Website copy 101: No one’s going to read your website

BY Joseph Phillips
But that’s ok. Because that’s not what your website is for.
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Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

People don’t read corporate websites.

Not in the traditional, linear, deep-concentration, word-for-word sense that we read read.

For example, an enthralling book, or a magazine, or your favoured daily newspaper, or a blog you subscribe to—these are publications that produce content that is either:

  • interesting
  • important
  • both (interesting and important)

In other words, they produce content that is highly readable. Readable, not in the technical “it’s easy to read and understand” sense (as in: readability), but in the “I want to read it out of genuine interest” sense.

By contrast, the average brand’s corporate website is mostly made up of content that is neither interesting nor important.

And hence, because people don’t tend to read what is unimportant and uninteresting: people don’t read corporate websites.

But that’s ok. Because the majority of your website isn’t supposed to be read (out of general interest or enjoyment). It’s supposed to provide information that is optimised to be consumed, engaged with, and acted upon.

Something different.

 

The art and science of writing for the web

 

When we realise that by default, most people aren’t going to be reading our websites word-for-word, then we can adapt our style of communication to suit.

That’s where writing for the web comes in.

Writing for the web describes writing that’s adapted to the reading habits of people when they’re online: to scan, to pick out keywords, and not read everything word-for-word.

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