Long copy Vs. Usability? What About Relevance and Design?
With time being such a valuable commodity these days, whatâ€™s the best way of providing people with the information they need on your website?
Do they really want to wade through thousands of words of carefully composed, sales driven copy?
Or would they prefer bulleted lists and tidbits of info that communicate your productâ€™s benefits as quickly as possible?
Well, this was the debate on Bob Blyâ€™s blog recently, when he challenged web usability guru Jakob Nielsenâ€™s view that people donâ€™t read much on the web, and typically only read about 20% of your websiteâ€™s text.
Obviously, there are a lot of facets to this argument, and what works in selling to one website visitor wonâ€™t necessarily be as effective for another.
But as a copywriter, I have to stand on Blyâ€™s side of the fence and join the crowd chanting in support of the power of words.
Emotionally driven long copy can take readers on a carefully woven psychological path until theyâ€™re jumping up and down in their seats and reaching for their credit cards.
Copy can never be too long as long as itâ€™s relevant, compelling and interesting.
After all, would you prefer your shopâ€™s salespeople to talk to your customers as briefly as possible or for as long as the customer is interested in what they have to say?
Copywriting should be wielded with a websiteâ€™s design
Even on brochure style websites, high quality copywriting serves many purposes: it reflects your branding, builds trust in your expertise and enhances the perceived quality of your products.
However, copy shouldnâ€™t be expected to do everything on its own. How itâ€™s presented and how it works with the rest of the websiteâ€™s images, navigation and layout is also vitally important in generating sales.
Unfortunately, a websiteâ€™s copy is often the last element to get ticked off the list during an overhaul.
And this is when copy often fails to be as effective as it could be, when itâ€™s hammered into blocks of white space like a mismatched jigsaw.
So the debate shouldnâ€™t merely be about long copy Vs. usability.
But about how websites are created in the first place, and that more thought needs to be put into how all the elements work together.