Creative Director at DL48 Studio
I love pumpkin pie, autumn leaves & the British telly. I also create pretty things for people.
I once had a client fax me 18 pages, handwritten, front and back, of content they wanted on the front page of their site. Every page was illegible and incoherent. It was a nightmare, to say the least.
There’s a misconception when it comes to website copy, and it’s this: there has to be a lot of it. Like, novella type content. A plethora of knowledge spilling out onto the mobile devices, if you will. I’ve had several clients that have come to me and demanded that we put huge blocks of text on a page. Not only that, that text has to be all jammed together at the top of the page.
“Now, Dustin, they have to take a college-accredited course on my business before they call me, okay?”
The thought behind this is, if you want to get your message across and help people understand who you are, what you are about and what you are selling, you need pages and pages of text that explain all of that in great, agonizing detail. This is simply not true.
Having large amounts of text can be overwhelming to Ms. Beaverhausen. Opening up a landing page with 20 different subjects crammed together, each with 2-3 paragraphs is stressful. Not only is it a lot to process, but it’s pulling our poor Ms. Beaverhausen in 20 different directions. It’s like having 20 people surrounding you and shouting in your face, “Hey, what I have to say is important, look over here!” “No! What I have to say is important, look over here!” Before you know it, you have a shoving match, and uncle Merle is on the floor looking for his cane . . . The point is, you don’t want to overwhelm your Ms. Beaverhausen. Remember, she’s skittish and easily spooked.
Speaking of Ms. Beaverhausen’s attention span, you have barely any time to get your message across. Ms, Beaverhausen likes to skim through pages and hunt for the information she’s looking for, and if she can’t easily find it, she’s moving on. Usually within a few seconds.
With your website copy, especially on your landing page, you want to tell a simple, visual story with a clear narrative. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be Hemingway when it comes to your copy. Think of it more like leading Ms. Beaverhausen, down a path with roadsigns pointing to destinations where she can learn more on each topic. This type of copy presentation is the art of MicroCopy.
Once you get to the page detailing about a particular topic, the goal is to still keep it simplified and break it down into sections, however, you can be a bit more detailed.
When developing copy for your website’s pages, the best way to do this is to start with bullet points. Start off with the most important, general points you want to get across to your visitor on this particular page. These bullet points will turn into your section headers, continuing the theme of telling a story. Then under each section header give a simplified description of that section. You can go a step further, breaking it down into subsections, each with descriptions of their own.
Overall, your Landing Page or Home Page should be around 500 to 800 words. Too much and you could bore Ms. Beaverhausen. Too little and you could upset the Search Engine Gods (We like to call them, The Council of Eugene). With every other page, keeping it around 500 to 1200 words is best.
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