No, not that kind of copy. I’m talking about copy, you know, those words and things. Ah words, often overlooked with all the fancy graphics, Flash animations and other assorted things everyone focuses on nowadays.
But lets face it, when it comes to selling services or just information, content rules. So why, then, is text on the Web so maligned? Well, let me clarify that: bad text is what everybody complains about. The problem with good text, and why you never hear about it, is simple: no one notices good text! When your web copy seamlessly blends into your site and is easy to read, you’re not going to get many complaints about it. But put in ugly, unclear, hard to read copy and watch the neighbors complain — or worse, just stop visiting your site.
So, now that we’ve decided good copy is better than bad, what exactly does good copy entail? Good, compelling copy people are going to read through can be defined by three parts: length, content, and position.
Let’s start with content. Obviously, selling products takes a far more persistent approach than if you are just providing information. But more importantly in good content is making a point. How many sales sites have you seen that just go on and on, usually about nothing? We all hate that, yet we’ve probably all done it too.
That leads us into our second topic, length. Is short copy better? Or is being a little wordy better? Here is where the content and length go together. You need to use enough words to make your point and no more. Sounds simple, right? If you break it down, it really is that simple, only use the words necessary to sell your product or get your message across.
But, what if you need a lot of length to get your point across? This is where the third point comes into play. Positioning can make long text easier for your reader to digest. The main thing to keep in mind is to keep your readers interested. Paragraph and page breaks can be more important than actual content when it comes to holding interest. For example, in this article and this paragraph, notice the “but” at the beginning? It’s there to catch your eye, just in case you were thinking about going somewhere. Starting a new paragraph with words likes “and” or “but” make the reader think they’ll miss something if they turn away. The other, more noticeable break is a page break. The key here is to NOT break an article in a good spot. Break the page in the middle of an intriguing thought process. Make sure the last sentence on the first page makes the reader have to check out the next line on page two. Getting someone to change pages on the web isn’t always easy, but it isn’t as difficult or scary as you might have thought.
Well, if your still reading this article, then at least some of my ideas worked. Writing effective online copy doesn’t take any more than a little thought and planning — but a little psychology helps, too.