Guest post written by Melody Brooks, head copywriter for Sumer, LLC
When a prospect visits your website, you have only a few seconds to grab his or her attention, so your copy needs to be easy to read. We’ve all seen cluttered, copy-heavy websites that made us click away before we read the first paragraph. You don’t want visitors to desert your blog or site, so try the following tips:
Make sure your web copy is large enough to read and has plenty of space on the page.
When your copy is too small or appears crammed, visitors are irritated and don’t want to do the work it takes to read it, so they leave. Use a readable font such as Arial or Helvetica at no smaller than 12 or 14 point, and spread out the copy on the page so it’s easy to read and doesn’t tire the eyes.
However, you want to keep scrolling to a minimum, so don’t stretch the copy too long, and don’t make the page so wide that it takes up the full width of the screen. If you have more than 600 words, consider breaking the copy into two or more separate pages.
Use short sentences.
We’ve all seen blog posts and web pages with long sentences and no punctuation. By the time you get to the end, you have to go back and reread the first part of the sentence! Keep your sentences to 20 words or fewer and use commas, semicolons, colons, dashes, and end punctuation as necessary.
Remember, you want the sentences to flow, but you don’t want them to ramble—nor do you want paragraphs full of choppy, short sentences. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes, but as you write more copy, you’ll know when to keep it short and when to go long.
Limit paragraphs to four or five lines.
Don’t tire your readers with paragraphs that take up half a page. If you split your copy into shorter paragraphs, you give your readers some space to relax. When we write web copy, 90% of the time our paragraphs are four to five lines.
Use easy-to-scan lists or sections with bold headers.
Readers love bulleted lists and short sections because they can skim to find what they need. Take this blog post for example. Even if you read only the bolded headers to save time, you’ll learn something new you can use immediately.
Put your words on a diet.
We often use more words than we need, and those of us who write for a living are guilty too. While adjectives and adverbs enhance and add imagery to copy, words like very, really, and just aren’t necessary. Shorter words and contractions are usually more effective than longer, gentler words, but the verbiage you’ll use depends on your target audience.
Instead of really pleased, use pleased.
Shorten “She’s getting herself ready to travel next year” to “She’s traveling next year.”
Try can’t instead of cannot and won’t instead of will not.
When your copy is easy on the eyes, readers relax and absorb your message. They take the action you tell them to, which should be to contact you and give you money.
Melody Brooks is Sumer’s head copywriter and can be reached at .
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