The Art of (Bad) Web Copywriting

May 24, 2012 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Advertising, Branding, Business Success, Interactive


Website copywriting is an art of its own. Although it contains some traditional elements, it’s very different than blog writing, editorial writing, ad copywriting….you get the idea. However, more often than not, some brands/companies and even self-proclaimed professional writers don’t see this distinction. Here are the most common web copywriting mistakes:

1. Too much copy
This mistake often steers visitors towards the Close button. Too much copy can be overwhelming. The lead should be up front, important information such as who you are and what you do should be easy to find. Now, I know some of you might be thinking that you need a lot of copy for SEO purposes, but that’s not all true. Yes you need to have more than a sentence or two, but even that one sentence, if it contains the right SEO-friendly keywords, can be very effective. Copy should be clear, concise and to the point and SEO optimized.

2. Unorganized copy
Closely related to the “too much copy” issue, this again can cause visitors to steer clear of your site. If your copy isn’t organized and just plopped in without a method to the madness, your site will not perform the way it should. The site-map and navigation should fall under the copywriter’s responsibility – web copy needs to not only read well, but it needs to flow and navigate well too.

3. Not SEO optimized
I touched on this in first mistake but let me expand. SEO is important for website performance and it should not be ignored when writing web copy. Utilize search engine key word tools and look for terms that you should be using in your web copy. Don’t forget the meta tag titles and descriptions – they provide the hook in search results that could turn a search into a visit.

web copywriting

4. No benefits
Similar to advertising, web copy should reflect the benefits of your brand or service. What’s in it for your customers? Why should they choose your brand/service? What do you have that your competitors don’t? Your website can often be your first selling feature, and if you don’t have the benefits outlined you could end up losing out.

5. Not focusing on a target market
Whom are you speaking to? Web copy should speak to your clients and what they need – tailor the message. It’s not enough to simply introduce your brand/service – you have to also talk about what you can do for your clients. There’s a difference between “we offer this” and “we offer YOU this”. If you’re talking to your brand/services more than you’re talking to your clients, your copy needs a refresh.

These 5 mistakes seem like common sense but just take a look around the web, and I guarantee that there’s no shortage of websites that fall victim to at least one of the afore mentioned web copy no-no’s.

 Do you have any examples of poorly written sites that we could all learn from? 

About the author

Madi Secareanu Madi brings a fresh perspective to the 3H Communications team. She is a creative go-getter with a background in social media, copywriting and global marketing communications. She has an affinity for powerful writing, social media and creative direction. Subscribe to Hoopla to get Madi’s and our 3H perspective.

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Good article, Madi. When desktop layout programs hit the mainstream, everyone became a “designer”. Now you can send an email to thousands of people or build an entire website in minutes from the comfort of your own phone. We knew before that everybody was a “writer” but now it flows through millions of poorly developed sites and messages. In many cases “marketers” themselves have forgotten the basics of good communication. Not enough thought is going into the work because if there’s a problem the content can be changed so easily (or the client is dictating the content). That mentality leads to very ineffective copy writing, design, and marketing in general.

  • Miriam Hara

    So true Brian! We are in the do-it-yourself era… where good enough is well, good enough, but it really isn’t. The art of copy on a web site is very specific and a process needs to be followed in order to make sure that the information flow is easy to find and understand. Of course, let’s not forget about SEO and the ability for copywriters to integrate key words seamlessly!

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