When to Ditch the Word Counts in the Webpage Copy

16 September, 2008

Copywriting, web content, Writing tips

Wordcounts.

Web copy writers are intimate with these numbers. In the beginning there was a very good technical reason for the 300-350 word minimum rule on informational copy. HOWEVER, there are a few cases in which the word count must be totally sacrificed for higher goals.

When I first started banging out websites by the dozens this was the standard: 10-12 pages, 350 words each. And I continued to notice the 350 seemed to be a pretty consistent figure that copywriters needed to meet. What makes 350 words on a webpage so magic?

For informational websites–the kind I started writing–it’s enough words to provide rich text for the search engines. With a few chunky paragraphs, wisely demarkated with clear subheads, writers may naturally capture a bulk of natural keywords and phrases that are inherent to the topic on the page.

Text that goes too far beyond 350 words usually goes unread anyway.

Here’s where the word count should be tossed out the window:

Sit down to write anything conversion-oriented and you really need to break from the word count. Believe me, it’s a hard and bad habit to try and break. The point is not to spoon feed the search engines with this type of copy, but to appeal directly to a potential customer. Get in, get out and make them want to act with however many words it takes to completely achieve the goal of that particular page (which is not to just impart information–that;s not conversion).

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One Comment on “When to Ditch the Word Counts in the Webpage Copy”

  1. manofgod777 Says:

    This is good advice. I started writing Sales pages for the Web, some companies wanted the original draft to be rewritten that contained 1,500 words.
    Then they wanted a second draft..edited down to 1,000
    word count, then a third revision of the same copy
    having 500 -600 word count.

    This was no doubt to split-test the said drafts so they could see which one pulled the most sales and
    converted well.
    Some people do not want to read long copy. But others
    will read long copy. I do a lot of story-based copy
    for Web sales pages.
    When you write well, draw the reader in and hold him,
    1,500 words is not too many.
    History proves that sellers and buyers as well like
    and prefer story-based salescopy. It outsells
    competitors 10 to 1.

    Reply

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