Got some helpful feedback on my Oct. 18 web post, WWW.What the Heck?, which attempts to talk about what makes good copy for your website.
One person asked: How about some examples of good and bad web copy, Fran? OK—can do!
It just so happens that a couple of years ago, I made a presentation to another group on the same topic. Here are the two websites I used as my examples, with the URLs and other identifiers of the guilty held back (in case they are your first cousins). I’ll just share the first two paragraphs from their respective home pages. Take a look at them and compare each to my points about being brief, using informal language, and getting to the heart of what your client cares about.
Both websites are for companies doing home inspections. This one I don’t like—it uses we/you point of view, but it’s mostly about the company, not the customer. On the site itself, you can’t even find this text until you’ve “paged down” twice past too many uninformative stock photos.
[name of company] provides comprehensive narrative home inspection reports on single family residences, multi-unit apartment buildings and commercial buildings. Our home inspection report findings are in compliance with [name of state’s organization] [acronym] Real Estate Inspectors Association) Standards of Practice.
Your understanding of the home inspection findings is critical to our goal of providing the best customer service available. We encourage you to accompany the home inspector through the home inspection process to receive a complete consultation and valuable orientation to the home, property and its systems.
This one I like a lot better. You see this text the minute you hit the home page. Same word count, has all the necessary keywords, makes similar points—but whom would you rather hire?
[name of company] offers a one-stop shopping solution for your [name of city] home inspection needs. With us you can get a whole house inspection, termite, radon and any number of other services all from the same company!
It is a stressful time when you buy or sell a home. Knowing that you have had a fair, honest competent whole house inspection by an experienced independent third party inspector helps reduce the risk and makes the entire experience a happier one.
Finally, if you are in the mood for reading more stuff, here’s an article by Grace Smith that talks more about web design and the importance of good content. See #4 about content and #5 about clutter: http://amex.co/T4vu2F.
Best of luck with your own website!
©2012, 2014 Fran Fahey