Make Your Online Copy Papa Punchy
Web copy needs to be more Papa Punchy than flowing Faulkner. When the majority of visitors, 54% according to Oberlo.com, use mobile technology flowing Faulkner-like copy won't work. Better to use these tips to write Papa Punchy website copy.
- Sentences - Shorter the better.
- Paragraphs - Shorten paragraphs too and use more of them.
- Limit Conjunctions - Conjunction junction not so much.
- Now = Online Time - Now is what matters most online.
- Unique Voice - Share authentic stories and define a unique voice. Don't use jargons or cliches.
- Use Grammarily - Grammarily helps add transitions and punch up punctuation.
“In the morning I walked down the Boulevard to the rue Soufflot for coffee and brioche. It was a fine morning. The horse-chestnut trees in the Luxembourg gardens were in bloom. There was the pleasant early-morning feeling of a hot day. I read the papers with the coffee and then smoked a cigarette. The flower-women were coming up from the market and arranging their daily stock. Students went by going up to the law school, or down to the Sorbonne. The Boulevard was busy with trams and people going to work.”The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
Great writing doesn't have to use many words or be complex. Hemingway boasted a great writer could tell a compelling story in six words. When Papa's Paris buddies challenged him, he wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes never worn." Attribution may be dicey, but the complete story using only six words sounds like something Hemingway would write.
Look at the simple juxtapositions in The Sun Also Rises.
- I read the papers with the coffee and then smoked a cigarette.
- Becomes I read the papers with the coffee.
- I smoked a cigerette.
Conjunction junction works better on Seasame Street than in your web copy. Break those two short sentences connected with an "and","but", or "thus" into two parts. Yes, that means we would edit Papa.
- It was a fine morning.
- There was the pleasant early-morning feeling of a hot day.
- The Students went by going up to the law school, or down to the Sorbonne.
- The Boulevard was busy with trams and people going to work.
Now = Online Time
We eliminated the conjunction in the example. Two sentences without Hemingway's "and" read better online. And because now is the time that matters most online. The web exists in a perpetual NOW by eliminating the conjunction and removing Hemingway's first this, then that sequence Papa's reading and smoking sound closer to NOW. Reading online is different than reading a book in a clean, well-lighted place. You want online copy to read FAST and sound as close to NOW as possible.
Sharing authentic stories is half of what we mean by, "unique voice" (visit Is Your Web Copy Tangled Up In Blue for more on how to create a unique voice online.) The other part to creating a unique voice is consistent cadence and rhythm. Read or sing your copy outloud to hear how it sounds. While more than one person can and should write your copy, having a good editor or two familiar with your site's "unique voice" is crucial.
As their ads explain, Grammarly can't teach you how to dance, but this powerful web copy tool will punch up your punctuation. We think Grammarly is an excellent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool. Better copy means "approval metrics" such as time visitors spend reading your pages, the number of pages viewed, and the chances visitors will contribute or share your content increase. When approval metrics improve, Google links and rank get better too.
What tips do you use to write online copy? How do you make online copy read faster?
e: martin (at) martinwescottsmith.com