Things to Avoid When Writing Copy for Websites

Visiting a company’s website is a crucial step in the customer journey. According to recent studies, 38% of users will stop engaging with a website if the content is unappealing. More so, 66% of users admit that if given 15 minutes to consume content, they would be most likely read something well-crafted than something plain. 

But it doesn’t stop there! A website’s content can make or break your business. Meaning that a site with complicated, vague, or unappealing content can tarnish a brand’s credibility — affecting its image and, ultimately, sales. On the other hand, an excellent written website can broaden your company’s audiences, create leads, and close deals. 

So, how do you write a compelling hard-working copy? The truth is that there is no magic formula. Nonetheless, there are many mistakes that you can avoid. 

Below, we will go over the most important things to avoid when writing copy for websites:

1. Avoid simple writing mistakes

A poorly written website is a “red flag.” Simple writing mistakes, although very common, make your company look unprofessional and sloppy. Plus, it also gives potential clients the idea that you do not pay attention to details. An idea that they will most likely extend to the way you do business, your products, or services. 

Therefore, make sure your website is free of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, typos, and any other simple writing mistake. Take your time to proofread and edit your content. 

2. Stay away from long paragraphs and run-on sentences

Research shows that users spend an average of 5.59 seconds, looking at a website’s content. Thus, you only have, literally, seconds to engage with your audience. Meaning that your copy should be short and straight forward.

Do not write long paragraphs or never-ending sentences as odds are no one will be compelled to read them. Instead, try using headings and sub-headings so users can easily find the information they are looking for on your site. Another great way of dividing your website’s copy is by using lists and bullets. 

Once you have gotten your readers’ initial attention, you can reel them in with persuasive and exciting copy that keeps them engaged. 

3. Don’t ignore your audience

It is essential to know who is your target audience, as this will help you cater to their specific needs and wants. So, before you can write a single word, think about your reader. Consider their demographics (e.g., gender, age, income, location) and psychographics (e.g., lifestyle, interests, values, personality.) If you know your audience, it will be much easier for you to craft a message that resonates or connects with them. 

Once you have finished writing your copy, read it as if you were the customer; then ask yourself these questions:

• Are you interested?

• Do you understand everything that is being said?

• Do you agree with what the copy is saying?

• Would you buy the product/service the company is selling based solely on the information provided?

• Do you identify with the content?

If you answered “no” to one (or more) of these questions, figure out what your copy is missing and how you can make it better. 

4. Avoid being too vague 

There is a fine line between being concise and being too vague. When writing copy for a website, you need to understand what readers want to know (e.g., who you are, what you are selling, why they should buy it.) Keep in mind that thanks to the Internet, customers have infinite options they can choose from when deciding to buy a product, hire a service, or engage with a brand’s content. 

So, research what competitors are doing and think about how you can make your company stand out. For instance, if you are selling shoes, think about what makes your brand different from every other sneakers’ brand. Is it their design? Is it their price? Is it the brand’s personality? Analyze what specific content can set you apart from others and craft your content around that. 

But remember to keep it short. Customers need enough information to get excited about your brand. However, they do not need to know all the company’s ins and outs, not right off the bat. 

5. Don’t forget to use clear CTAs

Your website needs to include clear and specific “calls to action” (CTA). Think of it this way, customers found your site, they like what they are seeing, they are already interested, now what? Make sure users know what to do next! Your copy must always invite clients to do something.

However, note that each copy can have a different action for the audience to carry out depending on your brand, product, or service. Plus, there are other things to consider, like the company communications strategy and marketing objectives. Thus, depending on your goals, you might want to use a general CTA such as “Buy now” or something more specific such as “Get a free quote today.” 

Below, some common CTAs to get you started:

• Discover More/Learn More

• Try for free/Free Trial

• Add to cart/ Buy now

• Get started/Sign Up

• Join Us/ Subscribe

• Call today/Schedule an appointment

• Why Us/How we can help

• Download/View

6. Don’t ignore keywords

Keywords are crucial for websites because they aid search engines to identify the topic that your site covers. Thus, when a user searches specific terms or phrases, they can re-direct them to the sites that include relevant content related to their search. 

Hence, you should always include keywords when writing website copy SEO optimised. But, beware of common mistakes such as:

• Keyword stuffing — including random keywords within your text only to appear on customers’ searches.

• Writing copy for the search engines rather than for the person who is reading your website. 

• Not using the right keywords — avoid broad generic keywords that could attract visitors that are not interested in what your site offers. 

• Ignoring your keywords’ density — think about how often you are repeating your keywords. As a rule of thumb, keywords should only make up 2-3% of your website’s copy. 

If you avoid all these things, your website’s copy will have a better chance of connecting with your audience and accomplishing the company’s communications and sales objectives. 

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