Writing quality web content doesn’t always come naturally to the average business owner, manager or even marketer. No need to beat yourself up about it, you have other skills that make you great at what you do. But sometimes, you have to write web copy–be it a short snippet or a full length article–like it or not, it just can’t be avoided.
Don’t panic. What you can avoid are these 7 horrible web copy mistakes. Instead of Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful and Doc, I’d like to introduce you to the 7 Digital Dwarfs who live in Bad Web Copy Land…
Sure, you want to seem conversational and friendly. But that’ doesn’t mean you should lose sight of basic grammar. Whether you’re a corporate giant or a mom ‘n pop, avoid commonly used (but bad!) grammar, such as: aint, gonna, gotta, dunno, etc.
You’ll often see blog posts with spelling mistakes. Some say it’s OK because it shows an element of authenticity. I can understand that. I don’t mind the occasional typo — we’re human. Still and all, Spell Check was created for a reason. Use it. Too many spelling mistakes and typos can make you look less reputable.
Similar to Oopsy, Punchy is all about using the correct punctuation. It’s a bit trickier to catch than simple spelling mistakes. But proper punctuation can literally mean the difference between a well-formed thought and a sociopathic mindset. For example:
Three things I like: “I like to eat, fine art, and puppies.”
Psycho alert! “I like to eat fine art and puppies.”
Fluffy can be found in a lot of sales copy: advertisements, emails, sales letters, promotions, etc. You’ll be able to recognize Fluffy because he sounds like this:
“These amazing, spectacular widgets, which are here for a very limited time only, and which have won six awards, are the very best, most fabulous widgets of all time!”
Fluffy’s sister, Simply, is a clear and concise. She sounds like this:
“Award-winning widgets are here for a limited time! Order yours today!”
Fluffy’s cousin, Stuffy, sounds a lot like him — but he loves to overuse keywords. It’s as if he’s stuck in the turn of the millennium, circa 2005. He’s repetitive and redundant 😉 Don’t be like Stuffy.
“Of all the blue pants I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of blue pants, these blue pants are the best blue pants ever.”
Flow is the shining star in Bad Copy Land. She keeps all the other Digital Dwarfs in line by showing them how to write copy that flows naturally. Sometimes, the other dwarfs write content that sounds really choppy, like this:
“This is an article about why I like guitars. obviously, I like guitars, so I’m writing about them. I saw one on sale once, but I didn’t buy it. Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh ya, why I like guitars. I like guitars cuz they sound cool.”
Flow won’t stand for this type of web copy–it hurts her sensibilities.
These are the 7 Digital Dwarfs I’ve met along my web copy journey, but I’m sure there are plenty of others out there. Who have you met along the way?