This is an excerpt from one of our latest free Wednesday Webinar series. Presented by our Director of Project Management William Lindus.
As a veterinarians, office manager and/or other veterinary professional you have quite a bit of experience with writing. You probably have written for print media all of the time, from reports, to articles, to client handouts. However, you can’t apply the same principles that you use for print writing to web copy writing because your audience is different. With print materials, your audience is trained to read word-for-word, start to finish. With an article or a handout, you are expecting your reader to read the entire body of work as a complete entity. Otherwise, key points may be missed!
But why is this? Well, for starters, the web is a user-driven medium. Visitors to a website feel as though they have to click on things to ‘engage’ with a page. Long copy makes users feel as though they are being inactive or that they ‘doing it wrong.’ Remember also that the web has millions of web pages, all competing for the attention of your visitor. If a client can’t get the information they need at a glance, they are very likely to bounce to another site. With the rise in popularity of smart phones, this becomes even important. Currently, 10% of all Google searches are made using mobile devices, and studies show that by 2014, mobile users will actually exceed desktop users. To keep up with this ‘on the go’ lifestyle, a website should have very mobile-friendly content.
We know how web copy is different from print copy… but how do we evaluate whether or not web copy is effective? On a well-written website, the copy may appear ‘choppy’ or repetitive. This is where you need to throw away everything you thought you knew about writing and look to web writing as its own entity. Your website copy may appear ‘choppy’ with lots of bullet points, effective headlines, and short content, but this is useful for the 79% of web users that we discussed earlier. Choppy can be good!
Keep in mind also that many users will never see the home page of your website; because of links from social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, etc) or through Google search returns, they may enter your website through one of your service pages. This is why some information may be repeated throughout your website. I said it before, but it bears repeating: most users will not read your web page word for word, start to finish.
To be continued…