Sometimes long form copy works…

Like extensive magazine features, in-depth reports or books. Things that readers buy into. But on the web, as a rule, readers haven’t invested anything, they haven’t paid. So they scan, they browse, they graze – and that means you should keep your copy short.

No point trying to fight it, you might as well accept it and use it to your advantage, so you can craft copy that actually engages readers, rather than copy they should read simply because it’s well written.

You might have the most compelling product since the screw-top wine bottle, but no-one will read about it if you don’t entice them first. There can be a place on your website for the heavy stuff – just make sure it’s not front and centre.

A few points to think about when you’re crafting your web copy:

1. Hook ‘em in – like a headline in a newspaper, you’ve got to sell your copy, so start with a very good reason to read on
2. Break it up – into short, scintillating paragraphs, and try to keep it to one idea per para
3. Bullet points – a great way to convey lots of points succinctly
4. Don’t forget the links – you can keep the in-depth stuff elsewhere, and readers can choose to do the heavy lifting, or not
5. Numbers are your friends – when you need to make a list, they establish hierarchy, and automatically draw the eye

The point: Good writing doesn’t have to be literary, and it should never be long-winded. But it does have to communicate to its target audience. On the web that means keeping it short. And snappy.