In 10 short years, websites have evolved from business novelty to necessity, perhaps now the most important part of a business’ marketing and branding arsenal. For very small shops to the largest publicly-traded corporations, websites have become both the most preferred and the most interactive way for companies to communicate with their customers and prospective customers. And though many of the same fundamentals of good offline copywriting apply to the online world, there are distinct differences in both content presentation and strategy that are important for anyone involved in website copywriting-whether it be a writer, designer, creative director or client-to be aware of.
1. Website copywriting needs to be shorter
It’s been scientifically proven that readers’ eyes tire quicker reading a computer screen than they do a printed page. But more important than that, website copywriting needs to be short because of the nature of the medium. Computers are all about speed in information gathering, dissemination and understanding. And the amount of verbal content a company presents on its website must take that fact into account. If the concept can be explained in one sentence instead of three, use one. If a simpler word can be used in lieu of a longer, more complex word, go with the simpler. Concentrate on quality without the quantity. It can be done and done very well.
2. Good website copywriting starts with a home page that incites curiosity
On a home page, many organizations wax about how long their company has been in business, how many employees they have and other assorted topics, which do nothing to whet the reader’s appetite. Instead, use the homepage to introduce your company as a solution to a problem your market has. That way, you’re presenting your readers with a valuable reason to continue reading.
3. Customer testimonials are an integral part of great website copy
Often, the best website copywriting doesn’t come from you or your copywriter. It comes from your customers’ personal experiences. Assuming your company has satisfied customers, what they say about you can be much more credible than anything you say about yourself, and they can reinforce the credibility of the claims you do make about yourself.
4. Add a personal touch to complement the facts
A website is nothing more than a computerized, interactive introduction (e-commerce not withstanding) to who you are as a company and what you do. And just like a personal introduction, what often follows the “facts” are topics of a more personal nature. Good website copywriting always includes this type of content in a secondary location of the site-a place not hard to find, but not up front and center either. Why is this important? Because people want to get to know the companies they’re going to work with or do business with. They’re interested in the personalities that run your organization and the culture and philosophy behind it.