Does Your Website Suffer from These 4 Common Copywriting Mistakes?

Written on April 28, 2010 – 4:49 pm | by |

You can have a well-designed website. You can even have an optimized website that ranks high in the search engines for top keywords. But if you don’t have conversion-driven copy, it’s all for nothing. Simply put, your website copy is what determines whether or not a visitor becomes a customer.

writing-mistakesThe good news is writing web copy that sells is actually easier than you might think. The key is to avoid these common copywriting mistakes.

  1. Too much “we-we” talk—I hate to burst your bubble, but your customers don’t want to hear you rambling on and on about how great you think you are. Customers only care about one thing: What’s in it for me? With that in mind, you shouldn’t be saying “we, we, we”, but instead, you need to say “you, you, you.” Here’s a cool tool I like to use when writing web copy: We We Calculator. It grades your copy based on how custom-centric it is.
  2. The copy is difficult to scan—Eye-tracking studies show that users tend to scan online content rather than read it word for word. In fact, online readers scan in an F-shaped pattern. That means you need to focus on making your copy as easy to scan as possible. You can do this by using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, bolded phrases, and by putting the most important information at the beginning of each new paragraph.
  3. Weak headlines lose readers—Your headline should never be an afterthought. It needs to be something you put a lot of thought and effort into. Remember, this is the first thing a new visitor will see. The headline needs to suck them in. You can do this by focusing your headline around a unique benefit of your product or service. Keep it customer-centric!
  4. What’s the benefit?—Speaking of benefits, your copy needs to clearly explain the main benefits of your products and services. In other words, let readers know how your product or service will improve their lives. Just don’t fall into the trap of trying to cover too many benefits as it becomes overwhelming and too much to process. Narrow it down, and focus on the biggest benefits of doing business with you.

What are some other web copywriting mistakes you’ve seen? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Eric Brantner is a website copywriter who has helped hundreds of clients achieve online success. Beyond writing for the web, he also handles brochure copywriting and other print copywriting services.

  1. 11 Responses to “Does Your Website Suffer from These 4 Common Copywriting Mistakes?”

  2. By Andrew Bossola on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve got this one article in my blog that refers to a typo in an ad I saw in my local Home Owners Association newsletter. The blog entry was about the importance of good copy and content. And the headline was “We take Pide in Our Work and It Shows”. If you read the article – it goes on to explain the headline and how we know there is a typo. While I think the irony behind the misspelling and the content of the ad is hilarious, I can’t tell you how many people have said “You know there is a typo on your site?” But, it has started a lot of conversations that otherwise would not have taken place. So I leave post as is. So did the article fail? 1 – they didn’t read the article (not easy scannable or the content was mediocre) 2 – It’s a weak headline… So should I leave the article or remove it? (Or should I just get back to work and stop looking for distractions?)

  3. By jabberstream on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    This is a nice eye-opener. Though it is true that Content is King, it still is very important to look at the quality of your content.Writing compelling content is the key. However some mistakes like vague message of the content is almost always a problem. So, when writing it is important to look at the tips posted in this article and make sure to gather the idea in order to produce a real good content.

  4. By Inventor on May 2, 2010 | Reply

    We are guilty on the “we-we” talk in copies.

  5. By Kashif Intizam on May 3, 2010 | Reply

    Very nice and informative article about article writing this gives me a lot of tips in improving my skills

  6. By Michael Henry on May 4, 2010 | Reply

    Fantastic post – thanks very much. As we are currently looking to start a blog this is incredibly useful, particularly in the attention to details. Your point about encouraging particpation seems really good, as well as the reminder to encourage your community by replying to comments – the community aspect of blogs seems to me to be their most valuable asset, and highlights the ‘natural’ approach as more engaging and productive.


  7. By Eric on May 4, 2010 | Reply

    I think in this particular case, I’d leave it as is because it’s meant to be ironic, and like you said, it started a conversation. Plus, I’m not a big fan of going back and changing old posts. I try to learn from mistakes, and just keep moving forward.

    Thanks for the comment!

  8. By Teena on May 4, 2010 | Reply

    Interesting and I have to agree with you, personally I don’t read word by word instead I scan the article and see something that interesting me, if its worth a read then that’s the time I’m going to read the whole article provided that it’s not too long and does not contain too many technical terms, other bloggers also used technical terms assuming that everybody who visits their site knew all term in SEO, website design, or the product their selling.

  9. By Caddis Tech on May 5, 2010 | Reply

    Nice comments here. I know that I use “we” too much. Its hard not to but makes sense why you should cut back on its use.

  10. By Jacob Stoops on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    I agree that having well thought out headlines can grab a reader’s attention. I also hate when people who have a portfolio site or maybe a 1-person business site use ‘we’ language. It totally takes the personality out of it.

  11. By Web Design Nottingham on Jun 9, 2010 | Reply

    Great article, the art of online copy writing has been growing heavily in the last couple of years. A good read and comprehensive overview of the subject, good work!

  12. By Cy Tarsa on Jul 11, 2010 | Reply

    Excellent post!

    I think we’re all guilty of any of these points at one time or another. The “Too much “we-we” talk” part especially. I read that you should really be addressing what the reader wants to see. And keeping in mind “how can I help solve the reader’s problem?” That has helped me a lot.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

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