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How Much Copy Should Be on Your Website's Homepage?

Published on 19 May 15
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Youâve probably already spent a fair amount of time worrying about and tweaking your homepage in an attempt to make it âjust right.â

A lot of your focus was probably on the text, or the copy. Youâve said what you needed to say and youâre sure people will love your company once they read it.

But ⦠will they read it?

If the Three Little Bears Were Copywriters

Too much text on the homepage may not be read in detail by casual visitors. These visitors are more likely to want to scan the text first before deciding if itâs worth taking the time to read it. In fact, a Nielson Norman Group study found that 79 percent of Internet readers skim or scan any given text rather than reading it word for word.

However, too little text on the homepage may not convince your visitors to stick around and explore the site.

But just the right amount of text will keep visitors engaged, informed and curious. Itâs the perfect combination!

So, How Much Copy Is Enough?

Unfortunately, thereâs no cut-and-dry formula for deciding how much copy on your homepage is too much or too little. The only answer that will always be accurate is âit depends.â Or rather, it depends on what your homepage needs to achieve. The key to all of this is knowing your audience better than your audience knows itself.

Here are some important things to consider:

· What do you want visitors to do once theyâve landed on your page?

· What information will your visitors need before they can do what you want them to do?

· Are your visitors already likely to know what solutions are needed for their problems?

The answers to these questions will help you determine if your visitors will require a lot of information up front or if just the basics will do. Donât worry about length; make the page as long as it needs to be in order to motivate or equip your readers to do whatever it is that you need them to do, whether itâs fill out a survey or download an eBook. But no matter what, make sure the copy remains concise and easy to scan.

What Do I Want My Readers to Do?

Not sure what your readers need to do once they visit your site? Here are some common examples of page goals:

· Sign up for an account

· Sign up for a newsletter

· Buy a particular product

You probably wonât need to do much convincing in order to get people to sign up for an account or a newsletter, so the copy for those pages neednât be long. A little bit more persuasive finesse is required when convincing people to part with their hard-earned cash, however, so the copy on a sales page may need to be more detailed.

What Do My Readers Already Want to Do?

Spend some time thinking about your visitorsâ motivations. Everyone who visits your site will have a reason for doing so. Some visitors may be seeking information about a certain topic, so a newsletter could appeal to this group. Others may be looking for a product that will make life a little easier, so a concise sales pitch about your productâs benefits could be just the thing to convert those visitors into buyers.

Your readers are also likely to not want to do certain things. Assure them that you wonât spam them with your newsletter. Make it clear that the eBook download is completely free. Provide statistics, if appropriate, to convince even the most analytical minds that your product or service is useful and worthwhile. Address whatever might be making your readers hesitate.

What Problems or Solutions Are My Readers Already Familiar With?

Youâll also want to think about what preconceived notions readers have about your product or service. Different persuasive tactics need to be used with different âlevels of awareness.â Here are the main levels of awareness, as developed by Gene Schwartz:

· The Most Aware â This reader already knows about your product or service and how it could be useful. Now you just need to convince her that it is indeed worth the price.

· Product-Aware â This reader already knows about your product or service but isnât sure if it will be useful. Now you need to convince her that it is indeed useful.

· Solution-Aware â This reader does not know about your product or service, but is aware of the solution your product provides. Now you need to show her how your product or service provides the expected solution.

· Problem-Aware â This reader knows that she has a problem but doesnât know that a solution exists. Now you need to explain the solution and how your product or service provides it.

· Completely Unaware â This reader may be on your site by accident. No, really! This reader has no knowledge of your product or service. She also isnât looking for a solution to a problem, and she may not even know she has a problem to begin with.

You may need to address more than one level of awareness on your homepage if your product or service is likely to attract a variety of people. However, focusing on Solution-Aware or Problem-Aware consumers is a good âumbrellaâ tactic that will also provide useful information to Product Aware and Most Aware visitors, provided the layout is kept organize and easy to scan.

What Does the Copy Layout Need to Look Like?

The layout or format of the copy is just as important as the text itself. If readers canât easily find what theyâre looking for, they arenât going to stick around to find it. Theyâll assume your site canât help them.

Keeping the layout of the page clean, crisp and clearly organized helps direct the readerâs eye to exactly what theyâre searching for. Following common conventions for menus is also useful. Most visitors know to look for a âContact Usâ link in the upper-right hand corner. Make sure itâs there, right where theyâre expecting it to be.

In short, donât worry about the length of copy on your homepage. Write just enough to get your message across and to convince visitors to do something specific.

Youâve probably already spent a fair amount of time worrying about and tweaking your homepage in an attempt to make it âjust right.â

A lot of your focus was probably on the text, or the copy. Youâve said what you needed to say and youâre sure people will love your company once they read it.

But ⦠will they read it?

If the Three Little Bears Were Copywriters

Too much text on the homepage may not be read in detail by casual visitors. These visitors are more likely to want to scan the text first before deciding if itâs worth taking the time to read it. In fact, a Nielson Norman Group study found that 79 percent of Internet readers skim or scan any given text rather than reading it word for word.

However, too little text on the homepage may not convince your visitors to stick around and explore the site.

But just the right amount of text will keep visitors engaged, informed and curious. Itâs the perfect combination!

So, How Much Copy Is Enough?

Unfortunately, thereâs no cut-and-dry formula for deciding how much copy on your homepage is too much or too little. The only answer that will always be accurate is âit depends.â Or rather, it depends on what your homepage needs to achieve. The key to all of this is knowing your audience better than your audience knows itself.

Here are some important things to consider:

· What do you want visitors to do once theyâve landed on your page?

· What information will your visitors need before they can do what you want them to do?

· Are your visitors already likely to know what solutions are needed for their problems?

The answers to these questions will help you determine if your visitors will require a lot of information up front or if just the basics will do. Donât worry about length; make the page as long as it needs to be in order to motivate or equip your readers to do whatever it is that you need them to do, whether itâs fill out a survey or download an eBook. But no matter what, make sure the copy remains concise and easy to scan.

What Do I Want My Readers to Do?

Not sure what your readers need to do once they visit your site? Here are some common examples of page goals:

· Sign up for an account

· Sign up for a newsletter

· Buy a particular product

You probably wonât need to do much convincing in order to get people to sign up for an account or a newsletter, so the copy for those pages neednât be long. A little bit more persuasive finesse is required when convincing people to part with their hard-earned cash, however, so the copy on a sales page may need to be more detailed.

What Do My Readers Already Want to Do?

Spend some time thinking about your visitorsâ motivations. Everyone who visits your site will have a reason for doing so. Some visitors may be seeking information about a certain topic, so a newsletter could appeal to this group. Others may be looking for a product that will make life a little easier, so a concise sales pitch about your productâs benefits could be just the thing to convert those visitors into buyers.

Your readers are also likely to not want to do certain things. Assure them that you wonât spam them with your newsletter. Make it clear that the eBook download is completely free. Provide statistics, if appropriate, to convince even the most analytical minds that your product or service is useful and worthwhile. Address whatever might be making your readers hesitate.

What Problems or Solutions Are My Readers Already Familiar With?

Youâll also want to think about what preconceived notions readers have about your product or service. Different persuasive tactics need to be used with different âlevels of awareness.â Here are the main levels of awareness, as developed by Gene Schwartz:

· The Most Aware â This reader already knows about your product or service and how it could be useful. Now you just need to convince her that it is indeed worth the price.

· Product-Aware â This reader already knows about your product or service but isnât sure if it will be useful. Now you need to convince her that it is indeed useful.

· Solution-Aware â This reader does not know about your product or service, but is aware of the solution your product provides. Now you need to show her how your product or service provides the expected solution.

· Problem-Aware â This reader knows that she has a problem but doesnât know that a solution exists. Now you need to explain the solution and how your product or service provides it.

· Completely Unaware â This reader may be on your site by accident. No, really! This reader has no knowledge of your product or service. She also isnât looking for a solution to a problem, and she may not even know she has a problem to begin with.

You may need to address more than one level of awareness on your homepage if your product or service is likely to attract a variety of people. However, focusing on Solution-Aware or Problem-Aware consumers is a good âumbrellaâ tactic that will also provide useful information to Product Aware and Most Aware visitors, provided the layout is kept organize and easy to scan.

What Does the Copy Layout Need to Look Like?

The layout or format of the copy is just as important as the text itself. If readers canât easily find what theyâre looking for, they arenât going to stick around to find it. Theyâll assume your site canât help them.

Keeping the layout of the page clean, crisp and clearly organized helps direct the readerâs eye to exactly what theyâre searching for. Following common conventions for menus is also useful. Most visitors know to look for a âContact Usâ link in the upper-right hand corner. Make sure itâs there, right where theyâre expecting it to be.

In short, donât worry about the length of copy on your homepage. Write just enough to get your message across and to convince visitors to do something specific.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations and Mobility Community

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