When it comes to the web, audiences have pretty short attention spans. This means that you have to get right to the point and get them hooked before they get a Facebook notification, a text message, or simply wander away from your page. Before you waste another minute writing content that gets passed over, here are 6 mistakes to avoid.
1. Being Overly Complex
Writing is as much of an art as it is a skill and all artists love to show off. The trouble with blogs, articles, and other web copy is that most readers aren't interested in sticking around long enough to decipher complex metaphors and read lengthy passages. Cut to the chase and keep it simple so readers can get in, get the information they need, and move on.
2. Focusing on SEO
In the past, boosting a site's search engine rankings left the writer sticking in awkward keywords, including alternate spellings, and repeating a word until you were absolutely sick of it. Google has had enough of that and now favors writing that is well written and focused on being informative and useful. If you're assigned a keyword or two, be sure to use them strategically, but focus first on producing outstanding content. Otherwise, you're just producing words that nobody will waste their time reading.
3. Forgetting About SEO
Just because current SEO practices favor the web copywriter doesn't mean that there aren't a few things you should know about keyword placement. If you've been assigned a keyword, do your very best to work it into the title of the piece, into at least one subheading, and one or two more mentions throughout the piece as long as each mention doesn't interfere with the flow of the text. If you don't pay a little attention to SEO, you're wasting your time writing something that might not ever get found.
4. Using too Much Jargon
Or, sometimes, not using enough jargon. The trick is to really understand the audience that you're addressing. For example, if you're charged with writing 600 words on household insulation, it's important to know whether you're addressing installers or homeowners. If you're writing for installers and launch into a lengthy explanation of what R-Value means, they won't waste their time reading your article and they will be gone before you know it. On the other hand, if you're addressing homeowners and you leave this explanation out, you run the risk of confusing or alienating the reader. Always know who you're talking to so you can get the language correct.
5. Leaving Yourself Behind
As a web copywriter, you're probably aware of the fact that there are dozens, or even hundreds of posts about every topic you're writing about. You've also probably written for a bunch of different clients, each asking for their own voice and tone. When you put this all together, you might find yourself in the trap of churning out content that hits all the major points and keywords and is grammatically flawless, but somehow seems to be falling flat.
What's missing? You. Without your own personal point of view, your own personality shining through the words, your work is going to blend in with every other post on the topic and nobody is going to take the time to read your version. Try to find a fresh perspective on the topic, include some interesting new facts, be funny if it's appropriate, and let yourself show in each piece you produce.
6. Not Leaving Some Steam for the Conclusion
It can be easy for a web copywriter to simply be thankful that all the major points were hit and that all the mechanics are correct and call it a day. However, always save a little energy to put a bow on top of the neat little package you're about to deliver. Insert an interesting quote, come up with an inspiring call-to-action, or otherwise motivate the reader to do something because of what they've read. Let the reader know that you're thankful that they've spent the time to get to the bottom of your post by leaving them with something special.
Time is Money
Remember, as a web copywriter, you're in this to make money, too. Don't waste your time writing fancy prose that doesn't get noticed or writing boring text that never gets read. Make the most of your time and talent by avoiding these time-wasting mistakes and giving each reader just what they need.