Imagine all salesmen were mimes. Hilarious? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely not. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a successful sales pitch without using words. So why is it that copywriting for the web is one of the most frequently overlooked parts of web design?
While images, layout and design form the face of your digital presence, it’s the copy that’s the voice of your brand. And it has a big job to do.
Copywriting for the web must:
Reading the above you’ll begin to get an idea of why existing promotional copy, designed for print media, is generally not reusable for websites. It all boils down to the way people read and interact with media online.
Why do people read differently online?
The answer to this lies in the basic nature of the internet – vast, full of information and full of rubbish, with the next best thing only a click away.
It’s that last bit that’s the kicker. If your user isn’t immediately engaged, has to work to find what he’s looking for, or doesn’t identify with your brand, it’s on to better things with one click of his mouse. He doesn’t have the time, or inclination to delve deeply into long reams of text.
So how do you get your message out without your users losing interest?
Optimisation: SEO and Generating Traffic
Optimisation deserves separate mention, as it’s unique to copywriting for the web, and vital to generating traffic. It’s all very well writing pithy, persuasive copy, but it’s worth nothing if nobody ever finds your site. It’s a rare internet user who goes beyond the first page of search results. If you think they’re going to find you on page five, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a complex art, but the basics are simple enough.
The Basics of SEO
It’s important to remember that search engines are getting more and more sophisticated all the time. They are extremely good at picking up on when you try to scam the system.
If your content is relevant, engaging, and creates a good user experience, uses pertinent keywords and phrases and has legitimate links, you’re well on your way to great optimisation.
Copywriting for the web really is a different beast, so next time a client asks if you can copy-paste their print copy into their Home Page, refer them to this article. If you’re the one asking whether it’s worth doing a full rewrite, then hopefully we’ve answered your question.
Writing effective copy for the web requires careful thought and planning. Don’t jeopardise the success of your website by ignoring your most powerful tool.