Five Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid
 In Blogging

copy-squareI love the fact that WordPress allows people to update their own websites without calling a web designer. If you are someone who is responsible for putting words on a website, here is a list of common website copy mistakes to avoid so that you look good and get better results.

Too Much Text

Presenting your visitors with a wall of text is a sure way to have them not read any of your content. Some people are very attached to all of their words, while others simply don’t know how to write for the web. You really don’t want your website to look like someone copied and pasted text from company documents right onto the web pages.

Another instance of too much text, is the use of long form sales copy on a website. Well-crafted long form copy does work for product launches, but taking too much of an old school sales approach on your website can boomerang, and make your visitors angry.

Too much text on a website is not necessary or helpful. Do people a favor and edit it down to just what you need to say.

Too Little Text

Too little copy is also a problem. It is important to give your visitors enough text to make a decision. Lately, there are a lot of website templates that are primarily visual, which is fine if you’re an artist with a gallery. But if you have content that you want people to read, at least provide a readable title and excerpt that will encourage your visitor to click on the image and read your post.

Well thought out, clear, descriptions are especially important for products and events. Give people words that will entice them to take action, and to buy the product or to purchase a ticket.

Your visitors will be more likely to buy from you if you write your own product descriptions than using content provided by the vendor, which is likely to be used on many other websites.

Using content provided by the vendor is also bad for your SEO since it is considered “duplicate content”. Google rewards sites with good, original content and in an effort to discourage people from using content from other sites; they downgrade sites when they see this.

Text That’s Difficult To Read at a Glance

People scan rather than read website content. The following things make it easier to do so.

  • Font size of 16px
  • Text column no wider than 600 px (55 characters per line)
  • Recommend dark text on light backgrounds
  • Liberal use of headings and subheadings
  • Use bulleted lists
  • Bold keyword phrases
  • Break copy into short paragraphs of a couple of sentences

Made-Up Navigation Menu Names

We know you are clever, but go ahead and make it easy on people and use standard conventions when naming your navigation titles. When people understand what they are seeing they are more likely to select the item. Your navigation terms also help with SEO and it is a waste to use terms that no one will ever search for.

PDF Files are Not for Online Reading

Although you can upload PDFs into a page or post in WordPress, just as you would an image, it’s best to use PDFs as a supplement to what you have actually written.  People want to be able to read the content right on their screens without having to stop and open another file. Also, content buried in PDF files is not searchable by Google so will keep your content from coming up in search results.

If you have content you’d like to have on your website but it is only in a PDF file, first convert the PDF into text and add the words themselves directly to your page or post.  You can then provide a link to the PDF at the end of your post or page. PDFs are great for further detail, printable content or large documents such as eBooks.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Tom Tortorici
    Reply

    Judi, those are some really good insights for reminding us to look at the sites we build from the visitor’s point-of-view. With the too-little vs. too-much copy dilemma, I’m thinking that some visitors are more motivated than others. What if we put headlines and short topic intros near the top of all key pages, like we do with home pages. That would satisfy the ‘scanners.’ Then, add some longer content further down the page for the ‘readers’ who are interested enough to dig deeper.

  • Karen
    Reply

    Judi, these are great tips for a newbie, however if I put all my content on the blog vs a pdf page, how can I keep the information “copy written” my company? I have a copy writing phrase/stamp at the end of each of my articles, which are in pdf. Thanks in advance for the help. Karen 🙂

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Hi Karen, Great question. I never even considered people were using PDFs to protect their content. Did you know I can download a pdf, open in in Adobe Acrobat and copy those words just as easily as I could website copy? If people want to steal your content they will steal your content. Hiding it behind a PDF punishes your honest readers who want the information without having to stop and download and wordy PDF file. It also punishes you by limiting your ability to come up in a Google search for content hidden in the PDF. You can protect yourself from Plagiarism by putting a copyright notice in a visible place on every page of your website. In the sidebar or footer. There is a good example of this content on this page from WordPress.com. There are also ways of checking to see if people have “scraped” your content to use on other sites. Here is a post from PROBLOGGER listing some of those methods.

      I think the bigger problem to a small company is not making your content easily accessible to your readers and to Google to grow your traffic. Can someone steal your content? Yes. Will they? Unlikely. And if you set out to be the best and you post a lot and get a reputation for presenting your information in your own voice, in an easy to understand, friendly, way, you will develop your own loyal fans.

      By the way, I noticed a number of things you could change on your site that would significanly improve your reader’s experience and increase sales for your online store. You might want to consider a Talk it Out Session to go over them.

      In my experience, the bigger problem is that you want

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