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Microcopy Matters (but only if you want your website to convert)

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Generally speaking, you don’t want long, verbose copy cluttering up your website. Visitors to your site have no interest in reading blocks of texts or long paragraphs about the virtues of your business. Concise copy is almost always better. And it turns out that some of that very short copy has a name: microcopy. 

What is microcopy, and why is it important? Read on to find out more about this important aspect of your website’s copy and how it impacts your site’s traffic.  

What is microcopy?

Microcopy is just what it sounds like: short bits of text. But it’s not just any text. Microcopy involves short phrases or sentences that compel readers to act or guide them to a certain place on your site. It’s action-oriented text that makes site visitors do something. “It’s few words, big impact,” says Cathy Lanski, Haley Marketing Group’s Senior Copywriter.  

Microcopy can take several forms. It might be a button at the bottom of a website page, compelling readers to “Apply Now,” for example. It could be the short text leading to that button. Headlines, page banners, and sub-banners could even be considered microcopy, depending on the message.  

How does effective microcopy work?

Effective microcopy compels a site visitor to take action, whether it’s reading more, filling out a form, or contacting your company. Essentially, microcopy takes the form of a call-to-action (CTA). It gives some direction to the user, whether it’s navigating to a different area of the site or offering up information.  

Cathy Lanski uses the example of a short bit of text introducing a form to a website visitor. “You have to give them a compelling reason to offer up that information,” she says. It’s not enough to simply present the form and hope your visitor fills it out. They need to be directed to do so, and that’s what microcopy does. 

What happens if your site has no microcopy, or bad microcopy?

A site without microcopy, or with ineffective microcopy, won’t convert visitors. Think about it: if you visited a site but weren’t directed to do anything at any point, would you? You would have to take your own initiative to contact the company, buy something from the site, etc. Without a clear directive, it’s unlikely visitors will do much of anything.  

What are the best practices for writing microcopy?

It’s clear that microcopy is essential for the effectiveness of your website. So, how do you go about writing it properly? It’s a lot simpler than you might think. Rule number one is obvious: keep it short and concise. “Apply Now” is better than “Apply For a Job By Clicking Here!”  

Secondly, think about the intent of the site visitor. “Clients and candidates use your website in two different ways,” Cathy reminds us. Candidates are using it almost exclusively to look for jobs. Clients, on the other hand, often visit your site to educate themselves on your services or make sure you can back up your claims. Craft your microcopy to those different aims: job seekers can be directed to a job board with a “Find Jobs” fly-in, for instance, while clients might be shown a “Read Our Case Studies” button. 

Microcopy matters if you want visitors to your website to act. Using it effectively—and keeping the site visitor in mind at all times—is the best way to use this strategic form of copywriting to your advantage.  

Want to learn more about microcopy so that you can use it to your advantage on your site? Get in touch with Haley Marketing for help.

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