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10 Common Website Copywriting Mistakes

2011 marks ACF’s 10th year in business. To celebrate the occasion, we’ll be featuring posts related around the number 10. To see more of these posts, click here.

An essential element of online marketing is copywriting. Good copy keeps readers engaged, promotes the benefits of a product or service and gets visitors to take some form of action.

Good copy generates leads, which generate into business. If your website isn’t generating the sales you had hoped for, your copy may be part to blame. Below lists 10 different common copywriting mistakes and what you can do to improve them.

1. Paragraphs are too long
Your visitors have little time and short attention spans, so long paragraphs of copy are generally a turn off. Don’t make your visitors work hard to hear what you have to say. Short paragraphs that get to the point are the best.

2. Titles Don’t Grab Attention
Most people generally scan a page before reading the finer details. If the title of your article doesn’t grab attention, your visitor may skip over it altogether. Consider writing your title first, before you dive into the paragraphs.

3. No Subheadings
Subheadings break up your content into smaller chunks that are easier for your visitors to digest. Without them, your copy isn’t easy to scan and seems longer and harder to read. Break up your copy into sections and give each section an appropriate subheading.

4. No Lists
People like lists because they are easy to read and make the copy flow better. Instead of having one long paragraph of text, see if you can turn that paragraph into a list that is easier to read.

5. No Pictures or Figures Used
We’ve all heard the phrase “a picture says 1,000 words” before. Pictures and figures heighten your copy and give it more meaning. A good photo can entice visitors to buy or give a visual representation of your explanation. Without them, your copy feels flat. Use diagrams and photos to back up what you are saying.

6. You Write About Features, Not Benefits
Writing about your product features won’t work very well if your visitors don’t know how those features can benefit them. Your visitor cares more about how your product will make their lives better, not all the fancy features it has. Make sure you’re telling your visitors what your product does for them.

7. You Have Weak (or no) Calls to Action
If you don’t tell your visitors what you want them to do next, they will have to make that decision for themselves. Often, they won’t make the decision you want them to. Calls to action help guide your visitors through the site the way you intended. Use call to actions prominently to let your visitors know what their next step should be.

8. You aren’t writing from the reader’s perspective
Your visitors are constantly asking “What’s in it for me?” If your copy doesn’t answer that question, it’s not doing its job. Let readers know what you can do for them and be sure to talk about the benefits of your product instead of just the features.

9. Readers Lose Interest After the 1st Paragraph
If you’re boring your visitors, they’ll most likely leave your site. Make your copy more engaging by using some of the above techniques.

10. You aren’t Proofreading
#10 is probably the biggest and most common mistake. It’s also the one that can be fixed the easiest. Spelling and grammar errors discredit you, your products and your services. Make sure someone (other than you) is proofreading what you write.

Copywriting is a crucial part of online marketing. Improving your website’s copy will help improve your overall business. Fixing the above issues with your website’s copy will help keep readers engaged, interested and more motivated to use your product or service.


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