And keep the most important message.
It’s true. People don’t always read all the copy.
So how to make sure the person who lands on your website gets the key message to convince them that your product or service is better than the competition?
Copy is as important as the way it’s presented.
If you use tiny font, clumps of text, not leaving space to breathe, without highlighting any idea and without adding any image, it will be almost impossible for people to read what you have to say.
That’s why it’s so important to know how to lay out your web copy.
In this post we’re going to look at what techniques work best to make the copy easy to read and to scan.
What does scan mean in this context?
What you, me and everyone else does nowadays: scan a page for the information we are interested in, without reading the whole thing and if we don’t find it quickly, we leave.
So let’s see how we can make people find the information they need and keep the most important message of our sales copy.
Here we go.
A weak headline which doesn’t attract the attention of your target customer is already a bad start.
The headline is the first obstacle you need to overcome, because if it isn’t powerful or convincing enough, you are not going to make your prospects stop and read the copy.
With the headline you allure your buyer persona into your universe by creating curiosity and teasing the benefit they can get if they read more.
There are many types of headlines but one of the formulas that works best is this one:
Tease the value of what you offer and embellish the benefit prospects get.
This formula is what in copywriting we call fascinations and we use them in headlines but also in email subjects or product descriptions.
Recommended reading How to write fascinations
Once you’ve managed to make your prospects stay on your website, most of them will only stop and read what catches their attention.
If the copy is very well written and the person is really interested, they may read everything, but most of them will scan the copy looking for quick information.
So we need to highlight what we want to stay in the reader’s mind.
Headings will help us to guide the reader to where we want them to go, since they are in a larger font, and even in a different colour, they don’t go unnoticed.
Take advantage of H1, H2 and H3 to summarise the most important messages you want the reader to retain.How to upload the copy to your website so people read it #copywriting #uxdesign #webdesign #uxcopywriting Click To Tweet
Let’s look at an example.
Coach Accountable is an app for coaches to organise the work they do with their clients. Clients can view materials, create reminders, etc. in the app.
Their homepage is quite long because they need to explain why this app is going to improve prospects’ lives.
Since there’s quite a lot of text they use headings and colours to highlight the key points they want the reader to take away.
Italics, underline and bold
Like everything else in life, if we overuse headings, they will lose their power because they will no longer stand out and the reader will stop reading them.
Therefore we need to use other means to highlight messages. For this we can underline or write in italics or bold.
In copywriting we use this technique a lot: from time to time we write in italics a key word that we want to highlight in a sentence, we also do it to break the monotony of the text.
Bold words should be used with care because some people may only read those, therefore they must make sense in their own or arouse curiosity for people to continue reading the whole sentence.How to upload the copy to your website so people read it #copywriting #uxdesign #webdesign #uxcopywriting Click To Tweet
Short paragraphs and sentences
Internet has changed the way we read. We don’t read a book in the same way we read a blog post.
When we are searching for information on the internet our brain is exposed to hundreds of images and messages, we are overloading it with stimuli, that’s why it’s so hard to concentrate.
Help people concentrate on your copy by being concise and clear.
When writing for the web you sometimes need to explain a complex idea in a short paragraph. This isn’t easy, you learn with time and practice.
Paragraphs should be no longer than 4 lines and contain only one idea.
Avoid the passive voice and always use verbs in the active voice, the more energetic the better.
“Break, jump, explode, conquer, win, flee, devour, love, explore, discover, risk” are energetic verbs.
It all depends on the context, of course, selling fashion is not the same as selling a scanner for cancer research, but in any case it’s important to keep the reader awake and incite them to perform the action we want them to do (buy, contact us, subscribe to a list, etc.).
Because people spend an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes on the internet, with all the stimuli for the brain that this entails, you need to allow people rest their eyes and for that you should leave a lot of white space (or black space if you have a more sinister website).
This space will allow people to take a break and continue reading, but above all it will make the page look clean and tidy.
It’s like when you walk into a messy person’s bedroom and see everything lying around, clothes on the floor and on the bed, desk full of junk, empty bags of crisps… You don’t know where to look and you feel like running away.
The same thing happens to a person who lands on a website and sees endless blocks of text without any interruption, with thousands of messages that attract attention without any given order and with ads that move on the sides.
However, if a website is tidy, with blocks of text in different formats, leaving some white space in between, with double columns for longer texts and without subscription boxes or annoying ads in the margins, the experience will be much more pleasant and you will have more chances for your prospects to stay.
DOHow to upload the copy to your website so people read it #copywriting #uxdesign #webdesign #uxcopywriting Click To Tweet
Images add a aesthetic value and space and help deliver the message.
When scanning a page we tend to pay more attention to the copy if it’s to the right of an image.
Even so, it’s convenient to alternate the position of the blocks with text and image because in these cases people tend to zigzag when reading a web page.
Images should complement the message we want to deliver by adding more information about the product or service.
There are some websites that, wanting to look cool, they upload images which add information that isn’t relevant or even confusing, distracting the reader from the main message.
If you think an image isn’t going to add anything to the main message, or it might confuse the reader, better not to add it.
If you’re a freelancer offering services, add a photo of yourself to increase credibility.
Putting a face to your services will help people trust you.
Why do so many designers insist on using a tiny font size?
The size here DOES matter.
It should be between 16 and 18 px, never smaller, so it makes you want to read the copy. With a size smaller than 16px you might be super interested but you’ll feel lazy to read because it entails a bigger effort.
If you manage to convey your value with concise copy capable of convincing your ideal customer in a few words, choose an even larger font, like Lemonpie does.
Choose a simple and clear font like Montserrat, the whole Sans family, Raleway, and the like.
If you have a thing for more personal fonts like Swanky and Moo, or similar, don’t overuse them. It’s ok to use them for a header or a more personal short message, like a signature, but don’t write all the copy of your website with this type of handwritten fonts.
They are tiring and don’t encourage to read more than a couple of sentences.
Your web copy can be outstanding, but if the lay out isn’t right, not even your mum will want to read it.
Pay attention to how you upload the copy to your website and always think about the reader and how they are going to read it: In a hurry. ALWAYS.
- Headlines that arouse curiosity and embellish a benefit.
- Headings that summarise the most important ideas.
- Underline, bold and italics to highlight key words and messages
- Short paragraphs and sentences
- White space
- Occasional but relevant images
- Clear and LARGE font
See you around!How to upload the copy to your website so people read it #copywriting #uxdesign #webdesign #uxcopywriting Click To Tweet