The long and short of copywriting

There is a knack to effective copywriting for a website or blog. With the average website visit being no more than a few seconds, it’s critical you get your message across quickly.

When someone visits your website or your blog, they will visually scan the copy for clues such as relevant words or key phrases. Once they see what they’re looking for, they will start to read more thoroughly. So it’s important your copywriting technique helps the reader scan the copy quickly. There are several things you can do to help get your message across:

Short sentences

Avoid using long wordy sentences. They have to be read slowly and carefully. In cases of very long sentences, the reader will completely lose track of the topic before they get to the end. Much better to keep your sentences short and punchy. As a general rule of thumb, around 20 words is plenty.

Short paragraphs

Being faced with a long paragraph of dense text is like being given a huge meal when you’ve already eaten!  The thought of reading it is off-putting. It calls for effort and most people don’t have the time or appetite. By keeping your paragraphs short, you can attract the reader’s attention and deliver your message … in bite-size pieces.

Short, punchy headings

There’s no better way to break up your copy into short paragraphs than with punchy headings. Like your sentences and paragraphs, try to keep them short for maximum impact. If your heading spans two lines, it won’t be easy to scan-read. Using relevant keywords in your headings to describe the paragraph will help your reader cherry-pick the sections of interest.

So, over to you. Try it for yourself and see what it does for your copywriting!

Joy McCarthy, copywriter and owner of WORD-right

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