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by Stephen Logan on 26th May 2009
It’s often not until you’ve actually tried to do copywriting yourself that you realise just how difficult it is. Of course, in essence, it is much the same as any conventional form of writing. However, there are so many additional factors that you have to consider – not least balancing readability with SEO strength – that it is a far more complex skill than some give credit for.
There’s a fine line between a categorical success and a stratospheric disaster; particularly when it comes to marketing your own website. So to help you steer clear of lexical limbo, we’ve put together this list of 5 copywriting faux pas that you should look to avoid:
Duplicated content is a catastrophe waiting to happen. It will do nothing whatsoever for your website’s credibility or search ranking and can even get you in some serious hot water with the originators. Avoid copying a pasting from other sites at all costs; it really isn’t worth the trouble.
2. Typos & Poor Grammar
There are very few people who can claim to have impeccable grammar and bulletproof spelling skills. However, just a quick proof or two along with a decent spell-check should be more than enough to rid you of any glaring errors. If you’re trying to project a professional image and your copy is falling well short of the mark it’ll invariably undermine the message, which is ultimately a poor reflection on you and the site.
3. Impenetrable Language
If something makes sense to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will to somebody else. Huge clumps of text on a page will put off even the hardiest of visitors. So too will never-ending sentences that could have quite easily been broken up into a few smaller ones. However, the one real bugbear that many people have is with jargon, and the overuse thereof. Showing your professional nature is perfectly understandable, but when you start overcomplicating the language used and dropping in excessive business terms, many readers may be left feeling a little nonplussed.
4. Minimal Content
Walt Disney famously immortalised the line “leave ‘em wanting more”; whilst that may be true in Hollywood, it doesn’t quite have the same resonance in copywriting. There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple and succinct; but if to do that you have to leave out some key pieces of information, it really isn’t a good thing. Almost every page on a website should have some copy, whether describing a product or welcoming visitors to the site, it all plays a part. Copy boosts your search ranking and helps customers find what they’re looking for a little more easily; therefore you need to be making sure that you’ve got enough to keep everybody happy without being excessive.
5. Trying to do too much Yourself
If you’re not a professional copywriter and have tasked yourself with creating a website from scratch, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Too many people aspire to create the perfect site and then start to realise just how much effort is involved and lose their way. SEO copywriting services are available and can really save you a lot of heartache and pain. By hiring an expert, just as with the marketing and design aspects of running a website, not only can you save yourself some time and a hefty burden, but you can really benefit from some top quality copy.