Five mistakes that you definitely make in your web copy

… and how to avoid them!

Katharina Wohlfahrt | © punkt & komma
Katharina Wohlfahrt
Content editor
Web copy, blog post, online magazine – however you want to call it. Online text content follows its own set of rules! And they are exactly what determines whether a text is found and read – or not. We, the punkt & komma team, have summarised the five most frequent web copy mistakes most people make. And of course, we’ll tell you how to avoid them while we’re at it. 

Another tip for your journey to successful and – ideally – mistake-free web copy is the Content Marketing Workbook.
Schreibmaterial und Workbook punkt & komma.  | © punkt & komma
Mistake number 1

You talk too much about yourself and not about the needs of your persona

Whether it’s a person, product or company – of course, everyone wants to present their brand as favourably as possible. And that’s the first and possibly the worst mistake! Because even though you won’t like to hear it: The least important thing is you! At least, when it comes to web copy that is intended to impress and captivate your readers. 

Ready to go on a journey? On a journey with your customers to be specific! The customer journey describes the process a customer goes through from his first touchpoint with the brand to the final purchasing decision. He undergoes different stages on the way there, which all require specific content. From broad and general information in the awareness phase, it gradually becomes more and more specific throughout the research phase and consideration phase and, finally, the conversion phase. 

Try this instead: Focus on the needs and wishes of your customers. Ask yourself: What does my target audience want to know about my product? Can I support them in any way? Then choose these topics for your web copy and write about them in such a way that they offer specific value. From now on, every single piece of text content should answer the questions of your target group and help them in one way or another! 

You would like to know what your customers want to read in the various phases? On our blog, you can find out more about the content needs of your personas along the customer journey.
Webtext-Produktion für E-Commerce. | © punkt & komma
Mistake number 2

You don’t even have personas

Reading the previous section, you were wondering: What or who are those personas? Then we’re sorry to tell you that you’ve already committed the second mistake. Because how are you supposed to write good content if you don’t know who you’re writing it for? The more common target audience is not enough in online marketing in our view. A persona is nothing more than a specific visualised representation of it. 

From an anonymous bunch, we create fictitious but concrete people with 
  • a name and photo 
  • background information
  • values, views and modes of life 
  • user and consumer behaviour 
  • expectations and goals 
  • perfect solutions 

Try this instead: When writing content, ask yourself: Who am I writing for? Who do I want to impress? Maybe you’ve got people in your immediate circle of friends and family that closely resemble your fictitious personas. Would your content sound convincing to them? You’ll see – if you have specific people in mind, you’ll write your texts with ease! 

Target audiences and personas – you’re still not really sure what the difference is? On our blog, we’ve taken an extensive look at the terminology. You’ll also find a handy template for how to give your target audience a face in just a few steps.
Mistake number 3

You think that 100 words are enough

First things first: There is no perfect length for web copy! It might be the case that 100 words are enough for a post. But based on our experience, that’s the exception. What matters is which goal you’re trying to accomplish with your text. Is it intended to guide the reader towards a certain topic or to specifically inform him? Is the image of the brand the most important consideration? Or would you like to achieve a better ranking on Google? Because especially the latter determines whether your text will even be found by the reader. And Google is particularly strict when it comes to text length! 

Try this instead! The general rule of thumb is: Your content should be as long as it needs to be to cover all the important info. That can be one sentence, one paragraph or a whole page. The average length for editorial text content is around 400 words, by the way. The ideal reading length is around 7 minutes, though – which is equivalent to about 1,600 words. When we write our articles, we always challenge ourselves to write the best text on the web for a certain topic. 

As you can see: It’s not just about the number of words. What matters is to comprehensively cover the topic – then your post automatically becomes as long as it needs to be. On our blog, snack content and extensive content enter the ring. Find out who wins the battle!
punkt & komma findet die richtigen Worte fürs Web. | © punkt & komma
Mistake number 4

Your sentences are too long

When you’re in the writing flow, short and concise sentences fall by the wayside sometimes. But the following motto holds especially true for online content: keep it short and sweet! Everything else makes the text hard to grasp for the reader and painstaking to read. You can probably guess why: The attention of an online reader is not always 100 per cent on the text. A sentence with 22 words is also nearly impossible to read on a mobile device. 

Try this instead: Our guideline is to write no more than 15 to 17 words per sentence. Anything beyond that needs to be cleared of unnecessary fillers or split into multiple sentences. 

A question of skill: Short and concise doesn’t mean monotonous and oversimplified, by the way. Depending on your readers, you should play with sentence length and sentence structure to create a text that is still appealing to them. Read more about text and sentence length for the web on our blog! 
Mistake number 5

You don’t offer your readers a way out

That doesn’t mean you should encourage your readers to leave your site – quite the opposite! Links are the road to success. Because ideally, useful and well-placed links increase the time that users spend on your website. 

Try this instead: Cross-link to your own pages in a useful way and keep the click paths short. Last but not least, be sure to create descriptive and meaningful link text. There’s no reason not to link to external sites if you do so in a reasonable way. Because, after all, it doesn’t hurt to build connections with other platforms. 

Alternatively: Ask your users to do something in your online texts! With a call to action, you can arouse interest and encourage your readers to interact with your content. Or simply put: to take advantage of your offers, buy your product, etc. Just like we did at the beginning of this paragraph. Try it right away …

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