Maybe you’re looking out for competitors who are a little lazy with their website copywriting. Or maybe you just have a niggling feeling that there is something not quite right with the copy on a website you’re looking at.

Here are 4 sure-fire ways to spot lazy website copywriting to look out for.

1. The copy & paste job

We copywriters bang on about this all the time – don’t just copy and paste from the other sales material. It’s a bad idea because you’re not writing for the medium or the purpose (intent) of your customer.

It’s worse because it is often just plain wrong. For example:

Are you looking for more information on our services? Our website has a lot more to offer, including…

Or this one:

 …information, please visit us at

What do I notice straight away? The copywriter forgot that I’M ON THE WEBSITE!

Sorry for shouting, but these cut and paste jobs just make me lose my head.

2. The no link copy

Sometimes I’m reading information on a webpage and come across some text that most surely was meant to be a link, but it isn’t.

You know what I mean, don’t you?

You’re reading along and you pause to think ‘it would be really great if I could just click that to find out more about what they’re talking about.’

But instead, I have to hunt for it. It’s often somewhere else – a navigation button perhaps – and it’s never easy to find, is it?

Not thinking through the natural curiosity of your reader is a give-away that the copywriter was lazy. Besides, not linking from copy to other pages on your website is bad SEO practice and probably leads to many page exits.

3. Lack of subheadings

To some, this might seem a little less obvious than the two listed above. But to me, this is a dead give-away of bad website copywriting.

Instead of thinking through the way online readers scan for information, the lazy website copywriter just presents a block of text. No markers for scanning eyes. No key information pulled out for all to see.

The simple act of adding in subheadings makes copy much easier to read. In the late 90s Jakob Nielsen found that just by adding in subheadings, a 47% improvement in the ‘usability’ or usefulness of the content can be achieved.

That’s a huge improvement just by adding in some subheadings, making the content more scannable. I can’t believe that there are still websites out there that don’t do this. It’s such an easy fix.

4. It’s all about them

What is your default position when you encounter a website for the first time? You know, when you found it in a search and you clicked the link to take a look. What are you thinking?

I bet you’re thinking: ‘I’m not sure I trust these people.’

Why, then, do businesses and brands insist on self-referential copywriting? I can’t understand it. By writing all about how ‘great’ and ‘cutting-edge’ or ‘bespoke’ their business and/or services are, they are completely ignoring the needs of the reader – the prospect.

Prospects have questions.

They have doubts.

Big doubts.

And they are not arriving at a website so that they can read all about how wonderful a brand thinks it is.


They are hoping they will get help with their issue or problem. They are hoping they can find it quickly. They are hoping that the business won’t rip them off.

Question: does the person at the party who talks only about themselves give you hope?

That’s what happens to prospects when businesses only talk about themselves and not what the reader needs.

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