As you know, thereâ€™s an abundance ofÂ horribly written corporate websites out thereÂ â€“ with tooÂ much back slapping selfÂ praise and not enoughÂ focus onÂ the customer.
For us copywriters, this presents an opportunity: if you canÂ point out toÂ a companyÂ why theirÂ websiteâ€™s copy isÂ ineffective, they might ask you toÂ give it a makeover. Many companies complain about howÂ poor their websites are at generating sales -Â oftenÂ weak copy is to blame.
Here are a few classic corporate web copywriting mistakes you might want to point out:
Irrelevant copy that wastes visitorsâ€™ time â€“ You know the sort, packed with meaningless marketing clichÃ©s – â€˜paradigm shiftâ€™, â€˜modular best of breed solutionsâ€™, blah, blah, blahâ€¦Copy thatâ€™s notÂ focused on theÂ reader is moreÂ likely to cause yawns andÂ glazed eyes thanÂ people hoppingÂ in theirs seats aboutÂ a productâ€™s benefits.
NoÂ structure or call to action â€“ Every page shouldÂ have anÂ pointÂ of what it wants the reader to think or do. Rather thanÂ endlessly boast about â€˜market leading solutionsâ€™, the copy should be creating an image in peopleâ€™s minds of how a product can solve their problem. As you know, hitting peopleâ€™s emotional buttons is aÂ time provenÂ way of persuadingÂ them to respond to a call to actionÂ (which isÂ anotherÂ key element many corporate web pageâ€™s are missing).
Copywriting by committee â€“ In theory, asking people from different areas of a company to contribute to what the website needs to say makes sense. But you then often end up with the websiteâ€™sÂ copyÂ becoming drowned in track changes and amendments. Yes, getting feedback is important. But it should then be one personâ€™sÂ responsibilityÂ toÂ pull all the elements together into a concisely written website page.
Copy pasted from the corporate brochure â€“ People skim read online and have the attention spans of goldfish. So web copy needs to use short sentences, short paragraphs, plenty of subheads, bullet pointed lists and provide succinct, usable summaries. The internet is also a robotic medium. So addressing the reader as â€˜youâ€™ and writing copyÂ in an approachable tone can help it sound more human. Ideally, pages should be kept to less than 300 words. You can always use arrows or drill down menus to break up long pages into more digestible chunks.
Hasnâ€™t been split tested â€“ Not sure which headline or call to action works best?Â Try split testing the page to find out. Googleâ€™s Website Optimizer will do the trick.
Too many keywords (or not enough) â€“ SEO is a complicated beast, and has evolved a lot since theÂ days of hidden text andÂ keyword stuffing. But you still needÂ enough words in the right places to make sure Google knows what your page is about. Luckily, there are some great tools out there for finding out whether your copyâ€™s on the right track -Â SEOBugz is one tool I use regularly.
So, if youâ€™ve got a spare window next week, have a look at corporate websites in your area to seeÂ which are making these mistakes toÂ drumÂ up some business.
AnyÂ corporate webÂ copywriting mistakes youâ€™d add?
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