The average user will spend no more than 27 seconds on a web page – so how do you persuade them to stick around for longer? You need to create web copy that follows the AIDA principle: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
However, this certainly isn’t easy to accomplish, and there’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours poring over your web copy, only to find that it’s not generating the results you were hoping for. If your conversions are low, your bounce rate is high, and your online contact form is gathering dust, one or more of these 5 pitfalls could be the culprit.
1. Your web copy isn’t scan-able
According to Joe Pelissier’s e-book ‘The New Rules of Writing for the Web’, 79% of readers scan copy rather than read it and only 16% read word-by-word. If your content can’t be skim-read, you could lose a good chunk of your audience. Try adding subheadings, breaking up paragraphs, and highlighting the most crucial sections in a different font or colour. Of course, all of your copy should be high quality and enjoyable to read, but making your copy scan-able will help capture users’ attention, and reduce your bounce rate
2. You’ve overused your keywords
If you’re still asking “how many keywords should be on each page?” you’ve totally missed the point of producing high quality, Google friendly content in the first place. Yes, it’s important to write your copy around your core keywords, but far too many brands are still so focused on jamming keywords into their copy that they forget about the readability of the text. This ‘keyword stuffing’ can actually have the opposite of the intended effect – Google has made it perfectly clear through a series of algorithm updates that it takes a dim view of keyword spam. Only use your keywords in a context where they are relevant and genuinely helpful to users.
3. You’ve assumed too high a level of knowledge
Another mistake that a surprising number of brands continue to make is assuming that their audience has the same level of knowledge about their products and services as they do. Whilst you don’t want to insult the intelligence of your audience by patronising them, you don’t want to alienate them either, and using a lot of technical vocabulary, unexplained acronyms or “in jokes” will quickly have your prospective customers hitting the ‘back’ button to choose a competing website that explains itself clearly. You don’t need to overcomplicate your brand’s copy in order to impress – readers are far more likely to engage with clear, succinct messaging.
4. You haven’t answered the question
Users visit your website because they have a question they need answering. They may be looking for information, advice, or a product or service. You need to know what people are looking for when they visit your website, and make sure you give it to them. Your web copy needs to be all about the user: How do they feel about their situation? What problem are they trying to solve? And, most importantly, how can you help? Your web copy needs to present a strong, confident brand voice that addresses your users’ concerns, shows them that you understand, and showcases your brand as an authority that can provide the right solution.
5. You’re not integrating your website into a wider content strategy
If you’re ploughing all your digital marketing efforts into your website and ignoring other online marketing channels, you’re missing out on a lot of extra traffic. Blogging, social media marketing, email marketing, and video marketing are all valid techniques that can raise the profile of your website.