Did I grab you with that headline? Does it entice or invite? Is there anything that tells you anything about my services or products? I didn’t think so. In fact, part of the challenge with writing website copy is being able to convey valuable and pertinent information, and being able to do so in a relatable and relevant way without complex, obscure, or simply unengaging jabber.
Website content is very much driven by the nature and market of the company or organization who owns it. A technology based office (service?) or manufacturer may have a target audience that welcomes a strong and specific narrative about their services. Text that is laden (filled) with technical and documented data conveying a precise portrait of their product and firm is often the expected rule and a welcome snapshot into the organization and its potential value. In contrast to this straight laced, factually driven message, most websites do well with copy designed to tell a story. Whether it’s a narrative about the company’s origin, overall message, or future goals, website copy can depict their story of now, and potentially denote the beginnings of a legacy.
Years before FaceBook and Twitter became our go-to constant contact, those of us eager to research our favorite artist or rifle through pages of scientific and statistical data navigated to a site or three and read through it. The style of copy and material would have resembled an encyclopedia on a screen, and we were happy to also have the option to cross-reference our find on the off chance that the original website, or the second one, didn’t quite answer all of our questions, or substantiate our answers.
Of course, this was before the avalanche of availability began its unstoppable journey. And now, so much information is in juxtaposition to enticements and loud whispers of more and exciting and meaningful and profound, that we click and slip through a never ending myriad of copy and conference often ending up with an empty tank and all clicked out. And these clicks were subtle and appealing and oh so sweet… until it was realized as a measurement of engagement…and people began to click more and read less. In fact, the average reader, almost 55%, spends 15 seconds or less on a newly found topic before moving to another and then another and so on.
While clicking and sticking has dwindled, new studies have focused on the amount of sharing and posting of content as a new and potentially powerful way to discover reader attention and content value. The assumption is that once the material is passed along to others in one’s social network, it strongly indicates that it’s been read, absorbed and valued. But the people who share content are a small fraction of the people who visit that content. The temptation to infer behavior from those few people sharing can often lead media sites to jump to conclusions that the data simply does not support.
What we do know about the allure of any style of website copy is that it’s the key that opens a door and aligns a reader with an end to a search. This, while offering an added dimension of knowledge and resource, is an attainable goal as well as a formidable one. But it’s a worthwhile challenge when connecting is key.