The Importance of Great Website Copy

I know this is a design blog, but I’ve always been a firm believer that a great design is totally ineffective if not paired with the right words. To me, the best websites (and other marketing/advertising materials) are the perfect combination of clean design and powerful copy. When both the look and the words are just right, that’s when you have a website that converts visitors at a high rate.

But what makes for good website copy? Here’s a simple checklist you should use to grade the content of your site. Great copy is…

  • User-focused—Too many companies get caught up in talking only about themselves. Their websites are full of “we”, “I”, “us”, and not enough “you”s. Here’s a little piece of advice. Nobody cares about you. Customers don’t care about your company or how great you think you are. All they want to know is how they’ll benefit by doing business with you. Focus on the user, not on yourself.
  • Optimized for the search engines—I’ve talked pretty extensively about SEO on this blog. A well-optimized site includes content that is targeted around specific keywords relevant to your products and services. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with the keywords. You want your copy to sound natural, not spammy and robotic.
  • Easy to scan—Did you know web users tend to scan content rather than read it word for word? It’s true. With that in mind, you need to organize your copy in a way that it’s easy to scan. How can you do this? Use short paragraphs, bulleted lists, subheads, and bolded phrases to guide the eyes to important messages.
  • Focused on the benefits—Again, it all comes down to letting readers know how they stand to benefit by using your product or service. Rather than getting caught up in the technical specs and features of your product, explain the end benefit of using it. For example, the benefits of driving a hybrid car are that it saves you money on fuel costs and is good for the environment. There’s no need to get bogged down with the technical aspects of how it works.
  • Inviting and easy to understand—I always say—write like you talk. I can’t stand it when I come across copy that’s full of jargon and that reads like a corporate handbook. Be personable and friendly with your copy. It helps you connect better with your customers.

Take a look at the copy on your website. Could it be better?

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