• Anna Milward

10 Reasons Your Web Copy Sucks

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

Website copy

So you’ve spent hours slaving over your web copy, you’ve drafted it two, three, possibly even four times, you finally hit publish and…nothing. Well, except the sound of crickets chirping and a few tumbleweeds drifting by. This is a scenario I think most of us are familiar with and it’s one that can leave even the most enthusiastic writers feeling confused and frustrated.

While we all have blog posts, articles and landing pages that bomb from time to time, if you are writing your own web copy and it’s consistently not converting or getting any social media love then you have an issue.

Before you get too disheartened, ineffective web copy doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. Great writing skills are only part of the story when it comes to creating compelling web copy.

Here are ten non-quality-of-writing related reasons why your web copy might be missing the mark.

1. You don’t know your audience

If there’s one golden rule of copywriting, it’s this – know your audience. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, whatever you put out there is nothing more than groping in the dark. Before you even type your first word you should have a clear picture of your ideal reader, their wants, their needs and what type of language is going to connect with them.

2. You think spellcheck is for amateurs

Little typos and spelling and grammar mistakes may not seem important to you, but they can give an overall impression of carelessness that may irritate your readers and send them elsewhere. Always proofread your work and ideally give it to someone else to look over before you publish it. A fresh set of eyes can spot little mistakes that you may have missed, even if you’ve read over it 20 times. A good working knowledge of grammar is also helpful. Make sure you understand the difference between its and it’s, there and their and know how to spot a misplaced apostrophe.

3. You don’t actually know what you’re hoping to achieve

Setting out to write a piece of content without an objective is like striking out on a bushwalk with no idea where you’re going. You will ramble around aimlessly from place to place without any sense of purpose. While this might be nice enough for a relaxing weekend stroll, if you’re writing web copy to get results, you need to have a clear idea what those results are or like a Sunday afternoon rambler, your copy will end up meandering aimlessly without a clear purpose and your readers will get lost.

4. Your content is focused on you, not the reader

This is a mistake I see people make all the time. We’ve all been to a party or networking event and encountered the bore who bangs on about themselves continuously so nobody else can get a word in. Don’t be that person. If you’re writing web copy with the purposes of pushing the hard sell on your products or services stop. Marketing may have been like that two decades ago but people don’t want to be sold to any more, they want advice, support and something that helps them.

5. You haven’t included a call to action

If there’s no call to action, how can you expect people to act? The call to action comes at the end of your web copy and tells your readers what you want them to do next. Adding calls to action can make a surprisingly big difference to your conversion rates. Even if you think it’s obvious what you want your readers to do, a call to action can give them a good prompt and a nudge in the right direction.

6. You’ve peppered your copy with businessy cliches in a bid to sound smart

We’ve all done it, and while in the 1990s corporate buzzwords may have sounded impressive, these days they are likely to lead to confusion at best and induce excessive eye rolling on the part of the reader at worst. Many of the terms used in business today have been so overused they have become meaningless and relying on them can give the impression that you are a lazy writer, or that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. If you’re tempted to throw in phrases like ‘outside the box,’ ‘low hanging fruit,’ or ‘paradigm shift’ step away from the keyboard. Think about what you are actually trying to say and just say that instead.

7. You believe in using five words where one will do

Brevity is an art form when it comes to web copy. Even if you are William Shakespeare, your readers aren’t going to be interested in wading through reams of flowery prose. They want information and they want it as quickly and in as easily digestible a form as possible. This means being succinct and cutting out unnecessary words and phrases. Words like “however” and “therefore” are not necessary and using them makes your writing sound waffly and ponderous. Try taking them out and see if it changes the meaning of the sentence. Trust me, it won’t, and your copy will be much tighter as a result.

8. Your website or blog is poorly designed

Unfortunately when it comes to web copy, the sad truth is that readers do judge a book by its cover. Even the best written web content can lose credibility if it’s published on an out of date or badly designed site. If your content isn’t getting the results you want, maybe it’s time to pay some attention to your website or blog design to ensure it looks top notch.

9. You’ve sacrificed art for science

Are you a fan of copywriting formulas? While they have their place it’s important not to get so hung up on the science of copywriting that you forget the art. Your copy might tick all the boxes but if it doesn’t have any genuine personality or depth to it, chances are it’s not going to get the results you need.

10. You’re writing for search engines, not for people

It’s important for any writer to pay attention to SEO but if you write solely for search engines at the expense of readability you may attract a lot of traffic but your bounce rate will be through the roof. In the long run you’re better off attracting fewer visitors and writing engaging content that will make them want to learn more and connect with you and your business on a deeper level.

If your web copy isn’t performing at the level the problem might not be with your writing skills. A few changes can make a surprising difference and help you get more from your web copy in the future.

Copy still not getting the results you want? I can help you transform your low performing web copy into a lean, mean conversion machine. Drop me a line to find out more!

#persuasivewriting #brandvoice #compellingcopy

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