What is the difference between web copy and print copy?
Actually, there isn’t a difference because other than the format in which they appear, they most both engage and persuade the reader to take an action.
The only real difference is how they are read.
Reading from a screen is very different from reading from a printed page.
79% of web users only ever scan a page of text rather than read it all word for word. Plus, their reading rate is much slower so your writing must be concise and written in short paragraphs with sub headings and summaries to help the reader find the information they want quickly.
Of course, one of the main benefits of web copy is the hyperlink. Using this the writer can link one section of text to another, or direct the reader to an external information source that will enhance their understanding of a particular topic.
Search engine optimisation is another consideration, but considering the value Google places on naturally written content, the onus should well and truly be on the reader as opposed to the search engines.
Finally, the copy must be rounded off with a compelling call to action that tells the reader what action they should take next.
Bearing all that in mind, effective web copy should be:
- Simple in structure and vocabulary
- Use bullet points to highlight important information
- Start with the most important information
- Use sub headings to break up the text
- Written naturally
To be honest, the list above also applies to print copy.
Again the language should be simple and the structure easy to follow.
Bullet points can be used to highlight key facts and sub headings will break up the text and help the reader find the information they need.
They only thing that print copy can’t use is the hyperlink, other than that it’s pretty much the same.
Whichever format your writing takes it must always be simple, persuasive and engaging.