
Sure it sounds good, but does it sell?
Have a look round your room right now – unless you’re sat on a beach – and you’ll be amazed by the extent of copy that falls into your eye line. No doubt you’ve forked out hard-earned money on some of these products so the chances are the copy attached to them is successful.
Typically, but not always, triumphant web copy veers away from the complexities of creative writing in favour of the simplistic.
So complex sentences, long words, jargon-heavy paragraphs may make us look smart, but given the trend for people to scan online, it’s often not the best route.
The key objective is to sell the message.
Flip the coin and where appropriate use short sentences, be snappy and to the point, deploy simple words that are easy to read and don’t require a dictionary.
As George Orwell recognised: why use a long word when a short one will do? Atta-boy George!
So take unnecessarily long words out and parachute simpler equivalents in. In doing so, why not use contractions such as ‘don’t’, instead of ‘do not’, or ‘you’re’, as opposed to ‘you are’.
By limiting the verbiage and getting straight to the point, not only will your content cater for the needs of the online reader, but the visual layout will also become more succinct and easier on the eye.
It’s a win win situation.
Less is often more, just let the subject and your audience dictate the copy.