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Bluefinch Creative Blog

Web Writing: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

December 12, 2013

I came across a great article by Brad Shore of Smashing Magazine on the topic of web writing/copywriting and some common mistakes to avoid.

Yes, a website can be stunning in design, but poorly written content will prevent visitors from taking action. What will entice users to do something? When it comes to online marketing, content is still king. (Excuse me if I sound like a broken record.)

Brad says, “No matter how brilliant a website’s design, no matter how elegant its navigation, sooner or later visitors will decide to take action because of something they read. In the end, the effectiveness with which a website converts visitors hinges on words.”

I couldn’t agree more, Brad. I’ve paraphrased the article below for your reading pleasure:

Error #1: Self-Focused Content


Features and technical specs are boring. Yawn. Brad calls this the “inward-focus syndrome.”

What does that mean? You spend your time dealing with the ins-and-outs of your products or services, and your vision gets myopic. YOU think your products are interesting, and you love to talk about them. But do your visitors like reading about them? Sure, you want to shout your finely tuned marketing message from the roof-top, but remember that your visitor is in a what’s-in-it-for-me mind-state. Your web writing/copywriting should reflect that.

Error #2: Burying The Lead


Subtlety is not your friend when it comes to web copywriting.
Visitors will spend a nano-second trying to find your point, then they’re gone. If you have something important to say, sum it up. Your website conversion rates will drop if you aren’t able to quickly communicate the importance of a page. Read the paragraph below and you tell me which one stands out more:

Web writing/copywriting for smart business owners. Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Web copywriting for smart business owners. Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Catch my drift? Take an inventory of your web pages. Are you communicating your leading point effectively, or is it getting lost in the clutter? Readers need a reason to take action. Don’t make that hard, or your online conversions will suffer.

Error #3: Sub-Par Meta Material


In our search-heavy, Google-focused online world, you’re really missing out if you don’t optimize your Meta Data for search engine optimization (SEO).

Meta Data isn’t just great for SEO, but it’s important from a user perspective. Well-written Meta title and Meta description tags build brand awareness, improve how search results are displayed, and help along conversions.

Meta Title: This provides the user with a clear description of the subject matter of the page, and is ideally under 70 characters.

Meta Description: The Meta description tag is a portion of text that is displayed on the search engine results page, usually under a link. It’s best to keep the Meta description tag to less than 155 characters, roughly.

Error # 4: Information Overload

When it comes to web copywriting, brevity is a beautiful thing. Need I say more?

Error #5: Ho-Hum Call To Action


A well-written and persuasive page of content won’t act on its own. You need a strong call to action (CTA).
Visitors are busy, they have lives. Don’t be presumptuous and assume they’ll be spell-bound by your fancy words. Give them a reason to pick up the phone, email you, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.

Brad says: “In the real world of web marketing, visitors want to be led. If they have to stop and think about how to take the next step, you’ve already lost them.” I couldn’t have said it better.

If you’d like to read the full article, you can find it here. Anything to add? Over to you, web writing enthusiasts!

About The Author
Content brought to you by Tanya Roberts, a Vancouver-based online marketing consultant that specializes in slick content strategy to rock your website traffic, build your brand, gain leads, and increase sales. Tanya is an experienced marketer, copywriter/editor, freelance writer, internet/online marketing consultant, and social media specialist. You can also find Tanya on Google Plus. Results matter; here are a few of .

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