Can I persuade you to read all the way to the end of this blog post?

Posted on Dec 17th 2014

Last week’s guest speaker at the Connect Derby Event held at Friar Gate Studios was Christine Cawthorne of Crocstar, a copywriting agency based in Derby. 

Christine provided the audience with some really insightful tips on how to write copy for websites. 

We’re great at pictures, less so words and found the information really helpful. Here’s a snapshot of what Christine talked about.

Writing content for websites is hard. You know this already because you spend a lot of time avoiding reading when you’re online.

Reading from a screen is uncomfortable. You don’t blink as often, making your eyes dry. Your eyes are constantly refocusing on the text. The backlight is too bright. It’s off-putting.

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People don’t want to be bombarded by marketing messages about how great the company is - they have a task in mind when going to a website. Users want to buy something, perhaps, or find out how to do something. They’re looking to complete the transaction as quickly as possible. So finding, reading and understanding information is important.

We can help people do this by writing in plain English. Use simple words. Keep sentences short. People prefer to read simpler language online as they are scanning, rather than taking their time to read.

Don’t use jargon. The difficult thing is to recognise when you are using it. Translating it into what you actually mean is your second task. This is hard, but think of all that time you’re saving your users.

The quicker someone reads and understands something on a website, the more satisfied they’ll be. Trust levels go up. People even tend to stay longer on the site.

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Add paragraph breaks to increase the amount of white space around the words. This helps you read more easily, particularly if users are on tablets and mobiles. We need those visual clues to help us get through the text.

Subheadings and bullets also add to the overall impression that the copy is easy to get through and will persuade users to keep reading.

Consider what the users are on the site to do. Write as little text as possible and put important messages at the beginning of paragraphs. Users rarely read to the end of text, but they will read the start. Avoid lengthy explanations and background information.

If you want people to read your website, trust you and even buy from you, then consider their experience when they’re on your site. Write simply and clearly. Don’t take too much of their time.

For copywriting and social media management or training on how to do those things, visit the Crocstar website.

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