Website copy 101: people don’t read a website—they use it

BY Joseph Phillips
Architect drawing on busy desk.

Photo by Twenty20.

A website exists to efficiently impart value. To support an identified customer need. To tell a distinctive story too, perhaps.

But ultimately, a website exists to get a job done.

The copy doesn’t need to be read word-for-word in order for it to do its job.

If your company’s website exists to meaningfully contribute to your business goals (rather than be recognised as a literary masterpiece), then its content needs only to have conveyed enough of its intended message and value in order for your target audience to ‘get it’ and take affirmative action; to engage in who you are and what you have to offer. To complete the task they’ve come to your site to complete. For example, things like:

  • finding out something you can help them to find out
  • doing something that you’re positioned to help them to do
  • solving a problem you’re best-placed to help them to solve
  • communicating with you about something you’re qualified to respond to

The requirement of website copy isn’t to be read read—it’s to provide however much information is necessary to effectively elicit and support the completion of the above tasks.

To get the job done.


The art and science of writing for the web


When we realise that our website exists more as a utility than as a piece of literature, we can adapt your 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.

Learn more


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