Web copywriting refers to all of the content you produce for your website. This can include blogs, product pages, service descriptions, and core content about your company such as values statements or “About Us” pages. Due to the variety of formats and the different purposes for each kind of content, many business owners make mistakes when writing copy for their own website.
That doesn’t mean you can’t still put together some great copy. Professional copywriters like ours at SteadyContent have already navigated this minefield and know where to step, so let’s look at some of the common web copywriting mistakes and how to avoid them like a pro.
Five Common Web Copywriting Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Mistake #1: Writing Too Much at Once
In writing, the term “info dump” is used any time too much information is being dumped on the reader. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. They’re probably reading your content on mobile, likely during a quick break or even in the bathroom. Maybe they’re stealing a glance at their screen while at a red light. They don’t have time to read a wall of text.
Long paragraphs and big blocks of text make people give up and look for another article. Even if they like your content and it’s useful, if it’s overwhelming, they’ll walk away. The same is true of your article or post as a whole.
You need to know when a piece has overstayed its welcome. If you’re trying to convert a sale, keep the length of your articles reasonable but not too long. The only time you should be writing very long pieces is if you’re comparing lots of products or services, or putting together a massive Q&A or FAQ.
Solution: Short and Sweet
Most of your content should get to the point right away. Keep paragraphs short. A four-sentence maximum is a good rule to follow.
Product pages and service descriptions should be succinct. You can write up longer pieces describing experiences and giving a review elsewhere. Link to that article within the product page or description so that you keep your reader hooked.
A good way to visualize content is that you want short articles with big ideas and longer articles for smaller ideas. That is, for big picture information and general descriptions, keep the text light. When you dive into every detail and use case, go ahead and elaborate with more words.
Mistake #2: Outdated SEO Practices
If you don’t use proper search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, your content isn’t going to be seen by anyone. Anything that doesn’t land on the first page of search results is unlikely to be seen. Practically speaking, anything after the first 3-5 results is almost invisible.
While you can’t control every aspect of the algorithm, you can make sure your content follows modern practices. Gone are the days of spamming keywords to get a high ranking from a search engine. Likewise, it’s not enough to just have tons of other sites link to yours anymore. Backlink farms used to work wonders, but now they barely register.
If it’s been a while since you’ve brushed up on your SEO, there’s a good chance you’re missing the mark.
Solution: Use Modern SEO Tools
If you have WordPress installed, you can add plugins that help you understand SEO better. One popular solution is RankMath. Other websites like Surfer SEO let you drop your content in and get an evaluation along with recommendations for how to structure and write your copy. These platforms are constantly making adjustments to reflect changes to how algorithms perceive web pages.
Google favors what they call “long clicks”. Long clicks mean that someone spent at least a minute on your page. So give them images and video clips that’ll keep their eyes locked on your content.
Mistake #3: Weak Headlines
One of the most common web copywriting mistakes is in the very first line of text: The headline. Weak headlines usually happen when we fixate too much on keywords and not enough on encouraging action. While you do need to incorporate your keyword into your title and main headings, how you do so is critical.
Suppose we want to promote your store’s selection of wooden watches. We choose “wooden watches” as the keyword phrase. Here comes the weak headline: Why You Should Wear Wooden Watches.
A headline like this is broad and lacks appeal. It’s got no punch. How could we improve it?
Solution: Use Numbers and Exciting Verbs
At the very least, you can upgrade your headlines by giving readers a number. Numbers tend to indicate lists, which give the reader an approximation of how many ideas or products they’ll see in the article. That, in turn, makes them more likely to gauge how useful the article will be.
“Three Reasons Why Wooden Watches Are In” will have far more impact than our previous iteration. The strong statement that wooden watches are “in” might give the reader a bit of FOMO. Three reasons are enough to get someone to click without fear of wasting their time.
You can even add to the impact by opening with a verb. “Stand Out With Our Wooden Watches” gives the reader a reason to look into wooden watches.
Mistake #4: A Lack of Diversity
Diversity in writing takes many forms. The lack of diversity takes only one. When your content is repetitive, people stop reading. Are all of your posts the same length and structure? Do you frequently use the same phrases or words? Do you approach every subject from the same angle?
When you don’t diversify your content, you limit your audience. Likewise, when your sentences all feel stale, you keep clicks from becoming long clicks. No good comes from dull copy. How can you breathe life into your work?
Solution: Create Different Formats
Just like how a game show has recurring segments or special editions, your writing can avoid becoming bland with a variety of formats. Could you interview a customer or client for a blog post? Have you thought about writing a weekly Q&A column that takes questions from your inbox?
You could have a review of one of your products and another article that compares them to competitor’s products. By experimenting with different formats, you keep your content from becoming stale.
Mistake #5: Overly Formal Tone
While a law firm or doctor’s office may want to avoid sounding overly casual, a common web copywriting error is to strip personality out of your writing and draft formal, dry copy. We live in the era of influencers, where everyone wants a dash of personality and individuality behind everything they consume.
Bludgeoning your reader in the head with your elevated diction is unlikely to convince anyone of your superiority. Don’t try to impress: try to convert. That means you know your audience and you write in a way that will speak directly to them.
Overly formal language creates distance between the average reader and your copy. Unless you have a very distinguished clientele, buttoning up too much is probably going to do more harm than good.
Solution: Lighten Up!
Crack a joke once in a while. Throw in a parenthetical sprinkle of sarcasm. Don’t be afraid to laugh a little in your writing. An outburst of emotion mid-sentence gives your writing a human quality that is inherently attractive.
Formal writing loathes to use “I”, but sometimes a good personal experience breaks down barriers between client and company. You can make people feel understood and identified with your brand when you share real experiences.
Hire the Web Copywriting Experts
Anyone can write copy, but few can write copy that truly shines. Here at SteadyContent, we seek out that small percentage of expert writers and put them to work for you. Our staff can handle content on any kind on any topic. We pool together writers from a variety of backgrounds to ensure we always have a pro for every situation.
If you would like to find out more, contact us at SteadyContent today to set up a meeting.