Web copy for dummies
Did you know that Google runs over one million servers around the world and processes over one BILLION search requests and about 24 petabytes of user-generated data EVERY DAY? For those who don’t know, and that included me until about five minutes ago – a petabyte is a unit of information equal to one quadrillion (short scale) bytes or 1024 terabytes. To add to these mammoth figures and put them into context it is estimated that there were 2 956 005 Internet users as of 31 March 2011, which means that by now over 30% of the world’s population now has access to Cyberspace!
I’ll admit that these figures make my head swim but maybe that’s because words fly my flag higher than numbers ever could. But the bottom line is that the Internet now gives us access to a huge surplus of the information we need or simply want for the fun of it. These days we can Google just about anything and everything. Recipes, school projects, holiday destinations, flights, words, sayings, quotes, information on anyone even vaguely famous or well-known, music videos, history, geography, biology, medicine, maps and directions, addresses, telephone numbers, contact details – the list continues indefinitely. Let’s face it we cannot imagine life without the World Wide Web. And businesses could not function in a competitive market without access to and representation on the web.
This brings me to the importance of web pages. Research shows that most websites will lose 80% of their traffic within two minutes of landing on a page. The graphics engage the viewer first an aesthetically pleasing web page will encourage the viewer to explore further while one that isn’t will serve to repel almost instantly. A sensitive balance is needed visually. Thereafter it is the copy or content that will draw the user to the product and either sell them or spur them on to scour the web for greener pastures.
The most important consideration regarding content is the needs of the person or user landing on the website. What information are they looking for? Who is your target audience? Good web copy needs to be short and to the point with absolutely no jargon. Many copywriters make the mistake of bombarding readers with the total extent of their writing skills throwing out marvels of prose that say very little. It is much more important to anticipate the questions your visitors will be asking themselves and explain everything in clear and concise terms. Banish the waffle and keep it simple but give all the facts. Give the copy on your website the attention it deserves. Hire a good copywriter – it will be cash well spent. And remember, your website is like a salesperson. Make sure that it uses the right words to get the job done.
Here’s to keeping it simple!